Harry Styles’ wildly successful record Harry’s House is unquestionably the former 1D member’s most musically adventurous to date. Several commentators have spotted 80s RnB influences such as Price and Ray Parker Jr or likened his sound to the indie rock of the noughties.
But, in an interview for Apple Music, Styles cited a lesser-known 70s prog record as an influence – one that inspired the album’s title.
The album in question is Hosono House, released in 1973 by Haruomi Hosono, a prolific Japanese musician who went on to form Yellow Magic Orchestra with Ryuichi Sakamoto and others.
But can we detect any early 70s Japanese prog in Harry’s House?
Let’s first look at genres. In this area, the AI-generated metadata agrees with those commentators that say Harry’s House sounds like your favourite 00s indie band. The genre make-up is mainly indie and indie rock.
It’s unquestionably a sonic departure from his previous two solo LPs. The most common genre tags for his 2019 album Fine Line were pop and folk, while Harry Styles’ eponymously titled 2017 record was predominantly folk, rock and alternative rock.
And this license to explore musically comes from his close relationships with his production team, who have remained a constant since his solo debut. Co-producer Kid Harpoon has worked with indie stalwarts Florence + The Machine, HAIM and Years & Years. So the measurable lack of current pop aesthetic can likely be traced back to this influence.
And, if you were to look only at genre make-up, you might assume the record sounds nothing like Hosono House. In stark contrast with Harry's House, the 1973 album has folk, blues, indie rock, funk, and many other sounds.
Capturing the mood
But when we look at moods, we find a surprising symmetry.
Harry’s House and Hosono House share the same top four mood tags: relaxed, romantic, happy and quirky.
This correlation is interesting because it is a different mood make-up from either of Styles’ previous albums, which lean more heavily on powerful and romantic moods.
It tells us that even though Styles’ new music is fundamentally different from Hosono House, the prog record perhaps had more influence than just the album title.