Harry Styles Breaks His Own Mold and Proves the Third Time's the Charm on Harry's House

·2 min read
Harry Styles
Harry Styles

Lillie Eiger Harry Styles

Two-and-a-half years after he released Fine Line, Harry Styles returned in April with an earworm single that jubilantly declared, "It's not the same as it was." Neither, it seems, is Styles himself, as he proves on his genre-defying third album Harry's House.

Gone is the floppy-haired teen who spoke humbly of working in a bakery on The X Factor — even the pop balladeer who penned "Falling" appears to have been shown the door, in his place a musician of rock star-caliber unafraid to take risks.

The first two tracks on Harry's House, "Music for a Sushi Restaurant" and "Late Night Talking," are giddy, groovy fun, with '70s-inspired horn sections that make you wonder if the 28-year-old Styles hasn't been binge-watching Saturday Night Fever. If Fine Line was all about "having sex and feeling sad," as Styles told Rolling Stone, then its successor is about having sex and feeling euphorically happy.

The Grammy winner seems a smitten kitten on a majority of the album's tracklist; "There's just no getting through without you," he coos on "Grapejuice," a standout that sounds like a hazy daydream. The sweeter-than-its-title-suggests "Little Freak" has him repeatedly "just thinking about" the object of his affections, while "Keep Driving" finds Styles enchanted by the domestic bliss of pancakes for two and aimless road trips.

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Harry's House is sonically more ambitious than his first two records, blending horns, synths, organs and more — Styles told Better Homes & Gardens that this go-round is the first time he doesn't feel as though his "life is over if this album isn't a commercial success." He plays the glockenspiel on "Keep Driving," which would feel at home on the soundtrack of a 2000s indie movie, pairs dark, heavy synths with a whimsical piano outro on closing track "Love of My Life," and even gets an electric guitar assist from John Mayer on "Cinema" and "Daydreaming."

Harry Styles Announces New Love on Tour Dates
Harry Styles Announces New Love on Tour Dates

Lillie Eiger Harry Styles

The 13 tracks feel rewarding, in a way, to those who've followed the star from his modest boy band beginnings. Listening to "Satellite" unfold from an ethereal lullaby into its cinematic climax is a treat, especially when you consider its writer was once relegated to songs about puppy love.

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Styles can sell out arenas that seat 20,000 people in mere seconds — his popularity isn't remotely in question. But with Harry's House, he's proving himself as more than just a shiny Coachella draw or an internet boyfriend. It's proof that he's an artist, and that while he's developed a sound unique to him, surprises still lurk up his tattooed sleeve.

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