Harry Styles is at home with himself

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star
Harry Styles is at home with himself
Harry’s House is an album that invites the listener to hang on to every cut. Harry Styles brings too much of himself to the music and you do not want to miss what he will say in the next song or the next line.

Harry Styles got me again. Now, I had already decided ages ago that clothing expenses should go to the “only when needed” category. But then I saw the cover of his new album, Harry’s House, and isn’t that cutest white blouse he is wearing? And with bell-bottomed jeans at that. Oh, oh, oh, I’d like to have those.

Well, it is no surprise really that Styles could entice me or anybody else into shopping for clothes we do not need. He is such a natural with fashion. Vogue saw that when it made him the first man to appear solo on its cover. He looks so chic in anything — including those little signature purses he carries around. Thanks to his sexy confident masculinity, Styles has taken gender out of fashion.

Now, to promote Harry’s House, he came out on the cover of Better Home and Gardens. Home and Gardens? Home and Gardens indeed. So now I wonder what effect he will have on gardening and home interiors. Nothing upside down please, like the room he is in, in the album cover. Well, it is cute. It reminds me of that Fred Astaire dance number on the ceiling from the MGM musical Royal Wedding. But I am not about to start nailing down couches on the ceiling.

Styles is not dancing, but he might as well be. With Harry’s House, I say that he is on his way to becoming one of the greatest pop stars of all time. This is mainly because his album is selling big everywhere, on streams, downloads, vinyl, etc. It is also because he has attained new levels of artistry while being nice, sincere, happy and what seems to be just his true wonderful self.

The sparkling first single release, As It Was, said synth pop with an ‘80s vibe. Styles stayed with the ‘80s, then added disco, folk and R&B, lots of guitars and all of those synth sounds. Instead of the garish brights and shiny party-mood of the period, he relaxed, got rid of his inhibitions and went into the confessional mode.

And take note, Styles is using stream of consciousness lyric writing. He makes you wonder what the next line will be. But I say this style creates suspense in the listener and you stay hooked to his every word. Incoherent? A bit. But why not? He is home. This music is Harry’s house.

It is a happy house filled with Styles’ happy thoughts. Goodies like sushi, yoga, grape juice, the cinema, daydreaming, biking, long L.A. drives, staring at the ocean, even hotel rooms that were booked under someone else’s name that he mentions in his songs. Styles is in love, so he admits it, like, “There’s never been someone so perfect for me” from Grapejuice.

What about this from the wistful Love of My Life, “I’ve been doing everything I can to get to know your creases and your ends.” Oh, oh, he cannot only sell clothes or gardens, he is into seduction as well, but in a nice way. Just like the way he remembers the lost love that inspired the song. “Maybe you don’t know it’s lost until you find it/ it’s not what I wanted/ to leave you behind.”

The strange thing with Harry’s House is that while his tone is so light and intimate, he is also having fun. Elation is in his music which teems with joyful beats from the many instruments that fill his arrangements. It is funky, brassy, guitar-flecked, etc. Nothing stripped down here. It makes me think of a pinata, bursting with treats.

Harry’s House is an album that invites the listener to hang on to every cut. Harry brings too much of himself to the music and you do not want to miss what he will say in the next song or the next line. I have picked out favorites though. These are the wistful Grapejuice and the torchy ballad, Love of My Life.

The other cuts are Music for a Sushi Restaurant; Late Night Talking; Daylight; Little Freak; Matilda; Cinema; Daydreaming; Keep Driving; Satellite, Boyfriends and that first single, As It Was.

Remember how Rolling Stone Magazine added Styles’ 2019 album, the elegantly delineated pop rock masterpiece Fine Line, to the list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time? Well, I will not be surprised if Harry’s House should follow suit soon. With this new album, Harry Styles, my favorite 1D kid has created a masterpiece.


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