Harry Styles is from Manchester, England, but you can tell by his transatlantic accent that he’s kind of grown up everywhere. The singer-songwriter has toured around the world almost nonstop since the start of his chapter in boy band One Direction at the age of 16, which makes the title of his third solo album, Harry’s House, hold even more intrigue.
The lead up to the release of Harry’s House on May 20, 2022, followed a fairly standard format: Debut album visuals. Share track list. Appear on magazine cover. Announce tour dates. But Styles and his team made some unique choices along the way that further fed the buzz around each already anticipated announcement.
It was the first look at the album art for the new project that kicked things off. On the cover of Harry’s House, Styles is standing in a bare bones, upside-down living room sparsely furnished with vintage modernist pieces—a table that evokes Marcel Breuer’s Laccio, a seat reminiscent of the Giandomenico Belotti 109 Spaghetti lounge chair. While Styles’ team kept mum on details about the various pieces, internet sleuths on Twitter and TikTok have since linked the orange sofa to this Tubular Chrome Frame Terracotta Fabric Sarah Sofa from Superhire Props—but not before design publications like Surface published stories titled, "Okay, Who Makes the Sofa on the New Harry Styles Album?"
Then the news dropped that Styles would appear on the June 2022 cover of Better Homes & Gardens, giving the first exclusive feature of his album cycle to a home and lifestyle publication (in lieu of the Rolling Stone covers he did for his two prior solo records). After he posted about the cover story on his Instagram and Twitter on April 26, the BH&G website crashed temporarily, and, as seen in the comments section of their Instagram post, caused some confusion for fans of the magazine and not the pop star.
Though the album promotion was deeply grounded in an aesthetic connected to physical space, Harry’s House seems to be less about a place or property that belongs to the pop star and more about the concept of home as a feeling. Styles, who spent the first four months of the pandemic in Los Angeles—later going back and forth between L.A. and London—explained in the BH&G cover story how lockdown forced him to slow down for the first time since his teenage years: "I realized that that home feeling isn’t something that you get from a house; it’s more of an internal thing. You realize that when you stop for a minute."
According to Styles, the title pays homage to a 1973 album called Hosono House by Japanese artist Haruomi Hosono. In an interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music, Styles tells Lowe he played with the idea of comparing "a day in my house" to "a day in my mind." In the same interview, Styles likens the process of looking inward to better understand yourself to discovering new places inside where you already live. "You open a bunch of doors in your house that you didn’t know existed, and you find all these rooms, and you get to explore them," he says. "Then, in a time where it would be easier to emotionally coast, you can no longer do that because you know the room exists. The scale has just widened."
While the 13-track album includes many home-centric lyrical references to kitchens, gardens, and dinner parties, the last song, "Love of My Life," is an ode to growing up in England. He looks back on leaving his first home: "I don’t know you half as well as all my friends / I won’t pretend that I’ve been doin’ everything I can / To get to know your creases and your ends / Are they the same?" The final lines sound: "It’s not what I wanted, to leave you behind / Don’t know where you’ll land when you fly / But baby, you were the love of my life."
Ultimately, Harry’s House feels like the point of view of a person who has spent the past few years in close quarters with very few people, reflecting, not unlike a number of other introspective pandemic-inspired albums. In this case, however, a similarly pandemic-inspired cultural obsession with decor might have gotten a wider range of audiences through the door to explore it.
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