At the tender age of 16, Harry Styles struck fame when he and his fellow bandmates formed One Direction on the music competition show, X Factor. The band put out hits like “What Makes You Beautiful” and “Night Changes,” performing up until their hiatus in 2015.
Since then, Styles has made his debut as a solo artist with his first single in 2017, and it has been almost two years since the last album, Fine Line. The singer continues to maintain his presence in the music industry as he comes back with his latest album: “Harry’s House.”
Harry’s House explores more than just the common theme of love; it explores the inner workings of finding a home, navigating through new relationships — though not necessarily romantic — and moving on from the past.
In a recent interview, he told NPR that, “While this is such a personal album, and […] about my own journey finding a place of home, I also feel like it’s very much dedicated to my friends.”
It’s not the biggest album either — a mere 13 songs— yet each song holds a different meaning, so anyone can easily find one that fits their taste and mood.
The title track, “Music For a Sushi Restaurant”, is definitely an unconventional song at first listen. The artist himself admits in an interview that he came up with the title when he was actually in a sushi restaurant in Los Angeles and thought it was fun. He wasn’t wrong either, with the lyrics appearing to just be random food items.
There is also this irresistible vibe that makes it the perfect song for long car drives with friends – especially since his singing gets progressively louder until you’re overcomed with the urge to scream out the last lines.
Where his debut album had “Kiwi” and his last album had “Watermelon Sugar,” this album rounds off the trio with“Grapejuice,” upholding Styles’ running fascination with songs named after fruits. The lyrics reveal how even though the “honeymoon” stage of the relationship has passed, he still wants to be with his lover.
“As It Was” is the album’s only single the 28-year-old released. It opens up with a message from his goddaughter and appears to be joyful too. However, upon further inspection, the lyrics reveal this feeling of sadness – a sadness stemming from longing.
In his NPR interview, Styles said this song was for those who are losing themselves and for those finding themselves; this is a song communicating that change is happening, that “it’s not the same as it was.”
As the album continues to play on, the songs get progressively sadder until they reach the bottom with “Matilda.” It’s a song filled with reassurance and comfort for those who had a tough time. Similar to a hug, this song validates the listener’s struggles and essentially tells them that they are enough, that they are doing well. Connected with the movie Matilda, it’s a tear-jerking song for those hurting, for those who need to take a moment’s rest in this hectic life.
Abrupt breaking away from all the sad songs is the next track “Cinema.” It has a sensual vibe with the lyrics to back it up; when questioned about it in an interview, Styles just smiled and said he tries to capture what he is going through at the moment.
Afterwards, the album gets back on track with its somber mood, but there are two easter eggs hidden.
In the penultimate song, “Boyfriends,” Styles leaves an easter egg. The first few seconds contain a message, that when reversed, reveal the artist saying “you’re back at it again” – which is the same as the outro.
The last track, “Love of My Life,” ends with a couple of piano notes. Back in late March, Harry Styles released a teaser for this album, but the music was garbled. Fans discovered that when you reverse the video, it plays the last notes from this song; so, unbeknownst to his fans, Styles had shared the ending of “Harry’s House.”
At first glance, this album appears to negate Styles’ claim that it isn’t all about relationships. However, if the listener dives deeper into all the hidden meanings, they can create their own interpretation of the songs outside of love and relationships.