This week, in an interview with Apple Music, Harry Styles mentioned a 1973 Japanese pop album, Hosono House, as a reference for his third LP, Harry’s House (out today, May 20th). It was the debut record from Haruomi Hosono, a dreamy, genre-fluid time capsule, and the sort of collection one might hear these days playing on vinyl as the soundtrack to an upscale daytime party in the Hollywood Hills.
Whether Hosono House acted as more of a sonic reference or just title inspiration, Harry’s House (which could also be seen as a nod to a 1975 Joni Mitchell tune), Styles has once again found himself a time traveler, shrugging on and peeling off ‘70s and ‘80s sounds.
Harry Styles announced his presence with a rock star rollout for his self-titled solo debut, and solidified himself as one of the most interesting and listenable pop-rock stars of the era with his sophomore, Grammy-winning entry, Fine Line. If, in those entries, he was trying on vintage aesthetics like he was looking for the perfect thrifted denim jacket, here he acts more as a prism, embracing and refracting artists like Prince (“Music For a Sushi Restaurant”) through his own comfortable lens.
That’s the core of Harry’s House, if the 13 songs and 41 minutes were to be distilled into one: it’s a peek into daily life, albeit a thoughtfully-curated one. Styles had described Fine Line as a record about having sex and feeling sad; Harry’s House, then, is a record about having sex, making eggs, and feeling pretty okay.
The international star has always seemed quite fixated on the passage of time in his solo work — “As It Was,” the current chart-topper that preceded the album, continued that very trend — and he continues to dig his heels in on tracks like the bright “Late Night Talking.” “I’ve never been a fan of change/ But I’d follow you to any place/ If it’s Hollywood or Bishopsgate.”
Styles is “in an LA mood” for what feels like most of the record, which is only fitting for his current stage of life. He’s entrenched himself in Laurel Canyon archives and attitudes, and has Hollywood buzzing almost as much over his burgeoning movie star billability as over his music.