Were My Harry's House Predictions Right? Revisiting My Prediction and Reviewing the New Harry Styles Album
Along with my reaction, I also made a vlog about visiting Harry's House on the first day it opened and going over the experience and the merch I got, so if you want a peak into the pop-up experience, you can find that video on YouTube as well. I also just went through the super stressful LOT ticket buying process. It was an absolute nightmare, and I want to write a post dedicated to that soon, but I did manage to leave the sale after about 6 or 7 hours of trying with a pit ticket on October 29th and nosebleeds on November 15th at face value. If you have a story from the Harry's House sale that you want to tell for the upcoming post, please feel free to send me an email with your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Music For a Sushi Restaurant"
This is hands down my favorite title, and regardless of what song this is, I will now be playing it in my apartment every time I get sushi take-out (which is probably too often. I adore sushi). While the title is supposedly quite explicit in telling me what's contained inside, I honestly cannot fathom what this song will be like. I've been to sushi restaurants that played Top 40 and sushi restaurants that played zen sounding instrumental music. Also, this is the opening track, so there's lots of pressure here.
Mostly, I'm proud of Harold for expanding his palette beyond fruit, whatever that means for the rest of us.
So I didn't have much of a guess on what "Music For a Sushi Restaurant" would be, but I didn't expect a combination of scatting and glee club sounding vocal instrumentals to be it. Apparently, this song got its title because Harry heard one of his songs playing in a sushi restaurant in LA and thought it was a weird choice of music. Unfortunately, "Sushi" is also probably my last favorite track on the record or close to it. I know this is a controversial opinion. From what I've seen, most people love "Sushi," and I do admit it is a fun track. It harnesses unbridled, fresh love in a way that's easy to grasp. I just don't quite get it. It's grown on me, but "Sushi" and I just aren't quite there yet.
I was right, though, that this would be an album where Harry expands his food references far beyond fruit (with a heavy emphasis on eggs).
"Late Night Talking"
Luckily, we don't have to do too much wondering for too long cause we've already heard the second track twice now. Harry takes a cue from the disco era for this upbeat track that got debuted to the Coachella crowd. He mentioned to Better Homes and Gardens that he only listened to classical music in the making of this record to really pull from his own well of inspiration, but from what we've heard so far, it seems like he's traversing through musical decades on this album, and this is his stop in the '70s. While I need the official lyrics to drop to dig deep in the themes, it seems to set the tone for the A side being upbeat, fun, and joyful, poised at the start of something new.
The 70s cues were pretty spot on for the overall essence of this album with a bit of sprinkling of 80s and something else hard to trace. What surprised me about "Late Night Talking" is that I, who never liked the Dua Lipa/The Weekend revival of disco, who never tends to gravitate towards upbeat tracks on the album, found this one towards the top of my favorites. It's infused with so much life and joy. It's in conversation with the pop music trends of the last few years without totally feeding into its tropes. The color palette is more muted and subdued where pop has been favoring the glossy, and the lyrics are incredibly sweet and endearing as Harry sings about making the best of an unfortunate situation. It's a track that makes me reevaluate my stance on the more upbeat offerings.
Never fear, fruit is here. We didn't really think Harry could have an album that didn't mention some kind of fruit, right? I'm pretty sure none of us had grape juice (apparently as one word?) on the list of options. It's such an interesting title cause it hit me as almost childlike and unassuming. I feel like juice is something that kids absolutely adore that fades more in adult life, and whether he means purple grape juice or grape juice in the sense of kid champagne or even a more innocent euphemism for wine, there's something nostalgic here to me.
"Grapejuice" was one of my early favorite for its grungier feeling guitars and spacier vocals. I also love the melodies in the pre-chorus and chorus. I was right in the wine euphemism idea here in my prediction as he also refers to the drink as "a bottle of rouge / 1982" and "something old and red". I also still stand by my comments on nostalgia here. Even though the song seems to be about relatively fresh love, there's still a sense of comfort, familiarity, and quiet. From counting the places they've experienced together to wanting to steal away to the heath or sit on the porch and enjoy a simple glass of wine together, there's a sense of peace, calm, and a pre-nostalgia-like emotion that glimmers through in the acknowledgement this state could be fleeting.
