Harry’s Room – Harry Styles ★★★

2022Harry’s RoomHarry Styles★★★59PopPop Rock

Harry Styles has gotten really good at making pop records that still feel like indie music, even though there isn’t anything indie about a former member of a boyband who puts out a few smash Top-40 hits every two years. 

The lyrics and concepts sometimes lack substance on Harry’s House, and are obviously catered directly to his audience and his fan’s demographics (calling a song “Music For a Sushi Restaurant” is something clearly for the obsessive playlist creators of the Instagram/TikTok generation). But it’s a charming performance, and the music and production is fun throughout. 

Upbeat moments like the opener, “Late Night Talks,” and “Daydreaming” use horns over dancy basslines and funky synths or guitar, inspired by the likes of Prince, Earth, Wind and Fire, and others.  “As It Was” is a quick indie-inspired  track with clapping percussion; soft, modulating indietronica keys; and some friendly, harmless electronic hints. 

“Daylight” is more laidback, with daydream-styled versus and some Tame Impala-influenced bursts of energy.  “Matilda” is your typical acoustic, personal sad-guy guitar ballad, but it works. 

Some of his classic softer tracks like “Grapejuice,” and “Boyfriend” fall flat for me here, or are a bit too directly corny for my taste, like “Cinema” and “Little Freak.” But the music is still pleasant enough, and they do give the album some variety. It’s the acoustic guitar and sometimes funky strumming on these tracks that allow Harry to keep that indie-pop vibe, even if the music is probably a lot closer to The Weeknd’s brand of pop than a lot of fans might be willing to admit. 

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