By: Christine Granskog | 4 June, 2022
Disclaimer: I’m not a singer nor a musician, every song ever put out is better than any song I could ever make (because I will never put a song out) so I’m in no place to judge a person’s art. These are simply my thoughts.
In case you haven’t heard, Harry Styles’ third studio album is out! Over the course of 13 songs and 42 minutes, we get the most real look into the singer’s head we’ve been afforded thus far.
I’ve listened over and over all the way through in chronological order, skipped around, and still find pieces that I missed and now love. When I heard it the first time through – driving in the car with my sister, windows down – my initial thought was “He finally realized he has so many incredible musicians at his fingertips, and he’s using them!” The most drastic difference I noticed was the musicality across the songs. From tubular bells and entire horn sections to John Mayer adding to the already impressive guitar by Mitch Rowland, the instrumental features are above and beyond those of Harry’s previous albums.
(via @harryflorals on Instagram)
Styles has often said when he listens back to his debut album, he can pinpoint places where he “held back” whether it was lyrically, tonally or musically, there were spots where he played it safe. In his interview with Zane Lowe this time around, Harry said that he tried not to hold back and the listener can feel it. With lyrics referencing cocaine and sex, he’s more straightforward in these songs than he has been in the past. His bluntness translates to honesty while painting pictures of pain and regret and falling in love throughout different seasons of life.
(via @harryflorals on Instagram)
After recapping this album with a friend, we came to the conclusion that it’s in the Sour and Folklore family of “no skips.” I typically don’t have a problem pointing out my least favorite songs on a new release or at least acknowledging the ones that don’t speak to me. However, like I said, I’ve listened to this series of songs many times through, and I don’t skip one. (Okay, sometimesss I skip As It Was, but that’s because Tiktok has exhausted it for me.) Each time, a different one sticks out or I notice a new lyric or guitar run that makes me go “Oh! I love that.”
The Grapejuice lyrics get me every time. The Daylight music video with James Cordon is one of his best. I’ve looped Keep Driving for an hour because I’m obsessed and don’t even get me started on Little Freak and Matilda (side note: I tried to learn the beginning of Matilda on guitar (I don’t play guitar) and I simply don’t know how they do it. Also, I’m that character in Pitch Perfect auditions who says, “If I could sing a lick, I would. But I can't. And I hate myself every day because of it.”)
I wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall for any and all of these masterpieces. Who came up with this line?!
“If the stars were edible
And our hearts were never full
Could we live with just a taste?”
I need to know! Or the time Harry asked John Mayer, who was recording across the hall, to come take a listen as they were working out the guitar on Daydreaming. To overhear the conversation between Ben Harper and his daughter when he asked to borrow the guitar he had gifted her so he could play it on Boyfriends. So many pieces had to come together for this album to exist the way it does – simply perfection.
I think it’s his best so far, and I’m beyond grateful to be here at the right time to experience it.
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