In the age of faceless TikTok hits and flavour of the week viral superstars, Harry Styles exists in rarefied air as a pop star shrouded in mystique. He is an artiste in the classic sense: effortlessly cool, naturally charming, void of labels, genre-bending, vulnerable and strikingly handsome in a suit or a dress. As if Kurt Cobain and Prince had a love child, the issue with Styles as a singer-songwriter has never been his stage presence but meeting expectations.
A big deal on every level, his third solo album is a heavyweight pop release that feels understated and lightweight Is Harry Styles the biggest pop star on the planet right now? What even constitutes a pop star in 2022? What metrics do you use to try to quantify this? Indeed, the whole entire notion of 'bigness' is more amorphous and vague than ever. Harry's House is the third solo album by Styles, now 28. It raises more than a few of these existential pop questions, positioning as both a hugely melodic and accessible pop record, and a resolutely anti-pop record.
At this point, it pretty much goes without saying that any new album, by any artist, was born from a period of pandemic-prescribed navel gazing. Of course it was. But for a globe-trotting giant who hasn't stepped off the hamster wheel since his first musical tribute to Stevie Wonder at sixteen, the emergency brake must have been especially jarring.
And we danced all night to the ok-est song ever
Harry Styles has so much potential. His music is full of ideas that seem to want to push the borders of what pop music could be, much less the pop-music that comes from the solo outing of a former boy band member. When talking about his influences, he cites artists like Joni Mitchell, Pink Floyd, Tame Impala, and The Beatles, all of which isn't just lip service - These influences are clearly found in his music, from the classic rock stylings of his self-titled debut or the 70s psychedelic pop tinge of Fine Line.
On a quiet, tree-lined street, there's a party in full swing. The giddy sound of something like Studio 54 in its heyday seeps all the way down the street. Stragglers abuzz make their way onto the pavement, tottering down broken concrete slabs in towering heels. They've all come from 'Harry's House ….