Former One Direction member Harry Styles released a single that can easily stay on repeat, and it’s called “As It Was” from his forthcoming album, Harry’s House. This song is a combination of synth and indie-pop with ‘80s vibes, and it seems to be about how Harry is changing after a breakup.
It’s fair to start with the obvious: This song is extremely catchy. And perhaps that’s because you can feel the introspection that’s happening as Harry processes what seems to be a breakup (“Holdin’ me back/gravity’s holdin’ me back/…Seems you cannot be replaced/And I’m the one who will stay”).
But that breakup, and the thoughts and processing that go along with it, the song gets vulnerable and depressing really quickly. Harry has someone tell him that he’s “no good alone” and wonders “what kind of pills” he’s on, as it seems he’s been alone and impossible to reach. And that’s because he has no desire to “talk about the way that it was” and would prefer to just move on.
That really seems to be the heart of this song, paired with a reference to drug abuse. But if you watch the video, there are a few other issues you should know.
Per Styles’ style (see what I did there), the track’s video is both ethereal and sexual and features Harry just out of reach with a lover the entire time. Harry sports painted red nails, a sparkling red jumpsuit and, at one point, takes off his clothes and is left in red boxers as other men crawl around in their underwear and women do the same, wearing their bras and underwear.
Although this scene isn’t the longest of the video, it does hold to the same sexual theme that Styles has produced lately.
Harry said on Twitter that this song “is about metamorphosis, embracing change and former self, perspective shift and all that kind of stuff.” There is truth to this, yes, but it’s also vulnerable and it highlights Harry’s sexuality, along with a potential drug problem.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).