Creating pop perfection is no easy feat, but almost a year ago, Harry Styles made it happen.

The perfection in question was none other than Styles’ third album “Harry’s House.” The album was released on May 20, 2022 and immediately went into overdrive in terms of breaking records and setting the groundwork for 2022 to be a good year for Styles.

“Harry’s House” came off the heels of two other wildly successful albums for Styles, those being his 2017 debut album “Harry Styles,” and his critically acclaimed 2019 release “Fine Line.” The release of “Harry’s House” marked many records being broken by Styles, one of which being the first United Kingdom (UK) artist to have their first three albums debut at number one on the Billboard charts.

“Harry’s House” itself was preceded by just one single, that being “As It Was,” which was released on April 1, 2022, after it was announced on March 28. The song itself went on to become one of the most praised songs of 2022, but more on that later.

The album opens on a very strong foot with “Music For A Sushi Restaurant.” The song is a great introduction to the album, with Styles delivering a great vocal introduction to the song, as well as a stellar performance throughout its runtime.

The song’s instrumentation and production are very strong. The song mixes horns, modern pop elements, jazz and some funky 1970’s pop influences together, a mixture that ultimately works very well. The song itself sees Styles relating sushi making to his desire for a relationship, a trope that is thematically reminiscent of his 2019 megahit “Watermelon Sugar.”

“It’s ‘cause I love you, babe / In every kind of way / Just a little taste / You know I love you, babe.”

After that opening, Styles only continues his upward trajectory with “Late Night Talking.” According to Styles in an interview with BBC’s Radio 1, it was the first song that was written for the album. The song debuted at number five on the Billboard Hot 100.

The song itself depicts a relationship wherein one member simply cannot stop thinking about the other. All in all, it is a sweet song that is absolutely drenched in a 70s pop aesthetic, which only serves to make the song stronger and hit harder, particularly with how smooth the synthesizers and bass are throughout the song, and how those instruments, as well as the drums, blend with Styles’ phrasing and vocal style.

“Wish I was around, I just wanna make you happier baby / We’ve been doing all this late night talking / ‘Bout anything you wanted ‘til the morning.”

After that is “Grapejuice.” The song continues the funk inspired instrumentation and allows Styles to hit and sustain some higher notes with his vocals. It is easy to get lost in the groove of this song, as everything is so tight, and subsequently works amazingly together.

Lyrically, the song feels nostalgic, with a lot of the lyrics evoking a sense of being with someone you care about, and simply reminiscing about the past with that person. Overall, despite not being a single, and being on the track list before the biggest song on the album, “Grapejuice” stands on its own as a great cut from the record.

“Just me and you / There’s just no getting through / The grape juice blues.”

After “Grapejuice,” everything changes, some could say that things are not the same “As It Was,” with the lead single being the fourth song on the album.

“As It Was” is nothing short of perfection. The song is a modern pop marvel, combining 80s elements, but giving them a modern sheen that somehow feels both nostalgic and new at the same time. The song also borrows a keyboard lick from a-ha’s hit “Take On Me,” likely giving the song the unique feeling that it has. There are also bells at the end of the song which make it feel even more grandiose.

The song, which features a short intro from Styles’ goddaughter, centers on themes of loneliness and metamorphosis. The song allowed Styles to express an embracing of change, as well as a shift to the style of music that he wanted to make.

“It just felt like the thing I wanted to say, the thing I wanted to be doing and the kind of music I wanted to make coming back,” Styles said in an interview.

Since its release, “As It Was” has seen tremendous success. In addition to topping charts in over 40 different countries, the song also was hailed by many publications, including us at The Penn, as one of the most important tracks of 2022. Since its release, the song has amassed over two billion streams on Spotify and has even taken the record for Styles’ most streamed song on the platform, which was previously held by “Watermelon Sugar.”

“In this world, it’s just us / You know it’s not the same as it was.”

Following that song is not easy to do, but Styles picked a solid follow up with “Daylight.” The song continues a very similar style and instrumentation, albeit unique in some parts, particularly when the drum volume is increased about three quarters of the way through the song.

The song was written in a stream of consciousness style, Styles revealed during an interview. Styles wrote the song after thinking about a relationship and worked with his band on the song all night until daylight, hence the name of the song.

“Daylight, you got me cursing the daylight / Daylight, you got me calling at all times.”

After that is “Little Freak,” sitting comfortably at the halfway point of the record. The song slows the pace of the album down and allows some sonic space to be obtained after the energy of the previous tracks. The song shows Styles being nostalgic over a relationship that never got very far.

