Explore Issue 01 of LOOP Magazine

Featuring Sam Tompkins and Victor Ray as our cover stars, as well as internal spreads from Girli, Jords, Mysie, Finn Askew, Kara Marni and Master Peace

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Exploring Harry’s House, with Harry Styles

Harry’s House is a thirteen-bedroom establishment, with each room telling an entirely different tale. Through the smeary, steamed up window panes of one room are two lovers, tangled together in the most intimate setting, bearing their hearts, souls and deepest secrets to one another. Just down the hall, another is dressing up to head out for the night, music blaring through the speakers and drinks already flowing. But just next door is a more secluded, reserved soul. Reading a poetry book and jotting down their favourite quotes, it’s a stark cry from what’s occurring just across the landing. These hypothetical rooms shouldn’t exist under the same roof, but it’s Harry’s House, and what he says goes. He wants us to explore them all in three-minute intervals, and that’s exactly what this record does. 


Since departing from the One Direction machine back in 2015, Styles and his musical offerings have been on an indisputable evolutionary journey. No more were the bubble-gum, Pop Party slick hits we’d come to hear on radio stations, but instead, we came to know Styles as his own, independent entity. Or, more to the point, what he wanted for us to know. His first solo record, the self-titled Harry Styles, catapulted him to new heights as arguably, one of pop’s most prominent male vocalists. Sign of The Times was an instant worldwide hit with its Bowie-esque inspirations, and later single Kiwi connected with fans to become one of his most loved tracks. Just two years later, his sophomore album Fine Line was met with similar reception, if not taking a more diverse approach. Offering radio ready hits including Golden, Treat People With Kindness, and the formidable Watermelon Sugar, this was a turning point in Styles’ popularity with the general public. But even here, it wasn’t until he became more settled following its release did we see more of Styles’ true self (or what we perceive that to be). Defying genre stereotypes, the record was a smorgasbord of inspirations and sounds, moving into territories where musical exploration was welcomed. Harry was beginning to show that he was more than just a one-trick pony, and miles apart from the young teen we first met twelve years ago. 


Yet it’s here on Harry’s House, where Styles adds another set of swords to his already impressive armoury. Adopting more synth-pop elements and raunchy, ambiguous lyrics, the former boybander seeks to almost disassociate from his younger, more naïve artistic persona. Harry’s House adopts an entirely new vibe from his previous, whilst somehow managing to pastiche former elements of his musical journey into his catalogue.


Music From A Sushi Restaurant is unlike any of H’s former album openers. It’s a bombastic outburst of funkified chaos, yearning to be blasted on sunny summer terrace with an Aperol Spritz in hand. Featuring scat styled ‘woops’ and blaring trumpets, it’s unashamedly brash. And lyrically? Utterly baffling. “Green eyes, fried rice, I could cook an egg on it”…”, he opens in a softly spoken tone. You may agree that it’s a bit odd, but that’s because it is. And there’s plenty more where that came from. As the chorus lurches into a crescendo of brass and doo-wops, you can’t help but smile at the carefree attitude it alludes to. 

Second track Late Night Talking received its debut under the beating sun of the Californian dessert last month, but away from the screams of adoring fans, it’s able to be appreciated in all its synth-pop glory. “I’ve never been a fan of change, but I’d follow you to any place, if it’s Hollywood or Bishopsgate,” H admits. And many of his fans would agree with that sentiment, particularly where his upcoming tour is concerned. 


It’s lead single, As It Was, remains as this album’s stand out track. “Come on Harry, we want to say goodnight to you!” chimes the voice of a young girl – Harry’s God Daughter no less, adding another personal touch to the record. The track holds a blinding resemblance to a-ha’s smash hit Take On Me, particularly with its swift chorus and pummelling drums, keeping time like a military band. It will be hard for any future singles to top the success of this one, with As It Was still dazzling at the tops of charts around the world. We’ll still be here to see Harry try, however, whenever that may be.

But it’s not all bells and whistles at Harry’s House. Between disco-ready tracks like Daydreaming and Satellite, are a handful of more poignant, Joni Mitchell-esque ballads. It’s all quite fitting really, given the album’s name coming directly from a song on Joni’s 1975 album, The Hissing of Summer Lawns. Tracks like Matilda and Boyfriends perform as intermissions from the dancefloor. Questioning whether boyfriends are master manipulators (or not) and telling someone to be unapologetically, authentically themselves are all in a day’s work for Mr Styles. “You don’t have to be sorry for leaving and growing up,” he admits on stripped-back Matilda; a reminder perhaps that he’s not who he used to be.


An unlikely collaboration comes in the form of Grammy Award winner John Mayer, who’s credited for guitars on tracks Cinema and Daydreaming. The pair have been known to each other for a while, with Mayer even sharing a photo of them backstage at Styles’ show a couple of years ago.

“We were working in a studio in LA and John was working in the studio over the corridor, I asked him to come and listen to this song [Cinema]. I wanted it to become this full dance moment and he grabbed one of Mitch’s guitars and started playing. He’s not precious about it. He’s a great guitar player and he said if you don’t use it, no pressure”

Mayer’s influence is palpable on the two tracks, adding another dimension to this new era in Styles’ music.


With his solo career, Styles has been able to move away from the puppy-love pop he was previously constricted to with his One Direction band mates. His fans, now more self-aware and entering their twenties and thirties, are past that stage in their lives, and Styles acknowledges that. It’s more sex, drugs and rock and roll, and less staying up all night to find someone to love bomb.  


Rounding out the album with Love of My Life (not to be mistaken for a cover of Queen’s 1975 song), it’s a mellow end to an otherwise largely high-octane album. Humming synths weave through rather simplistic instrumentation to add dimension to this short track, but it seems like there should be more to follow. It doesn’t feel like a record ender in the slightest. Perhaps he’s lining up to offer the record as a two-parter? More artists are opting for this approach in the current sonic landscape – think Taylor Swift and Oh Wonder as examples. 

As the album draws to a close, Harry decides to lock us out again; that is, until we choose to knock once more.


Harry’s House marks a hat-trick for Styles. The record, with all its twists and turns, is a listening experience unlike any of his previous works. Delivering a packable punch strong enough to uphold on some of the world’s most renowned stadium stages, fans will be in for a treat when he heads out on the European leg of his tour, Love On Tour next month. For now, however, we’ll keep exploring Harry’s House, seeing what other gems and intricacies we can uncover in the meantime. 



Words by Issy Aldridge

Posted On 4 October, 2022