‘As It Was’ welcomes excited fans into ‘Harry’s House’
Two years after the release of the critically acclaimed “Fine Line,” Harry Styles returns with “As It Was.” On March 31, Styles released the debut single from his upcoming third studio album “Harry’s House,” slated for a May 20 release date.
“As It Was,” accompanied by a music video release, marks a new direction for Styles. His 2017 self-titled debut album was rock infused, while “Fine Line” found Styles exploring a more synth-heavy and bigger sound. “As It Was” strips all of that back, and Styles’ voice becomes the main focus of the lighter, poppier track.
“As It Was” clocks in at just 2:47, following an industry-wide trend — Hot 100 hits are getting shorter. According to a recent Ostereo study, the average chart leader in the United Kingdom dropped in total runtime by more than 1 minute since 1998.
The light production and short runtime make “As It Was” appear primed for a classic summer radio mega-hit.
On Heart Radio, Styles confirmed that the young girl’s voice, which mysteriously opens “As It Was” with “Come on Harry, we want to say goodnight to you,” is his goddaughter Ruby Winston.
“[She] got a streak of calling me every night before bed, and I missed it once, and she wanted to let me know that she was quite angry with me,” Styles said.
Driving percussion and Styles’ signature high pitched croon mask the song’s darker deep lyrical themes about change and personal growth. “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?” highlight the difficulties that fame and success brought to Styles’ personal life.
The chorus continues these melancholy themes with Styles singing, “You know it’s not the same as it was,” amid the song’s infectious instrumental. The hook, though only sung twice, quickly gets stuck in your head after just two listens.
In the hit music video, Styles wears vibrant red nails to match his V-striped sequined and red jumpsuit and displays his striking butterfly tattoo prominently placed across his chest.
Fan theories include the idea that Styles is a butterfly, always carefully observed, examined and picked apart by the media and fans. Though it may seem far-fetched, scenes from the music video find Styles laying on the ground among large metal pins.
The morning after the song’s release, Styles appeared on BBC’s Radio 1 Breakfast with Greg James to promote the new single and give insight about the upcoming album. “As It Was” was the last song that Styles said he wrote for “Harry’s House” and was written in the countryside an hour outside of London.
“[As It Was] is about embracing change and losing oneself, finding oneself,” Styles said.
Though it is clear that “As It Was” will undoubtedly play an essential part in soundtracking the summer of 2022, the album, or at least a few of the 13 tracks, will hopefully showcase Styles venturing in more experimental directions, with songs that beautifully highlight his impressive and expansive vocal range.