Just over five years ago, Harry Styles made his solo debut that no one saw coming, especially from a guy who closed the door on his role as the main idol in the pop juggernaut One Direction. only 18 months earlier. “Harry Styles” was a timeless, oddly genreless album that vaguely resembled an early 1970s pop collection, and unlike anything else released that year. Either way, it was a hit and gave the young singer the trail to find his sea legs as a solo artist – and more importantly, a clean slate he could follow with whatever he wanted. . It ended up being 2019’s most defining and definitive “Fine Line” album, which could be considered his true debut, spawning massive singles like “Watermelon Sugar” and a hit tour (if delayed by the pandemic) which continues directly into “Harry’s House”. which is largely a continuation and progression of its predecessor.
Which isn’t to say it’s more of the same: “Harry’s House” is a bit more intimate and less stadium-sized than its predecessor. Lyrically, it’s heavier and more serious in places — unsurprising after all that’s happened in the two-and-a-half years since “Fine Line” dropped just before the pandemic. On a related note, the number of contributing musicians is also much smaller: the album was produced and co-written almost entirely with longtime collaborators Kid Harpoon (Jessie Ware, Shawn Mendes, Florence & the Machine) and Tyler Johnson (Sam Smith, Cam), and they also played most instruments, although John Mayer and Ben Harper did six-string cameos.
After a peppy start with horn-flecked “Music in a Sushi Restaurant” and 80s-flavored “Late Night Talking,” the album turns into a loose, unhurried groove, blending moods and tempos seamlessly. never be too relaxed: Just when you lean back, a song like the joyful and effortless lead single, “As It Was” (which has already topped the charts in several countries) bursts like the sun after a summer downpour .
The songs are largely about romance and sex, but become darker when they seem to address specific people or situations. ‘Daylight’ is loaded with drug references, ‘Matilda’ is for someone with a troubled family history, and the gorgeous ‘Boyfriends’ – which premiered at Coachella last month – is for a friend in a toxic relationship: Styles sings “You like a jerk who knows how to get under his skin,” accompanied only by Harper on acoustic guitars and his own awesome multi-track harmonies. But it’s not all serious either: there’s also Timberlake’s laid-back funk of “Cinema”, the Beatlesy “Grapejuice” and a nice ballad called “Little Freak”.
Six and a half years after Harry Styles bowed out with One Direction, it’s possible to imagine that a significant part of his audience has no memory of his time with the band that propelled him to stardom. . And at 28, not so young, he’s built an enviable solo career that “Harry’s House” is doing a lot to promote.