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The Earliest Bird: Top New Recorded Release, 4-1-22 – 4-7-22, Harry Styles “As It Was” Reviewed

Since leaving One Direction, Harry Styles has emerged as the great pop star who in a Gen Z moment handles his huge fame as an avatar of modern male masculinity: there is nothing toxic about him, rather he is as inclusive a representative of enlightened thought as Disney promises it will become. In Harry’s world, in Harry’s live performances, he has emerged as a non-binary, secure, handsome, superhero. He treats his fans the way his ex-Taylor Swift treats her, just brimming with love and affection.

I’ve seen Harry solo three times, the last time earlier this year, and as a solo performer he arrived fully formed, and as a singer songwriter he has moved from classic rock to hard-boiled mix and match soft rock and on the superb new single, “As It Was” he tackles the 80s synth and beats it. Written with usual suspects Kid Harpoon and Tyler Johnson, it is a beautifully crafted synthpop with zero pomp and as for the video… From Rolling Stone: “‘It was filmed in London by Ukrainian director Tanu Muino. As she says in a statement, “Shooting him was bittersweet, as it was one of the happiest days of my life, but on the second day of the shoot, my country Ukraine was invaded, so you can imagine the insane emotions we had while shooting. Me and my team from Ukraine poured so much love into this video, and you can see it onscreen.””

A beautiful song about romantic insecurity with a bridge so great it is a breathtaker, you could loop that bridge and make a whole new song and it would be outstanding.

But it is odd that what may be our only sane popstar is so insecure, so stilted by his emotions, and the song seems to be happening in two time periods, the children asking Harry to say goodnight to him are a stand-in for Olivia Wilde’s kids, and the joy is there but before it’s over he is taking pills and crying on the floor.

“As It Was” is possibly Harry’s greatest moment, a deeply felt beauty and a huge hit, it might be the best song of 2022.

Grade: A

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