When his self-titled debut solo album arrived just 18 months after leaving one of the biggest boybands in the world, Harry Styles was quickly welcomed into the world of rock’n’roll.
His arrival was announced with a sprawling 6,000-word spread in Rolling Stone magazine back then, but so much has happened since.
The release of the more defining and established album ‘Fine Line’ in December 2019 was armed with the rise of chart-topping singles ‘Watermelon Sugar’ and ‘Adore You’ as well as a blockbuster tour which saw several dates at New York venue Madison Square Garden.
Now, following the release of Style’s most intimate album yet, we are taken on a trip into ‘Harry’s House’ as he moves smoothly into his next era.
With sounds of funk, folk and 2010s pop, for many, this will be their album of choice this summer.
Opening track ‘Music for a Sushi Restaurant’ is laced with horns and scatting as well as an abundance of food references, something Styles is no stranger to.
/ ‘“Excuse me, a green tea?”, Music for a sushi restaurant, From ice on rice, Scuba-duba-dubub-boo’ /
A joyful tune paired with joyful lyrics, this album-opener creates a sense of excitement for what’s to come.
‘Late Night Talking’ is the second track on the album, with this 1980s-inspired song being premiered live last month at Coachella, where Styles headlined the Friday at weekends one and two.
This strutting track eases the listener into an unhurried groove, mixing up the moods and tempos but never getting too relaxed.
‘Grapejuice’ follows; another ode to the 80s as the track sounds like it has been played through the aural equivalent of a vintage filter.
/ ‘1982, Just me and you, There’s just no getting through, The grape juice blues’ /
Lead single ‘As It Was’ is the fourth track, bursting through like the summer sun, clearly presenting itself as a public favourite as it became the most streamed track by a male on Spotify in 24 hours.
Although Styles is singing about his bittersweet feelings of loneliness and the past, this is masked by synths and an upbeat sound once again reminiscent of music from the 80s.
‘Daylight’ comes next, laced with notes of soul and R&B paired with loved-up lyrics which continue to incorporate the food references.
/ ‘If I was a bluebird, I would fly to you, You be the spoon, Dip you in honey so I could be sticking to you’ /
The bridge in the song is taken over by the rhythm section, including an abundance of drums alongside big, bouncy bass.
Track six ‘Little Freak’ sets a different tone for this section of the album, a sweet and melodic ballad that reflects on a previous relationship that slipped through his fingers.
Blaming himself for how the relationship ended, Styles is nostalgic about the time he spent with the person, recreating vivid images as the song progresses.
/ ‘A golf swing and a trampoline, Maybe we’ll do this again, Tracksuit and a ponytail, You hide the body all that yoga gave you’ /
‘Matilda’ is the seventh track off of the album. It’s a second ballad, where Styles sombrely sings to somebody whose family did not treat her well.
He takes inspiration from the Roald Dahl book of the same name, about a girl who was mistreated by both her school principal and parents.
/ ‘You can let it go, You can throw a party full of everyone you know, And not invite your family ‘cause they never showed you love, You don’t have to be sorry for leavin’ and growin’ up’ /
‘Cinema’, ‘Daydreaming’ and ‘Keep Driving’ follow, instantly lifting the tempo and mood similar to that created at the beginning of the album as they are laced with a mixture of sunnily upbeat electric guitar riffs and hints of funk.
John Mayer lends help to Styles with his incredible guitar skills on Cinema and Daydreaming, adding a new and exciting element to these tracks as Styles recalls that the collaborations came about as Mayer was recording in the studio across from his.
‘Satellite’ is track eleven on the album, seeing Styles venture into outer space with the use of sci-fi bleeps, electronic drones and another powerful drop accompanied by an abundant drum beat towards the end of the song.
Styles sings about a lack of communication and wanting to be there for someone who’s keeping him at a significant distance.
/ ‘Spinnin’ out, waitin’ for ya to pull me in, I can see you’re lonely down there’ /
‘Boyfriends’ follows, and is another track that was premiered live at Coachella last month.
This stripped-back tune talks about the way many boyfriends tend to mistreat their partners, featuring a delicate acoustic guitar accompanied by angelic harmonies.
‘Love of my Life’ closes Harry’s House. In this song, Harry sings about falling out of a relationship with someone, just to realise they were the love of his life.
/ ‘Baby, you were the love of my life, Woah, maybe you don’t know it’s lost ‘til you find it’ /
A fan favourite, the closing piano melody in this song was the same melody that was played behind the first promo video for the album.
Harry’s House is undoubtedly Styles’ best album yet, giving a sense of warmth and vulnerability that makes the songs feel conversational and close.
Home, for Styles, appears as a state of mind that we have been lucky enough to take an insight into.
Feature Image Credit: Columbia Records