"As It Was"
I am addicted to this song. Like I need serious help. I'm kind of sick of my April playlist at this point in the month, but every time this song rolls around, I want to go dance down the hallways. This song is full on '80s and just so jubilant in sound but reflective and sad in lyrics. To me, it feels like a pandemic anthem being reminded that the world has been forever changed. There's also a silver lining of love and a new phase of life. I got into all my thoughts on the song and the video before, so I won't spend too long on it now.
This title was given to us early thanks to Better Homes and Gardens who shared some lyrics from the track including, "If I was a bluebird, I would fly to you; you be the spoon, dip you in honey so I can be sticking to you." This gives "Daylight" major soft ballad energy. A devoted, sweet, blissful love song. It seems like love is a huge theme of this album and that maybe this song is about the dawn of something new and better, especially because it's lead into by "As It Was". Also, it is hilarious how Taylor is releasing a song called "Carolina" for the Where The Crawdads Sing sound track, and so Harry is taking a title back from her as well. If Harry's "Daylight" is half as achingly sweet and open as Taylor's we're in for quite the emotional moment.
While there is a softness to "Daylight," the sampled lyrics from Better Homes and Gardens was a touch misleading. While "Daylight" has its sappy, sweet moments, it's really a song about being afraid of the daylight and what it will force to the surface. Bluebirds and honey mask the reality of "You were just doing cocaine in my kitchen / You never listen / I hope your missing me right now," that shows the tumult of what's to come. He's proving that he's devoted to the idea of this love interest but that it might not be the healthiest or most fruitful love. There's a desperation here.
And since I mentioned "Daylight" by Taylor Swift in my original comments, it would only be fitting to talk about the comparisons between the two tracks. While Taylor's "Daylight" is the triumphant end to Lover where she decides that all of the risks are worth it and she wants to let go of the baggage of her past and fully give herself over to love, Harry's "Daylight" instead shows a fear of letting the light slip in. They couldn't be more opposite.
There's a lot of childlike or childhood reminiscent titles in this section. I have to wonder if this is a song in some way about not fitting in as a child or just not fitting into society as a whole. This song could throw a curveball and be totally upbeat, but I see something reflective and possibly a bit sad or wistfully regretful here. Maybe even a letter to a past self.
This isn't the first time Harry has written a song with the word freak in it. "Complicated Freak" was a song scrapped from his debut album whose song title appeared on a work in progress board in the background of a photo a while ago, and if this song actually channels "Complicated Freak"'s energy than I have put way too innocent of a spin on this particular prediction.
Call me psychic cause "I have to wonder if this is a song in some way about not fitting in as a child or just not fitting into society as a whole. This song could throw a curveball and be totally upbeat, but I see something reflective and possibly a bit sad or wistfully regretful here," is pretty spot on for a song I had absolutely zero context for at the time. While everyone's belief that "Little Freak" would be a sexy, upbeat song (much like "Cinema") had me expecting something totally different than my first prediction, I'm so happy some of the elements of my prediction came true and ultimately made this song my number 1 on the album. "Little Freak" is about a love interest who doesn't seem totally understood by Harry or the rest of the world for that matter. He finds the beauty in her but also the anomaly. Especially when paired with "Matilda" this song paints a stark picture. The wistfulness comes through clearly as he paints little pictures of all of her contradictions and their small interactions. He's caught up in trying to figure her out in a way he knows he'll never been totally successful at. He repeatedly references her "delicate point of view," and while there has been some debate online over his use of "Jezebel" potentially casting this subject in a negative or disparaging light, I see this song as more one of an absent fascination as he mentions, "Somehow, you've become some paranoia" and "Your gift is wasted on me."
The moment this song truly had me hook, line, and sinker was at the mention of Halloween and the funny anecdote that goes with it. "Did you dress up for Halloween? / I spilled beer on your friend / I'm not sorry." He delves into her contradictions through picking out small points about her like her possible insecurities, "Tracksuit and a pony tail / You hide the body all that yoga gave you" and talking about how some of the things she does she'd make fun of him for doing like, "Red wine and a ginger ale / But you would make fun of me for sure." I can't seem to find the disdain in this song that others have pointed out on TikTok, but I do find it endlessly layered and fascinating.
