Welcome Home: A ‘Harry’s House’ Album Review


@harrystyles on Instagram

The cover art for Harry’s House perfectly matches the warm, vibrant, introspective energy the album cultivates.

Sariah Hossain, Editor-in-Chief

Welcome to Harry’s House. In other words, welcome home.

On May 20, 2022, the Grammy-award-winning pop phenomenon Harry Styles released his third studio album, titled Harry’s House. Atmospheric and lush yet intimate and sweet, Styles has dropped the record of the summer, a 13-track masterclass. I’ll say this right up front: there isn’t a single song I’d skip on this album. Zero skips. That’s a medal not many albums can wear.

Harry’s House is an album of two natures. It’s for cruising down by Windansea with all four windows down, volume turned up high, hair whipping around your face because you’re not worried about tying it back. It’s an unbearably hot summer night, the snap of a disposable film camera at a party, and hearing the rise and fall of your laughter lining up perfectly with the rise and fall of your best friend’s. For this feeling, look to “Music For a Sushi Restaurant,” “Late Night Talking,” “Daydreaming,” “Grapejuice,” and “Daylight.” And, on the other hand, Harry’s House is for lighting a scented candle and journaling in bed, or coming home to realize your mom’s making your favorite dinner. It’s sunlight turning your skin gold, a bouquet of fresh flowers from the farmers’ market wrapped in newspaper, a handwritten thank-you card that you keep in your memory box. Look to “Keep Driving,” “Little Freak,” and “Love Of My Life” for this feeling. 

I say the album feels intimate and sweet because it does—Styles’ vocals are soft, delicate, and his lyrics paint a picture of a narrator who understands your frustrations and is here when you need him, the way a best friend might. In the layered, crooning “Boyfriends,” Styles presents the prettiest condemnation of his own gender that I think I’ve ever heard. “Boyfriends, they think you’re so easy, they take you for granted, they don’t know they’re just misunderstanding,” a verse reads, and I love how he uses the third person there, because remember, Harry’s not one of them. He’s on your side. We’re reminded of this further in “Matilda,” my favorite track from my first listen-through of the album. “You don’t have to be sorry for leaving and growing up,” he sings, and at least for me, as a soon-to-be-graduated senior, it’s everything I needed to hear. Styles has a funny way of doing that sometimes.

The album’s last four songs, “Satellite,” “Keep Driving,” “Boyfriends,” and “Love Of My Life,” amount to, in this amateur music critic’s opinion, the strongest four-song stretch in Styles’ discography. The first of the quartet here, “Satellite,” is a slow-building, cinematic anthem of a song, one of those tracks that you just know will hit so hard hearing it live in concert. “Keep Driving,” in my eyes, is a love song first and foremost, and as you listen, its lyrics create a proper feature film in your head. I’ve already told you how I love “Boyfriends,” and, well, I love “Love Of My Life” even more. It’s one of those songs that seems like it perfectly fits the storylines of some of my favorite, most heartbreaking fictional couples—think Mia and Sebastian from La La Land. “Baby, you were the love of my life / Maybe you don’t know it’s lost til you find it,” Styles mourns on the song’s chorus. “It’s not what I wanted, to leave you behind / Don’t know where you’ll land when you fly / But baby, you were the love of my life.” Oh, how it’s beautiful. Oh, how it hurts.

One last standout is “Little Freak,” which has, in the four days between the album’s release and my penning of this review, become my most-listened-to song of the month on Spotify—not a small feat. 

It’s a slow, aching, indulgent ballad where Styles sings of a past relationship that might have slipped through his fingers, and it’s the most honest version of him this record, and maybe even his whole discography, gives us: “I’m not worried about where you are, who you will go home to, I’m just thinking about you.”

His first two efforts, the self-titled debut album Harry Styles and its lauded sophomore successor Fine Line, felt like they were both created with a bit too much worry about the weight of expectations. Those albums wore their influences on their sleeves, as if Styles was trying to prove his legitimacy as a real, respectable musician and lyricist by fashioning his work after the admired artists of the 70s and 80s—Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Mick Jagger. And as much as I love his first two albums, Harry’s House feels like it’s less worried about awards and perceptions. It’s quietly confident this time around. It’s just what Styles wanted it to be.

It’s funny—to a longtime Styles aficionado like myself, Harry’s House feels the most similar, at least sonically, to a One Direction record, out of the three albums he’s released as a solo artist. “This album is the best representation of me,” Styles said to SiriusXM in a radio interview, and that sentiment rings true with every listen. He continued, “I think I couldn’t have made this album if I wasn’t in a place that made me feel like I was allowed [to], and I think that was very much down to both my friends and the environment the fans have created for me.” Well, I think I’d respond that it goes both ways—with Harry’s House, Harry Styles has put a little something of a home out in the world for whoever needs it, open arms. I know that I, among so many others, am so thankful for that.