Harry Styles’ new album Harry’s House charms music critics
Harry Styles’ hotly-anticipated new album Harry’s House has been praised by music critics for its “abundant charm”, with “really well-crafted pop songs” and “moments of absolute beauty”.
The Times called it the next step in the former One Direction star’s “frankly remarkable reinvention”.
It is “a masterclass in becoming a credible artist without alienating the hordes of formerly teenage fans who made you a pop sensation in the first place”, Will Hodgkinson wrote – but said its lyrics are its weakest point.
“Where Styles does fall down, in comparison to the rock and pop greats, is in the lyrics,” he wrote.
The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis described the lyrics as “canny – though perhaps not especially deep”.
However, that did not stop him declaring in a four-star review that “every song feels like a single”.
It is “a mature third album” that “majors in sounds evocative of the mid-80s”, Petridis wrote, naming Prince and Steely Dan as comparisons on some tracks.
Elsewhere, Rolling Stone described Styles as “a Mick Jagger for our more enlightened age”.
Writer Jon Dolan said: “He’s pulled off the neat trick of making his music at once elegant and more refined but also warmer and more intimate.”
The Evening Standard agreed that Harry’s House has the “potential to reaffirm Styles’ place at the top of the hit-making pile, primed for summer dominance in all its funked-out swagger”.
It is “in the most part, a compelling release”, Jochan Embley wrote in a four-star review. He also described it as “the most unconventional collection of music he’s released so far”.
The opening track Music for A Sushi Restaurant “could have been taken straight from an Eighties J-Pop record”, he wrote, but added that there were “hooks aplenty” on some tracks and “quieter, acoustic moments” on others.
‘Very little bite’
iNews picked out Robbie Williams and Justin Timberlake as comparisons on new Styles tracks, writing: “It’s almost a relief to hear him settle into himself, to try sounds and ideas that go beyond a teen’s record collection in the 70s.”
However, Kate Solomon’s three-star review added: “A casual listener might find their attention slipping away on all those smooth, rounded edges.”
It is “a clever and enjoyable record”, but she concluded that, on a deeper level, it has “very little bite”.
Metro was sufficiently enchanted was sufficiently enchanted to award another four stars, with critic David Bennun writing: “Were this album any more charming, you might dissolve in its presence”.
He wrote: “Harry and key accomplice Kid Harpoon have refined their winning approach of reliving the soft-rock and adult pop Seventies in the anything-goes 21st Century.”
Bennun added: “Harry’s House never drags, never wheedles. It has just the right amount of air in it. Its gentle tread puts not so much as a pinky toe wrong. If its predecessor, Fine Line, was a nicely confected cream puff, this is an artful soufflé.”
Harry’s House, which takes its name from a track on Joni Mitchell’s 1975 album The Hissing of Summer Lawns, will be released on Friday.
Meanwhile, Styles has become the latest star to sign up to read a CBeebies Bedtime Story. He will read Jess Hitchman’s In Every House, On Every Street, which is illustrated by Lili la Baleine.