An in-Depth Analysis of Harry Styles New Music Video: “Golden”

When the “Golden” music video teaser was first dropped, little did the world of Harry Styles fans know what they were in for. The music video dropped at noon on October 25, allowing Harry Styles fans to escape their dreary Monday for the Amalfi Coast of Italy. A floppy-haired haired Harry running in a billowing white shirt down the streets of the coast is a lot more than many fans could ask for, but fans have found a lot more depth to the “Golden” video.

Harry went with his roots for this project, working with directors Ben and Gabe Turner from Fulwell 73. The same production company that had produced several of his other videos but, more importantly, a handful of One Direction’s music videos. Within an hour of the music video’s drop, the video garnered global attention, becoming the number one trend on Twitter in the United States.

Summer Field Photo by FelixMittermeier from Pixabay

The video opens with the thick block letters “Golden” appearing at the bottom of the screen and an unfocused image of the “Fine Line” star running through a tunnel. The soft music and image are brought to an abrupt halt with a “Hey!” accompanied by an upshift in music and a close up of Styles’ face. Suddenly all the paparazzi photos of Harry going for runs around Italy in the past few months make sense, he simply must have been training for the following shots in which he runs down the Amalfi coast while singing along to the video’s song.

The images then flip back and forth between clips of Harry running and singing in the now-iconic billowing white shirt and clips of him driving a convertible down the coast. Fans have speculated that the song “Golden” is a message to Harry’s past self. While driving the convertible, Harry continuously appears to be looking into his mirrors behind him. Suggesting he is looking back at himself chasing the car. A nod to his self-growth? Or else to the effort it took to get him to where he is today?

We then get some cutesy shots of Harry in a put-together ensemble complete with a necklace and light blue suit. He appears relaxed, singing along and subtly dancing at a lookout point of the road. Again, being juxtaposed with the more intense Harry we see in the video running down the coast. Another nod to the Harry he has worked so hard to become.

Then we get into what fans have established as the point of the whole video. Harry crouches over a body of water, singing to something that appears to be just below the surface. A perspective one could only say is a fish's viewpoint. This is the connection fans have made, leading to the trending hashtag of #wearethefish. The fish’s perspective we see in this clip leads fans to think of the “Adore You” music video. In the extended version of this music video, the story follows Harry taking on a character that is initially trying to drown himself until a fish in need of help grabs his attention. He then works to save the fish's life. Thus, the fish saved him just as he had saved the fish.

As crazy as Harry stans might sound saying the phrase “we are the fish” over and over again on social media, they are referring to the revelation that the “Golden” video has allowed them to tie all together. Fans for years have talked about how much Harry’s music has changed their lives. The fans being represented as the fish in the “Adore You” video, therefore means that the fans saved Harry just as much as they have claimed that he saved them. This theory that the fans are ‘the fish’ is only enforced by the idea that the album cover is taken through the lens of a fish-eye view camera. Additionally, there are multiple shots later in the video of Harry looking into what appears to be a magnifying fishbowl of some sort, parallel with shots of his body floating in the Amalfi water, furthering the theory.

So, yes, Ben and Gabe Turner directed a beautiful video filled with gorgeous aesthetic shots depicting a very happy Harry. But the video's greatest success is finally wrapping together the many clues of what the album is all about for fans.

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