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What Harry Styles’s ‘As It Was’ Song Lyrics Mean


Marvel Cinematic Universe god and occasional singer Harry Styles has deigned to grant the lowly earth with a new single: “As It Was”, the first track from his forthcoming third album, Harrys House. After making fans (literally) go in circles with a turntable teaser earlier this week, “As It Was” has officially hit the internet with a predictably ecstatic splash: The music video, which features Styles cavorting to synth-pop trills in a scarlet sequined jumpsuit, had 371,000 viewers in the waiting room when it premiered at 7 p.m. EST tonight. Add in the fact that Styles removes his shirt over the course of the video, and we’re predicting not only record-breaking video viewership—but the crème de la crème of thirst memes.

Still, as fans quickly deduced on Twitter, the song appears to not be about the female orgasm, as was the case with “Watermelon Sugar.” Instead, the upbeat synth-pop bop “As It Was” takes a confessional, even melancholic perspective. Similar to the more introspective songs on his album Fine Line, “As It Was” probes Styles’s own image, and particularly his conflicting feelings around the stardom he’s amassed—the kind that might make mental health, not to mention romance, a challenge. This is a subject Styles seems poised to address often in his new album, which he announced would arrive on May 20.

Of course, fans were quick to catch on, theorizing that the song loosely references Styles’s girlfriend Olivia Wilde; the Don’t Worry Darling director’s name started trending on Twitter minutes after the song’s release. Many listeners fixated, in particular, on lines that mention “two kids” and “leaving America.” (Wilde has two children with ex-husband Jason Sudeikis.) But don’t expect any confirmation of inspiration on Styles’s end: As the singer told Dazed in November 2021, he’s “tried to compartmentalize my personal life and my working life.”

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Apart from new music, Styles has enjoyed quite the glittering year: Whether gyrating his hips on Harryween, filming My Policeman with Princess Diana, or dropping his beauty line Pleasing—which saw Londoners lined up for hours outside the city’s Shroom Bloom pop-up store—Styles seems to bring a technicolor touch to any project of his choosing.

“There was a time when I was younger, and I was in [One Direction], when I would have been afraid for everything to have stopped,” the artist recently told Dazed. “I didn’t necessarily know who I was if I wasn’t in the band. Now, the idea of people going, ‘We don’t like your music any more, go away’ doesn’t scare me. I think there was a time when it did. It gives me the freedom to kind of go, ‘Great!’ I’m not working from a place of fear. I’m working from a place of wanting to work stuff out, and try different things.”

Read the full lyrics and watch the “As It Was” music video below.

Come on, Harry, we wanna say “Goodnight” to you

Holdin’ me back
Gravity’s holdin’ me back
I want you to hold out the palm of your hand
Why don’t we leave it at that?
Nothin’ to say
And everything gets in the way
Seems you cannot be replaced
And I’m the one who will stay, oh-oh-oh

In this world, it’s just us
You know it’s not the same as it was
In this world, it’s just us
You know it’s not the same as it was
As it was, as it was
You know it’s not the same

Answer the phone
Harry, you’re no good alone
Why are you sitting at home on the floor?
What kinda pills are you on?”
Ringin’ the bell
And nobody’s coming to help
Your daddy lives by himself
He just wants to know that you’re well, oh-oh-oh

In this world, it’s just us
You know it’s not the same as it was
In this world, it’s just us
You know it’s not the same as it was
As it was, as it was
You know it’s not the same

Goin’ home, get ahead, light speed internet
I don’t wanna talk about the way that it was
Leave America, two kids, fall in love
I don’t wanna talk about who’s doing it first

Hey!
As it was
You know it’s not the same as it was
As it was, as it was

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