The imagery achieved in this song is very strong, with the listener being able to picture a lot of what Styles is referring to, ultimately learning that the relationship ended before Styles was able to show the person his true self, leading to this sense of regret that the song shows.

“I’m not worried about where you are / Or who you will go home to / I’m just thinking about you.”

From there the pacing slows a bit more with “Matilda.” The song is simple, with just guitars making up the instrumentation, being very focused on the vocals from Styles.

The song is about a person who, despite having a family, was not treated well by them. With themes of abandonment and growing up, the song is bittersweet. On one hand, it shows a type of melancholic growing up, but on the other is very reminiscent of sadder family memories. Its emotional, and one of the best songs on the album.

“This thing is more important than me just making music about myself, because I think it could mean more to you and a lot more people,” Styles said in an interview.

“You can let it go / You can throw a party full of everyone you know / And not invite your family, 'cause they never showed you love / You don't have to be sorry for leaving and growing up.”

After that, the pace picks back up with “Cinema.”  The song is about Styles feeling uncertain in the beginning of a relationship, worried that he is coming on too strong to the other person, and that he isn’t cool enough for them.

The song’s groove is amazing and blends great with Styles’ vocals. Ultimately, the song builds both lyrically and instrumentally to show Styles has found confidence in the relationship, being fully able to enjoy it without anxiety.

“I just think you’re cool / I dig your cinema / Do you think I’m cool, too?”

From there the energy comes back in full force with “Daydreaming,” opening with an emphatic “ooh” from Styles that carries the feeling of the song throughout its runtime. The song sees a return of the horns, which sit comfortably with other instruments in the mix.

The song is sunny and upbeat and is about a relationship that is so good that it is like a daydream, hence the name of the song. It is clear Styles wanted that happiness to extend to the listener, something that he pulled off with great skill.

“Living in a daydream / She said love me like you pay me.”

 Next is “Keep Driving.” While the song turns down the energy a bit at first, it still carries the sunny vibe perfectly. The song feels like going on a drive on a summer day, perfectly matching with the title.

The song itself is all about ignoring the troubles around you, stating that if you and your partner “keep driving,” everything will be alright. It is hopeful and sweet and is just a fun listen.

“We held darkness in withheld clouds / I would ask, ‘should we just keep driving?’”

Next the sonic landscape of the album expands with “Satellite.” The introduction to the song is airy and spacious, until it all comes back in about one minute into the song, settling into an infectious groove that occupies most of the song, until an explosion of synths, drums and vocals, which have become part of the Harry Styles mythos, with him doing the “Satellite Stomps” during that portion of the song at live performances.

The song itself is all simply an extended metaphor, with Styles as a satellite, saying that he can only observe a person he cares about, saying that he can see they are lonely, and wanting to be there with them.

“I go ‘round and ‘round, satellite / Spinning out, waiting for ya to pull me in / I can see you’re lonely down there / Don’t you know that I am right here?”

Next the pace slows down once again with “Boyfriends.” The song centers around the various ways that men in relationships can mistreat their partners. Styles revealed in an interview with Zane Lowe of Apple Music that the song draws from relationships he has seen his sister and other friends in.

The song is purely acoustic and places a spotlight on the lyrics and Styles’ very strong vocals and harmonies. It is a great song, easily carrying the heavier message that goes along with the lyrics.

“Boyfriends / They think you’re so easy / They take you for granted.”

Last, but not least, we get the closer, “Love Of My Life.” The song is another slower one, although this time it is not acoustic, with there being a larger presence of synths and some mild percussion.

The song was written about Styles’ love of his home country. It is a sweet song, no matter how you perceive it, and a fitting end to the album.

“Baby, you were the love of my life / Maybe you don’t know what’s lost ‘til you find it.”

Since its release, the album has seen a lot of critical praise and commercial success. The album became one of the best-selling albums of the year, having the second-best opening week of the year, second only to Taylor Swift’s “Midnights.”

In addition to that, the album won Album of the Year at the 2023 Grammy Awards and the Brit Awards, as well as several other miscellaneous awards.

Whether you are a Harry Styles fan or not, it is impossible to deny the impact and importance of “Harry’s House” on the musical landscape. It is rare to say that an album can define a period of time, but for those that follow music, I think it is more than safe to assume that “Harry’s House” will be part of a handful of albums that will come to define 2022.

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