In an era of streaming music that seems more indistinct and unpredictable than ever, Harry Styles is a constant source of can’t-miss content and larger-than-life moments. Just weeks after headlining Coachella in a haze of sequins and Shania, the boy bander turned megastar’s third solo album, Harry’s House, is officially out. The record ushers in a new phase of Harry’s career, one that sees him swapping soaring rock ballads for breezy summer bops and cementing his status as one of our most reliable, ever-improving pop stars. From endless food references to getting very detailed about, uh, various elements of his current relationship, here are the biggest takeaways from Harry’s House.
Harry’s a vibe.
In recent years, trendy “aesthetics” like cottagecore, dark academia, and most recently “coastal grandmacore” have gone viral among the fashion-forward youths on TikTok. But it may be time to consider a new lifestyle aesthetic: domestic Harrycore.
The promo around Harry’s House has exuded a sort of tranquil, intimate vibe since the first teasers were released—even the minimalist album cover evokes a Madewell campaign rather than the flamboyant imagery of albums past. Harry leans into that intimate “day in the life” energy on several tracks. “Yesterday it finally came, a sunny afternoon / I was on my way to buy some flowers for you / Thought we could hide away in a corner of the heath” he sings on “Grapejuice.” On “Daylight,” he croons, “Out of New York, I’m on my comedown speed / we’re on bicycles, saying ‘There’s life out there.’”
Five years ago, Harry Styles was flying over Scotland, dangling from a helicopter and taking himself very seriously as he kicked off his solo career with an epic, nearly six-minute power ballad about the end of the world. Light stuff! But now, between Harry’s House’s soothing lyrics, unhurried melodies, and even some recent casual meadow frolicking, it’s clear that Harry is ready to slow down, stay on the ground, and enjoy the little things in life.
My mother always said you should never go grocery shopping hungry, and perhaps crafting an album abides by similar rules. Did Harry eat before writing any of these songs? Perhaps he was mid-diet to prepare for his rumored nude scenes in the upcoming film My Policeman. Whatever the reason, Harry’s House is rife with food references, primarily on the opening track, “Music for a Sushi Restaurant”: “green eyes, fried rice, I could cook an egg on you … sweet ice cream, you could use a flake or two / blue bubblegum twisting round your tongue.” On “Daylight,” he sings, “dip you in honey so I could be sticking to you,” and “Keep Driving” contains a verse devoted to “maple syrup, coffee, pancakes for two / Hash brown, egg yolk, I will always love you.” Someone is clearly into sploshing. (A real term that I just learned about, and now you have to know about it too. I’m sorry.)
And no complaints about that, but are we sure someone didn’t just mistake the shopping list for song lyrics and commit to the bit? It’s also worth noting that Harry’s House adds to Harry’s ongoing run of fruit-titled songs, with “Grapejuice” following in the sticky footsteps of “Cherry,” “Kiwi,” and “Watermelon Sugar.” Someone feed this man.
Harry’s horny (in multiple ways).
It’s been well over a year of on-set romance and oceanside PDA between Harry and his current partner, Olivia Wilde, and Harry seems to be ready to talk about his thriving, oft-controversial relationship. Or sing about it, anyway—he politely dodged questions about Olivia during a recent interview with Howard Stern. Worry not, because he saved the dirty details for his album.
Nearly every love-stricken line on Harry’s House is likely about Olivia to some degree, but the two most obvious odes to the Don’t Worry Darling director appear on “Cinema” and “Late Night Talking.” “I just think you’re cool / I dig your cinema” Harry sings on—you guessed it—“Cinema.” And on “Late Night Talking,” he pines “It’s only been a couple of days and I miss you / And nothing really goes to plan / You stub your toe or break your camera / I’d do everything I can to help you through.”
But he doesn’t just stick to movie references—Harry’s “Cinema” isn’t afraid of an R rating: “If you’re getting yourself wet for me, I guess you’re all mine,” he sings before adding, and “I bring the pop to the cinema, you pop when we get intimate.” And he’s not done there! “Little Freak” includes a tribute to “a wet dream just dangling” and “tracksuit and a ponytail, you hide the body all that yoga gave you.” But “Keep Driving” is our horny winner, featuring the line “Cocaine, side boob, choke her with a sea view.” Whew—between the drugs, the fried rice, and all of the, um, moisture, this man is having some wild sex.
Fans worldwide are still in mourning over Harry’s relationship with Olivia, but it may be time to accept that our guy is head over heels and happy as a horny little clam. It may be time for us to suck it up, put “Cinema” on repeat, and channel our best Nicole Kidman: heartbreak feels pretty good on an album like this.
But Harry’s House isn’t just horny in the traditional sense. In a moment that has become integral to Harry Styles lore, the singer once told a story in a 2015 Apple Music interview for One Direction’s Made in the A.M. about how his original, rejected vision for the self-penned song “Olivia” included a blast of peppy trumpets. “Great mix, but it’s still missing the trumpets,” he joked at producer Julian Bunetta.
is so cute how harry really wants does trumpets in Olivia pic.twitter.com/ScaRfoLnBN— ˗ˏˋsolˎˊ˗ (@blissfoulhes) November 19, 2015
Well, Harry finally got his trumpets. “Music for a Sushi Restaurant” and “Daydreaming” make thrilling use of the kind of blazing horns one would expect to hear on an Earth, Wind & Fire track. Who’s laughing now, Julian Bunetta?
Although many have assumed that Harry’s House is a reference to Joni Mitchell’s 1975 songs “Harry’s House/Centerpiece,” Harry told Zane Lowe that the album was inspired by his time spent in Japan, where he discovered Japanese musician Haruomi Hosono and decided to make an album inspired by the artist’s 1973 album Hosono House. And despite the title, Harry’s House was influenced by Harry’s travels all over the world. “As It Was” is about Harry’s time spent in L.A. and England in the peak of the pandemic, when he finally had the chance to “sit and create a space for himself.” As he told Lowe, those months in L.A. and England were “the longest time I’d been anywhere for 10-11 years.” Other songs were conceived while Harry was taking a solo road trip back from a vacation in Italy, and that oceanside-driving energy steadily infects the entire album with summer vibes and carefree choruses.
And “Love of My Life,” as Harry told Lowe (in an accent that is steadily, tragically losing its Northern English inflection) came from his longtime desire to write a song about “home and England.” “It’s not what I wanted, to leave you behind / Don’t know where you’ll land when you fly / But baby, you were the love of my life.” Sure, the song could also be about Olivia, as some have theorized, but the lyrics do fit best as the musings of a homesick rock star.
Ultimately, Harry’s House is a breezy, easy collection of summer songs, best listened to anywhere the sun is shining and the vibes are right. Walking in the park, driving to the beach, or perhaps just back at the house, at the end of a long day—it doesn’t matter. As Harry Styles proves on Harry’s House, home is where the headphones are.