Album Reviews

Harry’s House Album Review: Harry at the Crossroads – Messy, but Full of Love

After hearing Harry’s House, I was inspired to get an album review out there. Along with Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale and The Big Steppers…and the hype around an eventual Taylor Swift 1989 (Taylor’s Version) record…Harry Styles’ Harry’s House is probably one of the most anticipated records of 2022. He only dropped one single, As it Was, and debuted a couple tracks at his epic Coachella gig. Let’s get this out of the way, I do not think it is as good as either his self – titled debut record or Fine Line, but it is equally as fascinating and interesting as those two records.

First of all, the record is an excellent example of a third record from a talented artist. That is, it is a bit messy and everywhere. Let’s look at some third records: Nirvana’s In Utero has some automatic bangers like Heart Shaped Box, but that is along side some straight punk and experimental tracks like Radio Friendly Unit Shifter and Milk It. Public Enemy has Fear of a Black Planet with iconic tracks like Burn Hollywood Burn, Fight the Power and Welcome to the Terrordome next to instrumentals and Who Stole the Soul. The final and most famous third record departure is Beyoncé’s third studio double record I Am…Sasha Fierce where she is amazing, but took on an entire alter ego. All of this is to say that for some artists the third record is a chance to have a laser focus on what they do well, but also experiment to see where they will go in the future. In some ways, the third record is an opportunity to perfect what you have done well on your first two records, while also branch out to keep things fresh. That is to say, some third records can seem a bit messy…but in an interesting way.

Harry’s House fits into this third record category in how he tries on a number of different genres, while also putting out some pure uncut pop gems. It feels like Harry wanted to take a record where he throws everything at the wall to see where to go from here. It’s almost like Harry’s House is a playground to see what the fourth record is going to be.

The record has some wild genre swings, which are abrupt at times, but I love that he is going for it. Harry likes to tackle genre and this record firmly takes on soul and funk. The track that best exemplifies this is the opening track Music For a Sushi Restaurant, which sounds like some long lost Prince track dug out of some vault. I think that opening tracks are to educate the listener on the record. Channeling is inner Prince lets you know that this is going to be an overtly sexual record about love and lust. Throughout the record Harry sings about wet dreams, his girlfriend getting “wet” for him and them tasting each other. The opening track is a long way from the innuendo of Watermelon Sugar. However, whenever Harry takes on genre I think he avoids it feeling gimmicky, because it seems honest. His vocals, the horns and bass in his funk tracks are tight and soulful, which helps those tracks work.

Throughout the record he will radically shift to acoustic based tracks with lush harmonies, which resemble Fleet Foxes and are the closest thing to the singer / songwriter vibe his Joni Mitchell inspired record title alludes to. Tracks like Little Freak, Matilda and Boyfriends rely almost solely on an acoustic guitar and Harry’s layered vocal tracks. These songs are interesting, but lyrically could be pushed a little further to really excel. Much like the rest of this record, these songs involve love, dreaming about sex and how they have been disrespected / emotionally harmed in the past. Having said that, the way his vocal tracks are layered over each other is a thing of beauty and are some of the strongest parts of the record.

Finally, Harry knows what he does best…put out pop bangers. The first single, As it Was is a standout on the record and will be played within an inch of its life this year. Another sure fire pop and concert hit will be Daydreaming, which has strong pop influences merged with funk horns, bass and some epic choruses that millions of people will yell at the top of their lungs. Much like the other third records I spoke of, Harry knows he does pop extremely well and he has really perfected that structure on this record.

Even though this record has nothing as epic as Sign of the Times on it, Harry is not resting on his pop stardom and is still pushing himself. Sometimes these risks succeed and sometimes they leave you a bit flat, but it is exciting that he is trying new stuff out at all. This is a solid record with some great tracks, but more importantly, it has me really excited for his next record.

Listen to Harry’s House

1 comment on “Harry’s House Album Review: Harry at the Crossroads – Messy, but Full of Love

  1. Pingback: Prime Time Jukebox Episode 71: Songs You Would Be Surprised We Love – CigarJukebox

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