By: Erin Holly McDermott, Editorial Staff (‘23)

Harry Styles needs no introduction. The route to popularity has been a long and interesting process for the 28-year-old Brit. Styles was a member of the five (and then four) person boy band, One Direction, from 2010 to 2015. Harry has multiplied in popularity since leaving the band and has become a household name for almost every young person. Styles’ activism and advocacy for social issues such as gun violence, LGBTQ intolerance, and gender roles separate him from other pop artists. Currently, Styles has over 70.9 million monthly listeners on Spotify, reaching a huge audience as he breaks stereotypes and expectations. His first LP, self-titled Harry Styles, was released on May 12th, 2017, and gave the audience popular songs such as ‘Sign of the Times,’ ‘Sweet Creature,’ and ‘Kiwi.’ 2 years later, on December 13th, 2019, he released Fine Line, his second album, which is his most beloved album to date. The most popular songs featured were ‘Watermelon Sugar’, ‘Falling,’ and ‘Golden.’ However, his long-awaited third independent album was just released on May 20th, 2022, named Harry’s House. The third LP has already broken countless records: it is the most sold album of the year in both the US and the UK, it broke Taylor Swift’s record of vinyl sales in the first three days of release, and in Australia, it is the first album to have all of its tracks within the top 15. 

Harry’s House showcases a 41-minute, 48-second long album with 13 songs. Each track offers a unique and distinctly ‘Harry Styles’ sound. The melodies and lyrics identifiably match the style of Harry’s previous EPs and albums. Styles first released two EPs from the album: ‘As It Was’ on March 31st and ‘Daylight’ through a PR event with James Cordon’s Late Night Show on May 27th. These two songs skyrocketed in popularity but acted for the intended purpose: to boost the interest in the album before its official release. Speaking of PR events, Styles recently hosted “One Night Only in NY ”. On May 20th, Harry Styles came to Long Island’s UBC Arena at Belmont Park to provide a one-night-only concert. The artist performed an energetic, electrifying 19-track-long set list in front of nearly 20,000 fans on the day of the album’s release. 

How does Harry’s House truly add up or compare to the previous, beloved work of the Columbia signed artist? It is important and necessary to address the patterns and impact of his previous work before comparing it to the newest additions. Several of Styles’ albums have sexual connotations or references (part of the continuous “degradation” of our young society). For example, the entire premise of ‘Watermelon Sugar’ is not about the fruit or granulated sugar. In contrast, Styles’ new album contains fewer sexual undertones. For the listeners, the so-called  “crude” nature of Styles’ previous works was lost in this album. Instead, his intense, well-constructed relationship with his audience was explored through the music. From Harry’s House, ‘Matilda’ is a fan favorite; Styles sings: “You can throw a party full of everyone you know / And not invite your family ‘cause they never showed you love.” The song uses a gentle melody and meaningful lyrics to express Styles’ acknowledgment of a close friend lacking parental love. ‘Matilda’ is impactful, encouraging, and intimate, sparking emotion within those who do not feel “at home” in their current situation. 

Meanwhile, ‘Cinema’ further highlights the depth of lyrical formation and bass exploration that Harry Styles implements. Somehow, the track is nostalgic and comfortable, upbeat and relatable, but still inherently within the unique genre of Styles’ previous work. Unlike the clean, sentimental, and classic tracks like ‘Grapefruit’ or ‘Late Night Talking’, ‘Cinema’ showcases the same sexual innuendos and euphemisms incorporated within basslines and guitar strums as before. However, these innuendos have become less crude or obvious, bordering upon a sensual nature that is weaved into the audial footprint of Mr. Styles. This song includes lyrics such as, “Something in the way you move, / I like it when you dance for me,” and “I dig your cinema, / Do you think I’m cool too?, / Or am I too into you?”. Styles and his music are unique because of how he can relate to the audience in a personal way. He shares the same fears or concerns as many others, exhibited in ‘Cinema’ through his worry that his partner will think his interest makes him uncool or undesirable. Today there is a continuous fear of being “too into” someone and that feeling not being reciprocated. The album also displays other tasteful songs like ‘Satellite,’ ‘Little Freak,’ ‘Love of My Life,’ and ‘Boyfriends.’ Some of the tracks even include the artful guitar hymns of John Mayer and Ben Harper. It is clear that Harry Styles’ newest album, Harry’s House, will continue to rise in popularity in the coming weeks and months. However, the long-lasting effect of this LP, in conjunction with future and past tracks, will cement Mr. Styles’ place as an all-time influential artist. Harry’s House depicts Styles’ as welcoming, innovative, and—most importantly—a tastefully confident (yet not audacious) musical creator. His album acts as a breath of fresh air in an industry that seems to be lacking originality in the past few years. Harry’s House appears to be just what was missing; a complex, elegant album with the right combination of bassline, melody, and horn back lay to provide the ultimate summer concoction.