“As It Was” Wasn’t As Expected

Bella Inman

Unexpectedly, on March 23 Harry Styles announced that his third solo album titled Harry’s House will be released May 20, 2022. Soon after, on April 1, he released a single called “As It Was.” 

With all of Styles’ previous 10 singles and eight music videos winning multiple awards, there were high hopes for this single to live up to the quality of his past work. When the clock hit 7pm eastern time on April 1, some fans were quick to click play on the music video. 

In contrast to his previous music videos, the video for “As It Was” appears to be more abstract with underlying meanings sprinkled throughout the scenes. 

The main setting of the video is a large open room with a rotating circular platform in the middle. Styles is wearing red articles of clothing throughout the video, and there is a woman dressed in blue who appears in most scenes. Junior Kiannah Streepy, who has been a fan of Styles’ since 2012, says, “this song reminded me more of his first album than his second, and I liked that.”

The clothing the characters in the video are wearing is one of the first pieces of symbolism. The red Styles is dressed in represents his own personality, while the blue represents feelings of sadness and loneliness. 

Styles and the woman walk on the platform, both with blank expressions, occasionally passing each other and exchanging hugs or touching hands. 

Further into the video, Styles takes off pieces of his red clothing until he’s only in red shorts to approach the woman in blue, representing loneliness taking parts of himself away from him. In this part of the video he sings lyrics like “Harry you’re no good alone,” further demonstrating his isolation changing him for the worse.

By the bridge, Styles and the woman are separated by metal bars. This is when the tone of his character changes. Styles begins to frolic and freely dance throughout the rest of the video, redressed in a full red outfit. 

He has set himself free from loneliness by accepting himself, and not trying to take off his red clothing. 

The title line of the song is “You know it’s not the same as it was,” which at first seems to be relating to a relationship he’s left with a woman. But, listening closer to lines like “I want you to hold out the palm of your hand” and “Your daddy lives by himself, he just wants to know that you’re well” describe Styles’ struggles with mental health. “I’m surprised he talked about mental health,” Streepy says. “I feel like he doesn’t usually discuss these topics.” 

“The song has an upbeat tempo, I feel happy when I listen to it. The lyrics at first didn’t sound happy but as I listened more I understood the meaning more,” Streepy says.

 “As It Was” is a celebration of being free from feelings of loneliness, and it gives hope to listeners in the same position.