Last week, Harry Styles released his first new single since his iconic 2019 pop album Fine Line. The upbeat nostalgic anthem As It Was quickly became a record-breaker as it rocketed to 21.6 million streams, becoming the most-streamed track in one day of 2022 and the most streamed song in the US in one day in Spotify history. The high-tempo dance hit clearly came out with a bang, or rather with a groovy beat, but does it live up to the hype and what hints does it drop for the rest of Harry’s upcoming album Harry’s House set for release on May 20?
Perfect summer track
Following in the footsteps of Brit and Grammy award-winning single Watermelon Sugar, As it Was is a pacy and catchy summery track perfect for that BBQ on the beach playlist you’ve wistfully started curating. Its synthy 80’s style riff marks a new dynamic chapter in Styles’ work, although it runs in stark contrast to the ambiguous bittersweet nostalgia of the lyrics, creating a strangely jarring yet cathartic sense of acceptance that things are ‘not the same as it was’.
While on my first listen I found the repetitive almost mantra-like chorus a little shallow and made for the radio, as the tune has crept into my playlists, I’ve begun to appreciate its ambiguity. Perhaps, through lyrics like “answer the phone, Harry, you’re no good alone”, As it Was reminisces how life has changed through the pandemic, or maybe it reflects on how after falling in love, you can never truly go back to who you were before you met that person. Either way, Styles, as always, throws a relatable edge or three into his song and combines autobiographical hints with a mysterious lack of detail.
In his video, Harry somehow styles out a Blades of Glory-esque red one-piece. Maybe it’s time for a new life-size cardboard cutout? The directors, Tanu Muino, and Molly Hawkin, create an aesthetic lyrical portrayal of breaking free from a toxic repetition, whether that be a job, a relationship or a mindset. This compliments the track beautifully.
As it Was is the perfect driveway to the upcoming album Harry’s House and hints at a funky yet intimate discography.