If this isn't an homage to Roald Dahl's Matilda, I'll be shocked. In the scheme of building out Harry's house, books are a huge part of creating a home. Harry is a pretty voracious reader, and it would make sense to have yet another literary homage here since many of his past songs like "Woman" and "Watermelon Sugar" have included references to books, albeit, much more adult ones. Still, the story of Matilda, an extraordinary girl who overcomes horrible circumstances, is one with a lot of room to play.
"Matilda" easily wins as the fan favorite of the ballads. He's talked about how this song is to someone in his life that he didn't know how to really discuss this with directly and that he chose to convey his message through the framing of Roald Dahl's Matilda, an abused little girl who grows up with extraordinary powers and finds the love that she's missing in her life through a caring teacher. The most obvious homage is, "And you're trying to lift off the ground on those old two wheels," but mostly Harry crafts a song to "Matilda" about the power of found family and the direction that it's okay to let go of the people who hurt you–even if they are blood relatives.
Harry haș played the song twice at both One Night Only's. In New York, he mentioned that this song was for anyone who felt they related to it which was touching as often people are made to feel like their trauma isn't enough to qualify or acknowledge, and in London, he told the crowd that the song was for anyone who felt guilty for choosing themselves. In the first verse, he describes Matilda minimizing her pain and not acknowledging what she's faced till it was legitimized by others. The chorus is the shining piece where he tells her that she could throw a party with everyone she knows but not invite her family who never made her feel loved and safe. This goes hand in hand with his turn on the outro where he reminds her that she can start her own family that will "always show you love". At the end of the choruses, he alternately affirms, "You don't have to be sorry for leaving and growing up" and "You don't have to be sorry for doing it on your own". It's a really beautiful, breathtaking song that is going to help so many people.
B sides tend to be the home of the less upbeat, more contemplative tracks that might take closer than a thirty second look to fully understand. These song titles seem to reflect that and also show a shift towards a more grown-up world without the whimsy of the earlier titles.
This was pretty much incorrect. Oops.
The movie theater. The place we were all told to avoid like the plague during the plague. Also, another word for movies and film as a whole. Harry has certainly put on his actor pants lately appearing in everything from Marvel to My Policeman to the Barbie movie. While none of his movies besides Dunkirk have graced the screen yet, the next few years seems set to be bursting with Harry Styles movies. None of these films, though, likely have more significance than Don't Worry Darling, Olivia Wilde's movie baby and the place the famed couple met. Since many of these songs likely are about or involve Olivia, it's a fair bet that this song could be related to the way they met.
Turns out that "Cinema" really had nothing to do with going to the movie theater and everything to do with the Greek root word for "movement" that he twists here into a cheeky, sexy, upbeat song that would be an awkward follow-up to "Matilda" if you didn't know where the record was meant to flip. It revisits the disco notes of "Late Night Talking" and also recaptures that bubbly, unbridled love and lust. The song also carries themes from "Daylight" about staying up all night and letting it. I think "Cinema" is much more what everyone was expecting out of "Little Freak."
A beautiful, open ended song title. This B side feels a bit hazy and gray to me. It's not quite in the bright, jubilant colors of the A side. It feels contemplative. And "Daydreaming" could really fall anywhere. From letting your mind wander to hopes and dreams for the future to something pulling you away from the present moment, there's so much room for this song to take root.
This song actually ended up being more jubilant, bright, and free than most. The lyrics are relatively simple, and it feels like an even more upbeat part 2 to "Cinema." The song presents a bit of progress as he asks the love interest to, "Stay until the morning," breaking the invisible wall that the daylight seemed to have posed earlier in the relationship.
If "Boyfriends" doesn't end up taking the cake, I have a feeling "Keep Driving" might. Again, there's a happy interpretation of this track like driving off into the sunset with your one true love, but there's also an interpretation of a moment of love lost. When you start to go down their road and are forced to keep driving past their house; when nothing is going right, but you just have to keep your eyes focused on the road ahead. For some reason, this title immediately made me think of the 1989 album cut, and one of my personal favorite songs, "I Wish You Would".
