Saturday, April 02, 2022

Harry Styles has given listeners a housewarming gift with his first single ‘As It Was’ from the upcoming album, ‘Harry’s House’

He’s done it again. The nation's sweetheart is back with a new single, the first release from the upcoming HS3 ‘Harry’s House’ (released 20th of May). ‘As It Was’ marks the exit from the ‘Fine Line’ era and the entry into the next phase, the tune gives listeners a delightful hit of what is to come. 

The meaning behind the song isn’t completely clear but it feels like an expression of Harry’s life journey and how this is the product of the synergy between the various aspects of his being, both him as THE Harry Styles in the public lens and as Harry in his private life.

The chorus features the title of the song and is a repetition of the lines In this world, it's just us/ You know it's not the same as it was” these lines could be read in several different ways, whether it be lines spoken to someone else or words Harry is speaking to himself. In both cases, he is acknowledging the way his life has changed whether that be from a specific experience shaping him or just through the effects of life as a whole changing in nature. 

When looking at the rest of the song there is a general reference to isolation. In the second verse, he sings of a comment directed at him from an unknown caller “Answer the phone/ “Harry, you're no good alone/Why are you sitting at home on the floor?/What kind of pills are you on?”/Ringin' the bell/And nobody's coming to help” again this line has a number of interpretations, whether it is a dialogue between Harry and an ex or a reference to the mental health effects of the changes within his life and instead a call from a concerned loved one or friend. There definitely seems to be a reference to the strains of fame on his relationships with others, with the first verse talking to someone he is drawn to and wants to spend time with but facing the barriers of “When everything gets in the way”

Many fans are eager to hear the musical references to Harry’s partner, actress and filmmaker, Olivia Wilde and it seems that the bridge of this new track is the first one. “Leave America, two kids follow her/ I don't wanna talk about who's doin' it first” Olivia has two children from her previous relationship so although not confirmed it can be inferred that this is concerning her. With this in mind, there is potential that the song is addressing the journey of their relationship.

The video sees Harry and a female character in matching red and blue jumpsuits walking around a rotating circular stage with moments of physical contact before being dragged away. This could be seen as a relationship going in circles and some unknown force dragging them away from each other. This idea of the two people being pulled apart is featured in a later scene which sees the two figures being attached to separate surfaces with large metal structures by other people, the surfaces then move apart. Despite being pulled apart one of the first scenes sees Harry walking away from a door with a crowd and then being pulled back through the door where he ultimately ends up on the spinning circle, this accompanies the lines “Holdin' me back/Gravity's holdin' me back” The video does, however, finish with Harry leaving the room running down the path he was on finishing at a gate with a happy look on his face. This may either signify breaking out of a relationship or finally reaching a place where the relationship is on a good path.

Whatever the song's meaning may be, it follows a catchy synth-pop style that feels distinctly Harry but with something fresh about it. ‘As It Was’ will leave listeners absolutely yearning for what is to come on 20th May, a date that Harry stans the world over will have religiously marked in their diaries…

Francesca Riley


Image: ‘As It Was’ Official Single Cover


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