‘Harry’s House’ Food References and Lyrics Review

The “Watermelon Sugar” to “Music for a Sushi Restaurant” pipeline.
Photo: Harry Styles/YouTube

I like Harry Styles, as far as celebrities go. We can do a lot worse. Styles is affable in the press, he’s hot, and he’s an item with Olivia Wilde in a very sexy boy–actor girl–director relationship (one of my favorite kinds of relationship). Does he desperately need to watch this video by comedian Caleb Hearon? Yes, it would clear up a lot of annoyance. Other than being all ambiguous for clout, Styles seems cool. His solo music, however, has never moved me. Where One Direction achieved, in my mind, the best possible version of their chosen genre (boy-band pop), Styles’s attempts at funk are lacking and sound to me more than a little like easy-listening music. And that’s okay! Easy-listening music is good. Enya lives in a castle for a reason (the reason being that Orinoco cash flow, baybee). Styles’s solo work is, to borrow a phrase more commonly associated with a different ex of Taylor Swift, perfectly fine. Harry Styles’s third solo album, Harry’s House, debuted last week, and it’s really quite nice. The pop tracks are alternatingly playful and dreamy, all swirling around the album’s halfway point–slash–high point, the lovely ballad “Matilda.” As I’ve listened, though, I’ve noticed something:

My guy has a lot of lyrics about food. Drinks too. Drugs also. Those second two things are pretty expected in rock or pop songwriting, but lyrics about food run the risk of being more silly than sexy. The tracks on Harry’s House go both ways. They’re entwined in vignettes of dates, late nights, and early kitchen-counter mornings with a love interest. I’m single, and I’ve been single for one million years, and want to judge these lyrics on their merits. To do so, I ate and drank my way through every food and beverage reference on the album, treating myself the way Styles treats whoever it is he’s singing about, which is probably Wilde. I’m just sticking to those and not the lyrics about gummies, coke, and pills, because apparently it’s against company policy to expense drugs. In the sensual spirit of Harry’s House, let’s rate the album based on how it tastes.

Something on this table gave me hives (Dye in the Starburst? Cooking oil? I’ll never know).
Photo: Rebecca Alter

In this track, Styles starts out silly, doing some “scooby-dooby-doo” jazz and evoking an intimate night at a sushi restaurant, feeling playful and horny across the table from someone he could “cook an egg on.” Because hot. I went to a sushi restaurant at the very unromantic time of quarter to one and ordered fried rice and green tea, along with two pieces of sashimi because even though Styles doesn’t call out any type of fish or roll specifically, sushi’s in the name of the song. The thing about this song is that the really good, authentic sushi restaurants don’t serve fried rice at all, so I went to one that was just so-so, one where I couldn’t ever picture Olivia Wilde. I tried to look for “blue bubblegum” but only found pink, although I did twist it on my tongue after the meal as a palate cleanser. “Ice on rice” is a lyric that confused me (just more scatting, methinks), but at the very least I ordered ice water and tried to keep a cube in my mouth while I ate a bite. Toward the end of the track, Styles muses, “If the stars were edible, and our hearts were never full, could we live with just a taste?” The closest I could come to edible stars were Starburst. Also, the green tea never came. The song mentions “coffee on the stove,” but you’ll be seeing that in a later entry because there’s a lot of coffee mentions. How sexy was the meal? Not terribly. For one, the sushi restaurant had no music to speak of. And later that day, at my desk, I broke out in hives from something I ate.

As for the lyric “you’re sweet ice cream, but you could use a flake or two,” what our dear lad Harry is referring to is a 99, or 99 Flake, which is British for “vanilla soft-serve cone with a Cadbury Flake in it.” I do not know why this is called a 99. I don’t even know how I know any of this. What I do know is I popped into six stores near the McDonald’s in my area and couldn’t find a Flake, so I settled for normal chocolate. Then I went into McDonald’s … and the ice-cream machine was broken.

Between the skin condition and the failure, I cannot in good faith give this song a good ranking. Thumbs down.

Good at photography
Photo: Rebecca Alter

I used Kedem grape juice for this, because that’s what’s used in lieu of “a bottle of rouge” at the Passover kids’ table, and so I was able to kill two birds. Also, I was really hung-over and didn’t want to have “a bottle of rouge.” No gettin’ through those grape-juice blues.

Tasted like childhood. Thumbs up.

Note: I forgot to take a picture of the honey, so here is a very scary video of a human-size Winnie the Pooh puppet on a honey rampage that’s more upsetting than the new Pooh horror movie.

“If I was a bluebird, I would fly to you. You’d be the spoon, dip you in honey so I could be sticking to you,” I sang to myself in an empty apartment eating a spoonful of honey. Reminded me of my own loneliness.

Thumbs down.

Photo: Rebecca Alter

“Red wine and a ginger ale,” a combo I do not recommend, oh, at all. “Little Freak” is right.

Thumbs down.

Decent, but it could be a bit more “avenge father save mother kill Fjölnir.”
Photo: Rebecca Alter

Tea and toast, a nice contemplative breakfast for a nice contemplative song. Felt very British, but also the toast was very boring, so I doctored it to be more Nordic because the night before, I saw The Northman (see below).

Viking mode.
Photo: Rebecca Alter

Thumbs up.

This is the cringiest song on the album to me, and when Styles sings, “I bring the pop to the cinema,” I don’t know if he means soda pop, popcorn, or a euphemism. I think euphemism, but I only had popcorn. I really did dig Alexander Skarsgård’s cinema, though, and they played the trailer for Don’t Worry Darling before the movie, which made this all hit very close to home.

Thumbs up (for the song and the movie).

He mentions egg yolks but not eggs, so I separated them, please clap.
Photo: Rebecca Alter

“Maple syrup, coffee, pancakes for two, hash brown, egg yolk, I will always love you,” Styles sings. “Someone’s seen Phantom Thread,” I think. The diner I went to didn’t have hash browns so it wasn’t a total success, but sitting across the table from a picture of Styles on my laptop, I could definitely imagine we had snuck out for breakfast.

Remember what they took from you.
Photo: Rebecca Alter

Also learned how to use a moka pot to honor the lyric “moka pot Monday.” I do not trust people whose coffee tool of choice is this. Mug choice is a nod to Harry being the sexy green M&M of One Direction.

Despite that and the hash-brown lack, thumbs up.

Why did I do this? Don’t do this.