Categories
Scene

‘Harry’s House’ feels like home

There are moments in life that feel unsubstantial.

But then, there’s the 10-second countdown to Harry Styles’ “As It Was,” music video. Personally, I know at least 10 people who were eagerly awaiting its arrival. Styles’ new album “Harry’s House,” was not just an elevation of his personal musical journey, but a landmark in the unique soft rock-pop genre.

The album emits whimsical vibes, accentuated by effortlessly picked guitar and rhythmic beats that set the tone and enrich the rock aspect of the genre. From the beginning of the first track, “Music for a Sushi Restaurant,” Harry introduces a playful vibe by insinuating that sushi is a perfect date food option since it’s as complex and layered as his lover. Throughout the album, he transitions from puppy love to a deeper and more vulnerable romance. This dynamic is clear through two of the album’s tracks “Little Freak” and “Matilda.”

In “Little Freak”, Harry sings about the initial stages of the relationship where you don’t know a person well yet but are still intrigued by them. The song was beautifully written in a third-person perspective with lyrics like “tracksuit and a ponytail you hide the body all that yoga gave you” and “you never saw my birthmark.” The lyrics show how often people fail to see beyond the initial impressions of their romantic partners and end up jumping feet-first into a relationship. These misconceptions often result in broken hearts, and as Harry suggests, “broken ankles.” 

This is contrasted with “Matilda,” an acoustic pop song including soft guitar. Here, Harry is reflective, trying to work through ideas from previously strained relationships and generate feelings of acceptance. The title reminds me of the book “Matilda” where the protagonist was rejected by her family for being magical but her teacher, Miss Honey, eventually believes and accepts her. Additionally, “Matilda” largely struck a chord with queer audiences who felt seen and comforted with the ending “You could start a family who will always show you love.” 

In a way, I think this contrast showcases how Harry has stopped taking life too seriously. However, he’s clearly demonstrating growth from his previous Playboy celebrity persona to a more mature and sensitive artist. Particularly, his reference to being over “whites and pinks” — the signature color for Victoria’s Secret — shows that he’s done dating models. 

Now, he’s writing about his speculated girlfriend, American actress and filmmaker Olivia Wilde. In “Cinema,” he mentioned that he brings “pop to the cinema,” referring to their upcoming movie project “Don’t Worry Darling.” The Hollywood references continue in “Keep Driving” with references to a “black and white film camera.” Additionally, “Keep Driving” digs deeper into privacy problems the couple faced at the beginning of their relationship: As they “withheld clouds,” they just kept driving. 

With all of this media attention, he’s become increasingly aware of his fanbase. In “As It Was,” he playfully suggests that he “leave America” since his fans would like him to tour in places other than North America. (I stand firmly against this.) Regardless, it’s understandable he would miss his home in England. “Love Of My Life” is allegedly about the homesickness he experienced while touring around the world, ultimately reminding us that this is “Harry’s House” — and we’re just living in it. 

The former boyband member has managed to grow up. Through the exploration of his personal struggles, Styles has managed to make his house into a home. Despite this being his third solo album, he has managed to not lose his audience’s attention. We know he is going to continue outdoing himself with every album and surprising us with bops!

Album: “Harry’s House”

Artist: Harry Styles

Label: Columbia Records 

Favourite tracks: “Keep Driving,” “Grapejuice,” “Cinema”

Shamrocks: 5 out of 5

Contact Ananya at adalmia@nd.edu

Categories
Viewpoint

This time is yours

For 16 years, I’ve measured my life in school years.

Fall is an exciting fresh start, full of hope and promise. Winter is a halftime break. Spring is a time to wrap up and summer is a timeless in-between. It’s part of the reason I’ve always disliked spring. The trees and flowers may start to bloom and the sun comes out behind its permacloud, but the season is more so a period of goodbyes, endings and change. And sometimes, I don’t want to talk about the way that it was.

Freshman years are for learning names, sophomore years don’t matter all that much and when junior years roll around, there’s a feeling of superiority and independence that comes from being an upperclassman.

And then there’s senior year: the beginning of the end, the pinnacle of it all. 

College is a place where everyone here is in a different stage of their life, but also the same — learning more about the subjects that have always interested them, figuring out what they want to do in their life and taking leaps of faith toward the future.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I’ll measure the passing of time once I’m done with college. When everything you’ve ever known is different, what happens? But the thing about your four years at college is that it’s so much more than school. It’s living steps away from your best friends. It’s being no more than one degree of separation away from any student. It’s laying on the quad until 3 a.m. on a Monday night just talking.

For some people (read: me), it’s finishing up the newspaper at 4 a.m. so it can be distributed throughout the tri-campus. While The Observer is my college endeavor, everyone devotes themselves to their own passion in their four years here.

I spent the past summer living away from home for the first time. (Yeah, I’ve lived at Notre Dame for the past three years, but something about living in a small dorm room with your best friend makes campus feel a lot like home.) Living somewhere else made me realize that Notre Dame is an escape, for better and for worse. 

Here, days are measured in class schedules, lunch breaks, study sessions, parties, extracurricular meetings, on-campus jobs and walks around the quads. Weeks are measured by assignments, tests and time until mid-semester breaks. Then before you know it, fall turns to spring real quick. 

And a lot of the time, you get too caught up to think about it. 

As I spent most of the summer trying to decide what I wanted to say in this column, my mind kept going back to what I learned from a magazine writing class last semester taught by Kerry Temple. He talked about the importance of thinking time: time to mull over ideas and thoughts and time to figure out what you actually want to write, not what you write in the rush of the moment. He said he gets that most college students don’t have time to do this.

It hit me that he was right — I didn’t feel like I had the time to let thoughts, ideas and feelings simmer in my mind.

And that’s the advice I have for first-years. Give yourself time to stop and think. College is fun, but it’s more bittersweet and fleeting than you first realize. Measure it by the number of nights spent with friends, hours spent in a meeting for your favorite extracurricular and minutes of a home football game. The time is yours.

The views in this Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

A version of this column was published in our Aug. 19 issue.

Alysa Guffey

Alysa is a senior majoring in history with minors in digital marketing and journalism, ethics and democracy. Contact her at aguffey@nd.edu.