“Harry’s House” is falling down


Via Harry Styles from Harry's House

Harry Styles’ new album cover features him standing on the roof of a room in his house. His music was a disappointment with shallow and hollow lyrics with generic music and vocals.

“Passports in footwells, kiss her and don’t tells.”

No, that’s not a grammatical mistake. It’s one of the many nonsensical lines in Harry Styles’ new album, “Harry’s House.” That specific bridge of his song “Keep Driving” continues its laundry list of unrelated, ill-fitting items with “wine glass, puff pass, tea with cyborgs, riot America, science and edibles.”

Confused yet? So are we.

Styles’ overall album was a letdown, despite the occasional gems. “Keep Driving” is just one example of how difficult it is for his audience to connect with his music when the meaning seems to be lost and scattered. Ultimately, he brings mediocre music paired with shallow lyrics to deliver a pretty-sounding but hollow album.

In terms of lyricism, Styles alternates between taking metaphors way too far to having boring and weirdly on-the-nose lyrics. The opening track “Music For a Sushi Restaurant,” for example, takes a simple idea and morphs it into various sex metaphors: “Green eyes, fried rice, I could cook an egg on you” referencing someone so hot you could fry an egg. “Cinema” repeats the line “I dig your cinema” or “you got the cinema” or some other variation over 40 times. “Daylight” suffers a similar fate — it’s catchy and beautiful until Styles repeats “you got me cursing the daylight” to the point where the phrase loses its meaning. Throughout the album, he similarly tends to self-sabotage with mind-numbing noise to hide his lack of a message.

Songs that could have been considered catchy on their own get lost in a tumultuous mess as, after a while, they all start to bleed together. Apart from the inclusion of weird synthesizers in song intros, nearly every song reverts to a cookie-cutter format by the chorus. A few good lyrics or a lively melody can’t make up for the constant repetition of lines and generic music with minimal vocal variation.

Only “As It Was” and “Matilda” manage to break from the bizarreness of the album, showing Styles’ potential to write meaningful lyrics. “As it Was,” an early-release single that became an instant hit, details Styles’ experience with the media and his journey to fame. Instead of feeling overly poetic or one-dimensional, the song breaks the mold with more subtle comparisons and an underlying tone of reminiscence. “Matilda,” in contrast, demonstrates uncharacteristic sensitivity as he consoles a girl named Matilda by urging her to confront her past trauma and not be sorry for “leavin’ and growin’ up.” Apart from these two standouts, Styles remains resolutely impersonal and nonchalant in his songs.

Much like his lyricism, the music was mellow and unmemorable. Though Styles dabbles with more playful tones and interesting instrumentals, he remains firmly planted in his comfort zone with very little musical risk. Muddled horns, relaxed guitar and bubbly piano pieces evoke the sound of lazy summer days but do little else to spark emotion. The laid-back style of his music is only interesting for a few songs before it grows repetitive and unimaginative.

As a vocalist, his singing is probably one of his strongest skills, but in this album, Styles’ vocals seem careless and underutilized. His intros consisted of 30 seconds of “ooh-oohs” and “ba-bas” and other failed acapella-sounding experiments. Styles doesn’t switch to falsetto much and sticks to a head voice and his usual voice projection — the dreamy sound many Harries are obsessed with. Yet after listening to his layered vocals with the occasional self harmony, awkward synthesizers and EDM beats, the lack of complex vocal techniques stands out like a sore thumb.

Even with Styles’ iconic vocals, this album would not have been receiving nearly as much attention or praise if it was attached to a lesser-known singer. Styles has no need to venture beyond the music he’s already producing, with a loyal fanbase absolutely adoring all of his releases. However, it is disappointing to see less creativity and vulnerability in this release compared to his previous singles.

Harry Styles may be many Harries’ perfect man, but certainly not the perfect musician.