Named after a song on Joni Mitchell’s The Hissing Of Summer Lawns and sorry, no not “In France They Kiss On Main Street” but, obviously, “Harry’s House/Centerpiece”. Odd because although Harry Style’s is a documented Joni fan, Harry’s House is a 80s style synth pop album with only the final two songs on the album, “Boyfriend” and “Love Of My Life” mining the 70s style Laurel Canyon vibe of his sophomore album, 2019’s Fine Line.
The 41 minute album is a major pop stroke and while Harry can’t give us another “As It Was”, it maintains the highest lever of songcraft on track after track as he leaves behind the gentle lover of One Direction serial monogamist (to a degree, Styles fans are still rabid women and girls) and re-directs himself to a serious romance with a celebrity actress/director and her two children.
Is it really any surprise that the “treat people with kindness” brand awareness that has become Harry treats his fans so tenderly (here), handling the crazed tweens, teens, twenties and beyond with a mix of absolute cool and happy friendliness. Harry’s Place manifest this attitude as biographical as the most self-referential of rap stars, as Kendrick’s Mr. Morale And The Big Steppers, but his sweetness bleeds over track after track on this gorgeous middle of the road achievement.
Lead by the potential single of the summer, “As It Was”, the album is a set of disco-y, inevitable, hits, cowritten and coproduced by usual suspects Kid Harpoon and Tyler Johnson, the r&b horns explode on opener “Music For a Sushi Restaurant” and the dreamy and gorgeous new love “Late Night Talking” is an exercise in maintenance. The third song “Grapefruit” is uber-soul vibe ,later “Matilda” is off subject, a girl leaving her family behind, has a finger picked acoustic gentleness,
But Harry loses his place with the final three songs and ends up being just as good as his first two albums, and while it peaks higher than “Two Ghosts” and “From The Dining Table” from the eponymous debut, it isn’t quite as consistent.
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