Harry Styles Embraces Change In The First Single of His Upcoming Album


“As It Was” broke Spotify’s record for the most streams in a single day shortly after its release. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Harry Styles ushered in a new musical era this week with the release of his single “As It Was.” After the extraordinary success of his sophomore album “Fine Line,” fans have eagerly awaited to see how the pop singer plans to follow it up. This single is the first song released off of his upcoming album, “Harry’s House,” to be released on May 20.

Styles remains authentic to his brand while also exploring a new sound in “As It Was.” Listeners have compared this song to the sounds of pop-indie artists like Dayglow and Wallows. Despite the sound of the song being very unique for Styles’ discography, he remains consistent in the emotional contemplation he aims to accomplish with his lyrics. 

“As It Was” may be a brief and upbeat song, however, the lyrics leave room for vast interpretation and meaningful reflection. It’s an emotionally vulnerable song that opens fans up to some of the struggles Styles has faced throughout his life and how they continue to impact him as he grows older. 

One of the clearest messages in this song is a commentary on how the divorce of his parents early in his life affected him and his sister. Lyrics such as “Your daddy lives by himself / He just wants to know you’re well” allude to the struggles of having a fractured family. In his confession, he opens himself up to sharing very personal experiences as a way to connect with listeners who may also have gone through similar situations. Vulnerability is not a new theme for Styles’ music, and it is clear that he wants to continue exploring the possibilities of emotional intimacy with his audience.  

Upon the announcement of his new albums, fans speculated that the title could be in reference to this album possibly being a quarantine project, as we were all stuck in our own houses. This points to another possible interpretation of the song, which is the disruptive and drastic changes that many of us were forced to undergo in our experiences with the pandemic. The decision to include the line “In this world / It’s just us” effectively acknowledges the universal struggles that have occurred in the past two and a half years. The song recognizes that many people have had to reconcile with the fact that life will never again be as it was. 

Similar to the song itself, the music video also contains a significant contrast in themes; the setting is very colorful and bright, but the content depicts an involuntarily dwindling relationship. Styles explores the crushing weight of nostalgia and yearning for a reality that no longer exists, as he is shown chasing after a woman that he’ll never be able to reach again. 

However, the video ends with a message of hope, demonstrating the ultimate freedom that comes along with accepting life’s transitions and trials. He begins the video wearing a plain red trench coat, but he eventually embraces the opportunity to strip down into something in which he feels much more comfortable and liberated. The video ends with him dancing back into the world in a red sparkly jumpsuit, eager to shed his worries about the past and look toward the freeing possibilities of the future. 

It’s not his most sonically experimental song, but broad attraction is a quality to be expected in a single for such a highly anticipated album. Styles fused a very appealing sound with profound and socially relevant lyrics. The result is a catchy summer anthem that commends the human capacity for emotional adaptation.