When Harry Styles came onto the scene in 2017 as a solo artist, he was fresh from five years of touring with One Direction – a British-Irish boyband of which he was a member of. At the time, he was the most well known of the five members and while early reviews of the band’s music stated that no one voice stood out, at the time no one knew who the next Justin Timberlake would be from the band. Once Styles released his self-titled album in 2017, it was clear that he was the next Timberlake. Knowing that he took influences from 1970’s era artists, fans still were giddy with anticipation over Styles and his upcoming album. The album would launch Styles into his own success, and while his other band mates would find plenty of success on their own, Styles is by far the most successful of the five. With tracks such as the standout “Sign of the Times,” “Two Ghosts,” and fan favorite “Kiwi,” Harry Styles, made Styles a rock star and one that you weren’t likely to forget any time soon. His second effort Fine Line, came at the end of 2019, and while it would continuously be on the charts for almost an entire year, promotion for the record was sparse due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now with Harry’s House, we see Styles drop more 13 more bops that are in a league of their own. After two spins of Harry’s House, Styles has cemented himself as an artist that will be around for decades. It’s no longer about playing it right to achieve his long lasting popularity, it’s here, and there’s nothing standing in his way.
The one drawback to Harry’s House is how produced the album is, bringing up possible questions about how well the songs will translate to a live show, though if his recent One Night Only show at Long Island’s USB Arena proved anything, the songs can be played remarkably well. As Styles and his band performed with a neon light up of a house behind him, everyone performed every note of the record flawlessly. Opening Harry’s House with “Music For A Sushi Restaurant,” the album opener, the track is a fun one, and while the title came to Styles while listening to one of his songs in a sushi restaurant and remarking that it was an odd choice for the restaurant’s music, the fiery tune is a great start to the record that is a great kick off to the summer months. Styles sings flawlessly and it’s clear that he has put some work into his voice between Harry Styles and Harry’s House.
Following “Sushi…” is “Late Night Talking,” which is an 80’s inspired track that continues the catchiness of its predecessor. While it’s rumored by fans to be about Styles and his latest flame Olivia Wilde, a film director and the director of Styles’ upcoming film, Don’t Worry Darling, Styles claims he wrote the song during the lockdowns of 2020. Whoever it’s about, it’ll be sure to have fans dancing at his upcoming residency shows across the United States.
“As It Was,” the album’s lead single, has been climbing the charts all over the world, and it’s clear that this particular track has a bit of a fire behind it. It’s bouncy drum beat and Styles razor sharp vocals, will make even the most critical skeptics crank up the volume. While it’s been noted in interviews that the songs lyrics don’t match up with the song’s bounciness, on “As It Was,” Styles pushes himself even further outside of the boyband bubble, to create something entirely his own. While it’s not the best track on the album, it was a great introduction of what is to come.
While the entire album has memorable tracks, perhaps the most talked about is “Matilda,” already the subject of much speculation, both for its storyline and Styles’ performance. On both Harry Styles and Fine Line, Styles included acoustic tracks and while they all showed off his vocal chops, “Matilda” takes his songwriting and vocals to a whole other level. Rumored to be about his ex girlfriend Camille Rowe, Styles writes about a woman telling Styles her trauma, and how she has struggled to find where home is. While Styles has explored the concept of home throughout all three of his solo efforts, the simplicity and emotion behind “Matilda” brings a rawness to Styles that we’ve never heard before. While Styles told BBC interviewer Zane Lowe, that “Matilda” was written as a message to show the woman in question support for her story, everyone listening can find a little bit of Matilda in themselves. While the track comes in at the middle of the record, it’s one that will be obsessively played, if not for the lyrical content, but how Styles expresses himself vocally. Simply put, “Matilda” is a magical listen.
“Love of My Life,” ends the record and out of all of the songs on Harry’s House, it’s perhaps the weakest track. While it’s not clear who Styles is singing about, something about the lyrics doesn’t fit the music. It feels like the music is too dark, while it’s clear that Styles is smitten with the song’s subject, despite only knowing her for a brief period.
Overall Harry’s House is a banger, though it might take a few listeners to really get into the album’s groove, though once you do, you won’t be able to turn it off, let alone turn it down.