It’s hard to believe that Harry Styles, who is now a pop legend heard all over the radio, started in a school band with fellow students. After leaving One Direction, Harry Styles was able to make his way through the twisted maze of pop music with his two albums, “Harry Styles” and “Fine Line.” However, the genre Styles has developed did not manifest itself in his long-anticipated album, “Harry’s House,” which was released on May 20th, 2022.
The album begins, somewhat unconfidently, with “Music For A Sushi Restaurant.” Though the song is full of interesting acoustics and unpredictable tunes, I was expecting something more stable, especially for an opening song. However, I felt that, as the album continued, Styles’ confidence increased with it.
“Grapejuice” and “Daylight” are songs that particularly stand out to me, as they have euphonious melodies and lyrics that play in my head as I try to fall asleep. “Grapejuice,” especially, uses simple and yet appealing lyrics such as “But I got over it and I said, Give me something old and red.”
At first, I enjoyed the nostalgia that I experienced while listening to Styles’ album. However, during my second listen, I started to notice similarities between Styles’ songs and songs by other artists. For example, in “Late Night Talking,” Styles uses a sound in the beginning very similar to that of Ariana Grande’s “Boyfriend.” Furthermore, because of the beat, the background synthesizer, and the chorus, I felt like the entire song was a blend of multiple Ariana Grande songs. I felt this to such an extent that it almost felt as though it was not Styles who was supposed to be singing it, but rather Grande herself.
Similarly, “As It was” is one of the highlights of the album, with thoughtful lyrics and a catchy beat. However, it mimics that of a-ha’s “Take On Me;” the beginnings of the songs sound almost identical when played on top of each other.
In these songs, as well as the album in general, Styles appeared to be sampling many other musicians’ pieces in both subtle and obvious ways. It’s as if Styles has not quite found his distinctive style that separates himself from other pop musicians.
However, I agree with what Elvis Costello said when Olivia Rodrigo was accused of stealing from one of his songs: “It’s how rock & roll works. You take the broken pieces of another thrill and make a brand new toy.” This can be applied to Styles’ technique of sampling other musician’s form.
Though Harry Styles chose, a bit too obviously, to sample various songs from popular artists, he was able to do it in a way that was pleasant and, overall, has a positive outcome. After all, Styles has only just released his third album, and, I hope, will continue to develop his musical styles. Perhaps he is simply playing with styles that have been successful in the past in order to reach his own.