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The Meaning Of Harry Style’s “Music For A Sushi Restaurant” Video Is Like, Actually Deep

So, I’m guessing you just finished watching the music video for Harry Styles’ “Music For A Sushi Restaurant.” And if you’re staring at your screen, haunted by the image of a bearded, cephalopod Harry Styles and wondering WTF did I just watch, you’re not alone.

The music video is weird. It’s not what we expected for this fun, upbeat song. And while it can be easy to watch Styles’ newest video and make memes about his tentacles, the meaning of the “Music For A Sushi Restaurant” video might go a whole lot deeper than that. Spoiler alert: it’s about the music industry.

I’m gonna put my film degree (my B.F.A., mind you) to good use here and break down the “Music For A Sushi Restaurant” music video from start to finish. From the tentacles, to the beard, to the outrageous concept, here’s what I think the meaning is behind this unique music video.

Let’s Break This Down.

The video starts with a shot of a man staring down at something on the beach. At first, we think he’s looking at this cute little crab. He calls (what looks to be) a seafood restaurant, and two men rush to the beach to meet him. It’s then that we see that they aren’t looking at this cute little crab — they’re looking at Styles. Oh, and he’s half squid.

The men are obviously astonished — I mean, how would you act if you saw a half-squid, half-British-man laying on a sandy beach? However, instead of leaving styles on the beach, or putting him back in the water, they throw him in the back of a truck and take him away.

Once Styles is at the restaurant, Gill’s Lounge, we see the employees taking pictures with him, much to his dismay. Styles looks uncomfortable as they pose with him, and begins to look frightened as he takes note of his surroundings: around him, the employees are cutting up different sea creatures, pounding them with hammers, and preparing them aggressively. Perhaps, Styles is thinking that this will be his fate.

However, once he starts to sing, the employees stop. The lights start flickering, and the employees are in awe of Styles’ talent. Instead of cutting him up, one of the men throws him a fish — kind of like a reward for his impromptu performance.

After this, Styles is clean-shaven and dressed to the nines. The owner of the restaurant looks thrilled as they pamper Styles: scrubbing his tail, taking glamorous photos with confetti, and waiting on his hands and… tentacles. Then, once Styles is prepped to become a star, the owner advertises for a live show starring Styles at the restaurant.

Finally, we get to the performance. The restaurant, unlike we’ve seen it before, is packed. People are paying lots of money to see Styles perform, drinks are flowing, and the crowd is absolutely loving it. And the owner is thrilled.

However, Styles loses his voice in the middle of the performance. He’s then reminded of where he is — in a seafood restaurant. He thinks about the other sea creatures he saw getting cut up and prepared to eat, simply because they weren’t deemed as “special” as him. And since Styles can no longer perform, he’s taken away once again. This time for good.

We don’t see what happens to Styles. But what we do see is an empty stage, tentacles being chopped up, and photos of squid sushi rolls. The restaurant’s name has also changed to “Gill’s Sushi.”

Styles is nowhere to be found — so we can assume that, if you’re ordering squid maki from Gill’s, it’s likely you’re dining on the tentacles of a former One Direction member.

And just like that, the video ends. Huh?

“Music For A Sushi Restaurant” Is About The Music Industry.

Now, it’s natural to just dismiss this fishy video as just another arthouse project by a superstar artist, created for shock factor. However, “Music For A Sushi Restaurant” could actually be interpreted as a commentary on the music industry.

In the video, Styles is this one-of-a-kind anomaly. The owners of the restaurant see him as a way to make money, possibly using him as a marketable “rare” fish. They take pictures of him, boasting about this miracle that they found. However, once Styles sings, they discover they could make money from him in another way: by keeping him alive and profiting off of his talent.

Much like in the music industry, the employees pamper Styles and shower him with attention. He’s lauded as being special, but only so the people who own (or represent) him can make money off of him. And up until the performance, Styles doesn’t know the consequences of what happens if you fall short — especially in this industry.

Once Styles makes a mistake, it all becomes clear: they don’t want him because they think he’s special, or they like him. They want him because his voice makes money. And if he loses his voice, the restaurant loses its income — just like artists and the music industry.

Even after they turn Styles into sushi, they’re still profiting off of him. This is similar to the way that the music industry continues to profit off of its artists after death and tragedy. Once Styles lost his status, he was disposed of. (But still in a way that allows them to make money)

The music video was also directed by Aube Perrie, who was known for directing the video for “Thot Sh*t” by Megan Thee Stallion. Like “Music For A Sushi Restaurant,” “Thot Sh*t” was also the center of conversation due to its outrageous visuals that were representative of a deeper meaning.

While the music video for “Music For A Sushi Restaurant” is weird, and even uncomfortable at times, that’s kind of the point. We should be uncomfortable when we talk about the treatment of artists in the music industry, even huge celebrities like Styles. The goal of music videos like these is to get people talking — and I’d say that this video definitely succeeded. BRB, going to rewatch the music video, again.

julianna (she/her) is an associate editor at her campus where she oversees the wellness vertical and all things sex and relationships, wellness, mental health, astrology, and gen-z. during her undergraduate career at chapman university, julianna's work appeared in as if magazine and taylor magazine. additionally, her work as a screenwriter has been recognized and awarded at film festivals worldwide. when she's not writing burning hot takes and spilling way too much about her personal life online, you can find julianna anywhere books, beers, and bands are.