From ‘70s funk vibes to modern angelic vocals, English pop star and former One Direction heartthrob Harry Styles takes listeners on a homey journey through his most personal album yet: “Harry’s House.”
The artist’s third studio album touches on various themes, from the innocent delight of being in love to the inevitable tribulations of romantic relationships.
“Harry’s House” was announced on March 23 via social media along with a trailer announcing the official May 20 release date.
The album’s funky opener “Music For a Sushi Restaurant” instantaneously sets a cheery tone. A smooth, slappy bass accompanies Styles’ silky vocals as the song crescendos into lively trumpet sounds.
“If the stars were edible / And our hearts were never full / Could we live with just a taste?” questions Styles, guided by his own “ba-ba-ba’s” in the backing vocals.
Following the opener is “Late Night Talking,” one of two songs Styles debuted at Coachella on April 15. The artist continues with the ‘70s sound as he sings about his blissful relationship, claiming their late night conversations are the reason his lover never leaves his mind.
Much of the album revolves around the bittersweetness of being in love, with songs like “Grapejuice” leaning more towards the saccharine side. The song plays with the duality of using alcohol to cope with and reflect on past connections, while also sweetly enjoying its company.
Starting with a delicate three-count whisper from Styles, the lyrics in “Grapejuice” tie in the timelessness of sharing a bottle of wine and euphoric love.
“There’s just no getting through / Without you / A bottle of rouge / Just me and you,” Styles sings in the chorus over playful keyboard notes.
The first five songs of “Harry’s House” ride the same wavelength of catchy lyrics. There exists the exception of “As It Was,” whose lyrics aren’t as loving and joyful. However, this is overturned by “Little Freak,” a mellow ballad that captures the sentimental reflection of a past/former lover.
This song introduces some of the deeper themes explored on this album, setting the scene for one of the album’s saddest tunes, “Matilda.”
“Matilda, you talk of the pain like it’s all alright / But I know that you feel like a piece of you’s dead inside,” Styles sings with the accompaniment of a gentle, rhythmic guitar strum.
With the addition of this song in the album’s lineup, it’s difficult to go from the high-spirited lyrics of “Late Night Talking” to being completely drowned in the tenderhearted lines in “Matilda.”
The journey from lively to melancholy songs is what sets “Harry’s House” apart from his other work. The album encourages an appreciation for the vast dichotomy of the pop genre and recognizes that this duality brings the listener and the artist closer together.
The overall tone gradually quickens with “Cinema” and “Daydreaming.” Both tunes bring back a wistful, dreamlike nostalgia that some of the earlier songs possess.
“Boyfriends,” the other song Styles debuted at Coachella, is another emotional anthem. This song is based not only on the relationships that his sister and his friends have been in, but it’s also an evaluation of his own behavior, Styles said in an interview with Zane Lowe of Apple Music.
“Boyfriends, are they just pretending? / They don’t tell you where it’s heading / And you know the game’s never ending,” sings Styles with this sentimental message.
The album comes to a close with “Love of My Life,” entwined with themes of the dreadful realization that your last partner was your lifelong partner.
“Harry’s House” is a notably different vibe from his 2017 debut self-titled album and “Fine Line,” Styles’ sophomore album released in 2019. In other words, “Harry’s House” doesn’t have the same vibrant, high-spirited feel as his previous work. However, where this album lacks in effervescent, stereo-blaring songs like “Kiwi” (2017) it greatly makes up for in the song selection, tone diversity and lyrical intimacy.
From start to finish, this album masters the feeling of turning a house into a home, making it the perfect listen on late-night drives and summer evenings.
“Harry’s House” is available to stream across all major music platforms.