Debunking speculations of the album being about a certain female Hollywood director.
By Mahi | @hlouishome
With the release of Harry Styles’ third studio album, Harry’s House, one question that the public would want to be answered is when exactly did Styles start working and writing the songs to his “by far most intimate” album. Consequently, the answer to this question will play a big role in debunking the speculations. Even before the album was released to the public, reviews have been pouring in, praising Styles’ artistic and lyrical approach to Harry’s House.
As expected, reviews have made it clear that the songs from Styles’ newest album revolve around the notion of love and intimacy. Thus, many have speculated that some songs are about a certain female Hollywood director for an upcoming project with Harry Styles and Florence Pugh. From articles such as the Vulture states that, “[w]hile Harry remains mum on the subject of his relationships, this album does not,” to live interviews like Howard Stern, who assumed that Cinema was written for the female director as they “fell in love in a movie set.”
As a no stunt myself, I was very much upset that many were relating and assuming that songs like Cinema, Music for a Sushi Restaurant and Late Night Talking have something to do with the female director in any way. Hence, I will lay down a timeline in which Styles wrote Harry’s House based on the interviews he had done during the promotional period.
Now, before we proceed on debunking all of these statements by the media, it is important for us to first acknowledge the beginning of the dating rumour. It is said that they began dating during the filming of a movie about virtual reality, which would have been around September 2020, and by the end of the same year, rumours of the movie director and her fiancé splitting started spreading. Styles and his co-worker would later be seen together in January 2021 at a wedding event with another co-worker of his.
Just recently, on the 17th May 2022, an interview of Harry Styles with Zane Lowe was released. In this interview, Styles talked about many things, including when he started working on his third album. One of his songs, Boyfriends, was written right at the end of Fine Line, which means that Styles already started working on his third immediately after his second album. He later mentioned that he experienced the pandemic in “4 chunks”, the first was him stuck in LA, “doing absolutely nothing” for 6 weeks. He then started writing after the pause and booked a studio, back in Shangri La. Styles moved back and forth from LA to his home in England multiple times, most likely because of work.
Another chunk of the pandemic was during early 2020, when travelling was allowed. He shared to Lowe that he drove to Italy with a friend and drove back alone. Styles spent a couple of weeks by himself, stating that, “I felt present in a really long time… felt like no one knew where I was… felt like a human being… felt very small in a really nice way.” This is worth mentioning because it is very likely that he worked on the songs during this time, when he felt more like himself.
Further into the interview, Lowe asked Styles if Cinema, Daydreaming and Satellite were written during the 3rd or 4th chunk of the pandemic. Styles answered very clearly that, together with his friends, they had these moments out, and he did a lot more writing on his own, taking stuff in gradually. Which means he would get together with his friends, write two songs in a day, and get together again, another day to write three more songs. He also mentioned briefly that the original voice notes he had of the song As It Was, was a rather devastating “death-march” than the pop-synth version we dance ourselves to every day since it was released. So, it’s not difficult to believe that he had multiple voice notes of the songs for his third album, long before he began filming for the virtual reality movie.
Besides the obvious timeline, another way to debunk these media speculations is to observe how Styles answers any question regarding who his songs are about and is it really about that female Hollywood director?
Howard Stern’s interview is one of the many that shows how Styles would tend to dodge the questions, by giving unrelated answers. After a short preview of the song Cinema, Stern immediately assumed that it was written for Wilde because of the correlation of her being a movie director. Stern then asked Styles, “When you write a song like this about your girlfriend… How do you present it to your girlfriend?” Which would be a relatively easy question to answer. However, Styles replied with, “When I write songs, it starts off mine… It’s important to write from what you’re going through at the time and trying to turn life into what you make.” Yeah, he did not answer the question.
Another interesting part of the interview is when Stern asked, “When you’re making a movie, it is easy to fall in love… Isn’t it the easiest to fall in love in a movie? You fell in love on a movie set?” In which Styles responded with a deep sigh, before saying, “How to answer this question?”. Now, I would be lying to you if I said that didn’t make me laugh. Again, a very simple question that can be answered easily. Yet, Styles stated that he had a wonderful experience being directed by Wilde.
“I think, like, obviously acting is kind of very uncomfortable at times, you have to trust a lot. Being able to trust your director is a gift. That was very helpful, and it really meant for a nice experience working on that movie.”
Even Gawker thinks an answer like that is a bit weird, and you can even consider that “they are being paid to be in a fake relationship with one another to drum up publicity for a movie not out for another four months still.”
Evidently, it is clear that Styles’ third album is not about that female Hollywood director. Based on the timeline and how he answers clear-cut questions, he just does not want the album to be associated with her. Then, who would he rather it be associated with? Well, in an interview with Audacy Music, Styles stated that:
“The album is very much, in a lot of ways made by all of my friends, whether they played the part on the actual making or recording of the album or not, I don’t think I could’ve made this album if it wasn’t for my wonderful friends, it’s very much a dedication to them”
Styles was in a place in his life where he was able to feel comfortable and free enough to be who he is, made music he wanted to make, all because of the environment his friends have created for him. This “friends” narrative has been consistent since the Zane Lowe interview, and it’s clear that Styles wants Harry’s House to be associated with them instead of her or anyone else for that matter.
It also had me thinking about the coordinates which we received before the album release. The coordinates ended up being pop-up shops for Harry’s House, but near one of the coordinates, there is one peculiar café in Paris. Chez l’Ami Louis, Our friend Louis. Very subtle, Styles. Now, there is a lot to unpack when discussing the “You Are Home” doors and tweets, but that’s for another article. For now, stream, Harry’s House.