Anyone who’s known me for more than five minutes knows I love Harry Styles. Just yesterday, I told my new colleague – who doesn’t really like Harry that much – that I would “give my life for that man.” Not me confessing that I would literally commit suicide if a man I had never met and has no vested interest in me needed me to, to a person that I had just met. Sounds a little different in that context, huh?
Point is, I love him. I just do. I started loving him a long time ago, when he was just a little baby face singing about beautiful girls who don’t know it on a beach, and I’ve never stopped loving him since then. The others, I could take or leave.
My love for him swelled back when he was into that whole typical hot guy look, with the loose white tees, the black leather jackets, and my god, the beanies. I was so obsessed that I bought at least 10 different beanies from Topshop so I could emulate him (because everybody loves people just like themselves right? Who needs originality?) and my favourite was a grey one that I wore until it was just a sad lump sitting on my head. The elasticity had all gone, but it was my favourite. My god, have I been stopped through customs every time I wore that hat. I was a nightmare to travel with. In fact, I think I’ve been stopped by customs more times just during the period of wearing that beanie, than I have in my whole life. You can blame Harry.
Since he struck out on his own, and started embracing his own sound and style… that, however, is when I really, truly, starting loving Harry Styles.
As a massive fan of classic rock, I’m a little disappointed in the music of late. Rap (bad rap too), pop (bad pop too), techno, hip-hop… There’s not a lot of rock and roll on that list, although there’s a fair bit of indie rock to be true. But where is the modern-day Creedence Clearwater Revival? Where is the modern-day David Bowie?
For me, Harry Styles was the answer. And not just because he’s sinfully good-looking, overwhelming charming, and nice. It’s because he makes good music, that stands on its own, even next to the titans of the 70’s soft rock scene. Today, he’s classed as pop, and I think that’s why so many oldies dismiss him. I told my dad (the one who gave me my love of Dire Straits and friends) that Harry Styles is comparable to his favourites, and he rolled his eyes. A lot of people see Harry as just a pop singer, and the hordes of hysterical women paint him in a certain light, a light of not being very worthwhile to listen to simply because of his fan base. But apart from being sexist, that overwhelmingly dismisses his genuinely incredible music, and Harry’s House is no exception.
‘Fine Line’ is one my favourite albums of the new millennium. That’s a tall order to beat. Did ‘Harry’s House’ surpass it for me? Not really, but only because it’s quite different to his previous album. You can’t compare watermelons to cherries, right? They’re both delicious.
Due to his first album being sad and slow, and his sophomore album being happy and upbeat, for this third album he found the perfect middle ground. A mix of devastating songs with a sunny outlook and beat. Dance through your tears, as it were.
His promotional single ‘As It Was’ perfectly proves this, with the actual song having loads of longing and yearning just how I like it, but with an upbeat tempo that just makes you want to dance.
It takes a lot of character to start an album with the line, “Green eyes, fried rice / I could cook an egg on you, but the first song on his album, ‘Music For A Sushi Restaurant’ is jazzy, funky, and very fun. Surprisingly enough, it’s not music I would imagine hearing in a sushi restaurant, but it should give a few restauranteurs a little hint to lighten up. With lyrics like, “If the stars were edible / And our hearts were never full / Could we live with just a taste?” how can you not love it?
Surprisingly enough, there’s another song on the album called ‘Cinema’ that I can actually imagine at a sushi restaurant – which is also jazzy but more of a softer, chicer sound for a fine gastro experience. Although, he does repeat the phrase, “You pop when we get intimate,” which is… extremely explicit, and not really something I would want to align with currently eating raw fish. …I’ll leave it there. I’ve said too much.
‘Late Night Talking’ sounds like the song playing in the local town hall when I spot the love of my life over the dancefloor. ‘Late Night Talking’ sounds like being in love on a sunny day. ‘Late Night Talking’ sounds like the song that plays at your wedding when you want your granny to get up and dance.
After ‘Carolina’ on his debut album, when I saw another woman’s name on the track list I was ready for a spicy, sexy, very exciting musical experience but instead I got a song that made me cry. Easily one of my favourite songs on the album, ‘Matilda’ is an intimate, delicate song about searching for love in family, and eventually finding it for yourself. The chorus is so desperately heart-breaking but also so uplifting that it was almost too much for me. I definitely cried. “You can let it go / You can throw a party / Full of everyone you know / You can start a family / Who will always show you love / You don’t have to be sorry / For doing it on your own.” Yes, I did cry, and I am not sorry. Hopefully in his next album, he’ll name a song ‘Claudia’ about unrequited love (or an obsessed fangirl – whichever way you want to look at it).
It wouldn’t be a Harry Styles album without a good fruit reference, and this album we have ‘Grapejuice’ which perfectly encapsulates the feeling of setting out in the early morning sun in a big city. Optimistic, it sounds like the song at the beginning of a movie – full of happy anticipation, with a self-affirming journey ahead of you.
The more I listen to this album (and I have been listening to it on repeat for three days now) the more it seems to unfold. Lyrics that seem unassuming at first but unfurl like a flower on second, third, fifteenth listen show his writing prowess – and you know I’m always a fan of poets, especially ones that look like that. So here I go again, rewinding back to the beginning, ‘Music For A Sushi Restaurant’. “Green eyes, fried rice / I could cook an egg on you…”