Why Harry Styles Matilda is his heart’s masterpiece

Harry Stiles He knows how to make you feel at home. Harry’s houseHis third and best album, Creates a welcoming pop. Harry’s house It is a place that invites you in, sits you in the kitchen, cooks you pancakes and hash browns, opens a bottle of wine, serves gum and foods, and then takes you to the garden to hear your whole life story.

It is a perfect place to spend an hour. But the centerpiece of the album is “Matilda,” a true heartbreaker, an acoustic guitar song about a person learning how to build a new life after a traumatic past. It’s a new climax for Harry – one of the most emotionally powerful songs he’s ever performed. He wrote “Matilda” with Amy Allen (who also co-wrote “Adore You”) along with his trusted lieutenants Tyler Johnson and Kid Harpoon. It comes in the middle of the album, surrounded by a glossy pop flair – a deep breath of the song. He listens to Matilda telling this heartbreaking story, and replies, “No need to regret leaving and growing.”

last fall at home Harrywin Bash dress, he told the audience, “I feel great – dHey do you feel great? good! Now we will sing a sad song.” It could be a mission statement for h h. The album is spent mixing sweet dreams, dance-pop with quiet ballads like “Little Freak” and “Boyfriends,” dancing the areas between having sex and feeling sad. But like all of his records, it rewards close listening over time. Matilda goes deeper when you live with her for a while. I’ve been a fan of Styles for a minute or two, but this is a song that exceeds all expectations.

Harry’s house It explores the idea of ​​a home, and how a home is something you make as you progress, and build from your emotions and memories. It’s a theme he’s always sung, from “Sweet Creature” (“Take Me Home”) to “Canyon Moon” (“I’m Going Home”) to “As It Was.” But after a pandemic where A fine line Become a soundtrack as well as a healing sanctuary, it’s all about finding and creating new types of homes, wherever you are, and taking your loved ones every time you go away.

in deluxe h h Box version, it even has an engraving from the great transcendental poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. It’s from his 1836 essay “Nature”: “Every soul builds itself a home. And beyond his house is a world. And beyond her world is paradise. Know then that the world exists for you…so build your own world.”

Matilda is the story of a person trying to build his own world. It starts with childhood memories of a kid riding a bike, trying to pretend her pain “isn’t a big deal.” But as she develops, Matilda tells her tale of family trauma, and perhaps abuse or abandonment. It’s a song about listening to someone else’s pain, respecting them, and being sad about not being able to protect them from them. The “house” here is a trap full of nightmares, but the singer believes Matilda will move in and create her own home. As he says, “You can leave it / You can throw a party full of everyone you know / And not invite your family.”

at Zane Lowe’s interview This week, Harry discreetly discussed who inspired the song. “They revealed to me some things that were a lot like ‘Oh, that’s not normal,’ he said. ‘It’s easy to mistake, in this particular case, as ‘normal behaviour.’ This person was just beginning to recognize his shock. Harry tells Lowe what he’s trying to say: “I want to support you in some way. But I don’t have to make that for me, because it’s not my experience. Sometimes it’s just about listening. I hope that’s what I did. I wish you would just say, ‘I was listening.'” to you.”

The line that never fails to ruin me is when Harry sings, “It’s time / Make tea and toast.” On one level, she appears to have entered his kitchen to visit. But given that she’s just starting to come to terms with her past, instead of grieving that it took so long, or mourning the years she’s lost, “You’re on time” is a poignant affirmation. It is never too late for her to find her home. It’s just in time. It’s tough because Harry simply tries to be a respected witness to Matilda’s pain, without letting his own shocking or sad reactions get in his way. He does not want to impose himself on her novel. He just wants to listen. It’s a delicate balance based on respect and empathy, which is why it’s so hard to get songs like this right.

When you return to the rest h h After “Matilda,” everything goes deeper, even ballroom-pop celebrations of love, sex, wine and food. This album should set some kind of record for breakfast content. (Any artist can grow Easter eggs in their album, but Harry gives real eggs.) So A fine line It was “soup, sex, and sun salutations.” Harry’s house It is sushi, a side dish, and spilled beer.

He’s always been fascinated by the gaps in the way we communicate – this is the guy who started his solo career singing, “We don’t talk enough / We have to open up.” It is in the “satellite”, similar to the distance between the beloved and the beloved: “I can see that you are alone there / Don’t you know I’m here?” Or the misleadingly titled song “Little Freak,” where he purrs, “You never saw my mother-in-law.” “Little Freak” is such a change that sends you to “Matilda” unguarded, which is the only way to experience that song. (Don’t think for a moment that this guy doesn’t care about geek details about curating his albums.)

The title of the album might conjure up “Joni Mitchell,” But as Lowe said, he’s inspired by 1970s Japanese rocker Harumi Hosono, from the prog legends of Yellow Magic Orchestra. He made his solo debut in 1973 Hosono HouseStyles’ favorite, taped to his bedroom. But the music rises on the rock he adores. There’s a song with guest guitar from fellow bandmate Grateful Dead: “Cinema” has John Mayer, whose day job is to play Jerry Garcia’s solo with Dead and Co for 10 minutes. The spirit of Paul McCartney is everywhere, from wings at the speed of sound Grape Juice’s walk to the “Keep Driving” way evokes Paul and Linda’s journey in “Two of Us.”

But everyone on this album is looking for their home. shine on Harry’s house That’s what he has to say about him is yours Emotional residences, not him. As Ralph Waldo Emerson says, it’s about “self-reliance,” but it’s also hard to define yourself with what you love, and to disconnect from social media and other distractions. (She preaches, Ralph Waldo: “It doesn’t matter what bats and bulls think.”) That’s why Matilda ended up being the star of the album. She is building her own world, even if she is doing it alone. She is Harry Styles at his deepest, most emotional, and artistically ambitious. And that’s what makes Matilda a victory.