Harry Styles’ “As It Was”: Hear the new single “Harry’s House”.

Harry Styles has released his highly anticipated new song “As It Was”. It’s the lead single and video from his forthcoming third album, Harry’s house, due May 20th – the first music he has released since his 2019 blockbuster, fine line. It’s one of the most emotionally powerful songs he’s ever made. He sings about facing personal transitions with the refrain “In this world it’s just us/You know it’s not the same as it was”.

It’s a bold change for Styles, unlike anything he’s done musically before. He started his first two album eras with big statements, “Sign of the Times” and “Lights Up”. But “As It Was” is far more vulnerable, a scream straight from the heart that also presents an irresistible dancefloor challenge. It begins with children’s voices calling out, “Come on, Harry, we want to say good night to you!”

But the song goes deep into feelings of isolation and melancholy. The text is a request: “Answer the phone/Harry, you’re not good alone/Why are you sitting on the floor at home?/What pills are you on?”

“As It Was” veers into 80’s-style synth-pop, like A-Ha or Depeche Mode. The synth hook sounds like warped steel drums with chiming bells at the end – Styles is credited with playing “tubular bells”. His singing is bittersweet, almost piercingly poignant, with the intimate vibe of a diary entry. But it also feels like a relationship, full of secret confessions between two people – the first time he’s started an album era with a love song.

It’s the first taste of his amazing new harry’s house, which is even better than you hope. The 13 track Harry’s house will be released worldwide on May 20th on vinyl, CD and cassette, available at Pre-order now. The vinyl will include exclusives like Sea Grass Green (on Harry’s website) and Target Translucent Yellow; There is also a CD photo book with 32 new photos. Later this month he will be headlining the Coachella Festival on the weekends of April 15th and 22nd where he will debut “As It Was” live. This summer he returns to the streets for the international stretch of Love On Tour, which begins June 11 in Glasgow with Mitski and extends into December.

The “As It Was” video evokes the song’s sense of personal conflict, with Styles and a partner literally running in circles, which fits with sentiments like “gravity is holding me back.” It was filmed in London by Ukrainian director Tanu Muino. As she says in a statement: “It was bittersweet shooting him as it was one of the happiest days of my life but on the second day of shooting my country Ukraine was invaded so you can imagine the insane feelings that we had shooting. Me and my team from Ukraine put so much love into this video and you can see it on screen.”

Styles wrote “As It Was” with his stalwart longtime collaborators Kid Harpoon and Tyler Johnson, who both produced. Guitar wingman Mitch Rowland is on drums with Harpoon. as styles told Rolling Stone when fine line came out, “When you work with session writers or something, you spend a day or two there, and there’s no way that person is really as interested in your album as you are. Because tomorrow they’re into something else.” That’s why he is so unusually devoted to his team. “We connect through the music we love and the things we’re going through. It’s not like there’s one person in the group who says, ‘Well, no, I don’t talk about that. I just make beats.’”

When Paul McCartney – one of Styles’ main heroes – released his solo debut, he summed it up as “Home, Family, Love.” Title and cover of Harry’s house seem to evoke similar themes, as does the cryptic You Are Home site with daily messages like “whisper your houseplants/sing your neighbors”. The gatefold to the vinyl album, as teased on his website yesterday, features a very Linda McCartney-esque photo of domestic life: a breakfast table in the garden, set for two, with coffee, eggs and an orange. (If you follow the Harry Fruit universe, there’s another one to check off your list.)

Styles has always made a point of mixing pop glam with raw emotion. As he said Rolling Stone by doing fine line Era: “It’s all about having sex and being sad.” That perfectly describes “As It Was” — the moment when love forces you to deal with your own baggage, the feelings you normally have hiding from yourself “As It Was” comes almost exactly five years after he began his solo career. (He dropped “Sign of the Times” on April 7, 2017.) And yet it sounds like an artist who’s just getting started. More than a creative pinnacle, As It Was is a fearless leap into a new era.

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