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Harry Styles lays out the welcome mat in intimate, yet overhyped ‘Harry’s House’

Harry Styles lays out the welcome mat in intimate, yet overhyped ‘Harry’s House’

Harry Styles lays out the welcome mat in intimate, yet overhyped ‘Harry’s House’
May 27
12:00 2022

Harry Styles’ newest solo album, “Harry’s House,” opens the door to a more vulnerable look at the artist, though not without its criticisms.

Released on May 20, the album serves as Styles’ junior solo record. Its first single, “As It Was,” has already received over 500 million Spotify streams since its March debut. Although Styles quickly found preliminary success in stream counts and radio charts, “Harry’s House” is nowhere near as groundbreaking as the numbers, or his interviews, once teased.

In a Better Homes and Gardens exclusive, Styles said this was “the biggest and the most fun, but […] by far the most intimate” album of his yet. However, at face value, “Music For a Sushi Restaurant” and “Cinema” could easily be mistaken for another pop single from Lizzo or Dua Lipa. Though they serve as fun listens, the funky, synth-pop vibes from tracks like “As It Was” and “Satellite” are tired, repetitive pop trends. Even mellower pieces, like “Boyfriends,” seem like lazy, but profitable songs reminiscent of Styles’ early years with One Direction.

The bright, groovy composition of several of the tracks easily provides some great, danceable numbers. Regardless of their liveliness these songs still come across as commercial and uninspired. Despite promises of more personal and unique production, Styles’ electronic warps are nothing anyone has not already heard before.

Simply put, the sound of Styles’ junior album falls flat in comparison to his soft-rock solo debut “Harry Styles” and 70s-inspired “Fine Line.” The stylistic progression between Styles’ first two albums showed a promising evolution in the artist’s attempt to further distance himself from his previous bubblegum boy band image. By conforming to certain mainstream patterns in “Harry’s House,” it is a bit disappointing to see Styles further blend into the already overloaded pop genre.

That being said, not every one of Styles’ pieces has to be genre-defining in order to receive deserved praise. Throughout “Harry’s House,” he still demonstrates a great effort in what is arguably his strongest skill as an artist — his lyricism.

The thoughtful writing of certain numbers, including “Matilda,” offer insight into narratives that are evidently connected to Styles and others in his life. Hard-hitting lines like “You don’t have to be sorry for leavin’ and growin’ up” vaguely unveil the more raw, visceral inspirations behind his work. The exposure of other sensitive accounts, like the delivery of the verse “You never saw my birthmark” in “Little Freak,” allows listeners a peek inside Styles’ private relationships, both with others and himself.

This  crafted intimacy forms a strong foundation for Styles as a more open and sympathetic artist, not unlike the one portrayed in 2019’s “Fine Line.” Though the stories in these songs hold Styles’ own personal meanings, their relatable themes provide evidence of his universal lyrical tact.

 Even innocent concepts like “Love of My Life,” an ode to his home country of England, evoke feelings of nostalgia and loss that act as strong, connecting subjects. This makes these vulnerable tracks feel like a more intimate experience between artist and listener.

Overall, the tracklist still successfully provides some tender and reflective lyrics, along with other lighthearted beats that fit perfectly within the summer vibes of its release. However, when viewed as a whole, the album stands as Styles’ weakest, most predictable production in his solo trinity. Though not a bad album, at this point in his career, more of Styles’ personality, rather than his industry influences, should shine through the windows of “Harry’s House.”

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Samantha Thornfelt

Samantha Thornfelt

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