Again, for how much information I had when I wrote this, it ended up being pretty spot on. There's a clear melancholy here of knowing that when you stop the car, everything is going to fall apart. There's a tenderness that seeps through, "Hash brown / Egg yolk / I will always love you," that's immediately followed up by doubt and forbidding, "A small concern with how the engine sounds / We held darkness in withheld clouds." Continuing to drive on is admitting that you're willing to ignore the problems that need addressed. A line from my prediction sticks out to me as a better summary than anything I could come up with now, "when nothing is going right, but you just have to keep your eyes focused on the road ahead."
And I was right that this is one of my favorite tracks on the album. I've seen it criticized for the bridge that feels very stream of consciousness and could feel like a random jumble of words, but I love it. I think it accents the chaos and concern of this track really well. And while, "Tea with cyborgs," is a bit confusing it also makes sense in a weird way? My favorite lines are "Life hacks going viral in the bathroom" and "Toothache, bad move / Just act normal."
The word satellite has been partially claimed in my mind when it comes to music by Phoebe Bridgers and her song "Chinese Satellite". I absolutely adore that song. Satellites are funny things when it comes to imagery. They're up there with the stars, they look like stars from a distance, but they aren't. You make wishes on them and then are disappointed when you realize they can't really be stars because they're actually moving. What happens to all those empty wishes aimed at massive hunks of metal floating through space?
While not about wishes directly, there is something wishful in this song as Harry tries to get closer to this person he once knew so intimately. The song opens with a heavy weight as he sings, "You got a new life / Am I bothering you? / Do you want to talk?". He uses the image of a satellite to talk about the orbiting they do around the Earth, much like he's orbiting the love interest waiting to be sucked in by the gravitational pull and have a chance to soothe and make it better. "I can see you're lonely down there / Don't you know that I am right here?" he pleads in the chorus. The song is about a loss of a relationship, but the chorus is also upbeat, spacey, and captivating.
Ahhhh "Boyfriends," I already love you so. I also love that we finally know that it's "Boyfriends" for sure and not "Boyfriend". There's been plenty of debate online about whether the song is about boyfriends as a species, Harry himself, or a boyfriend Harry had. I personally interpreted the song to be like "Falling" where Harry takes a moment on the album to tell on himself, in a way. It's a chance to admit that he's not really as perfect as the glossy magazine pages would like you to believe. Mostly, I came to this conclusion because there are similar songs on past albums and that he mentioned "secretly drinking" which is a struggle he's sung about on prior tracks. It is fascinating, though, how it's told through this removed, omniscient narrator perspective that tells on one boyfriend through the lens of all boyfriends. Maybe they really are all the same at the end of the day.
While there are so many songs that I really love on this album that this one has slid down the rankings, I stand by my love of this song. While some have mentioned they wished Harry was more explicit in the verses about the song being a reflection on himself, I feel like it was decently obvious given his prior catalogue. The downfalls and shortcomings are frustrating and relatable, and the placement of the track perfectly sums up the failing love story of the album. Even though he seems so open and willing to communication and clarity in songs, "Boyfriends" is a moment of reflection on where he went wrong on his end as well as a look into the patterns of behavior that so often are associated with the particularly frustrating boyfriend species.
"Love of My Life"
Well, here's a declaration to end all declarations. Whether that love of his life ultimately ends up being himself and finding peace with himself or another person that he's finally found a sense of home, safety, and community with will be the big surprise at the very end of the album. Let's wait and see.
"Love of My Life" is a somber note to end on. He's mentioned the song is about his home in England and the disconnect he's experienced never really getting to live there an extended period of time, but it also feels like a summation of the new worries and anxieties imbued over the last few years and about the relationship he's chronicled. "Baby, you were the love of my life," he sings in the chorus as he tackles letting someone go even when you know that maybe they could've been your soulmate. I find this song fascinating as someone who loves relationships that are life changing but fleeting in fiction. It's so fascinating to hear a song from someone so young lamenting you were the love of my life. There's such a grief and finality there.
My Very Feeble Harry's House Ranking
1. Little Freak
2. Keep Driving
4. As It Was
5. Late Night Talking
6. Love of My Life
12. Music For a Sushi Restaurant
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