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Time to Get Watermelon Sugar High!

Harry Styles is back, and his two new singles, “Lights Up” and “Watermelon Sugar” did not disappoint. The 25-year-old singer first sent his fans into a frenzy when he tweeted “Do” on October 5, 2019. From there on, speculations on what the tweet meant centered around the hopes of Harry releasing new music. Fans who guessed the coming of new music were correct as five days later, on October 10th, Harry released the single and music video for “Lights Up.” Fans fell in love with the single and video immediately, and “Lights Up” became Harry’s best debut on Billboard’s Streaming Songs chart and the second-best debut start for a past or present One Direction band member. According to Nielsen Music, the song was streamed 21.5 million times by the end of the October 17th week

On November 13th, Harry announced he would go on tour in 2020 with special guests Jenny Lewis and KOFFEE. On that same day, he released the dates of his North American tour, and the presale began on Monday, November 18th. Fans soon stormed Ticketmaster, and tickets sold out so quickly that Harry added second dates. In Chicago, he originally only had one date, July 24th, but later added July 25th as a second date due to high demand. Even with second dates added, fans voiced their disappointment of not getting tickets due to presale codes not working and tickets selling out within minutes. Many have since tweeted Harry asking to add a third date. 

As of now, Harry has also released the date for his Europe tour in 2020, and on November 19th, he released the tracklist for his sophomore album titled Fine Line, which will be released on December 13th.

“Lights Up”

Lyrics: 

What do you mean?

I’m sorry by the way

Never coming back down

Can’t you see?

I could, but wouldn’t stay

Wouldn’t put it like that

What do you mean?

I’m sorry by the way

Never coming around

Be so sweet if things just stayed the same

(La-da-da-da-da)

 

All the lights couldn’t put out the dark

Runnin’ through my heart

Lights up and they know who you are

Know who you are

Do you know who you are?

 

Shine, step into the light

Shine, so bright sometimes

Shine, I’m not ever going back

Shine, step into the light

Shine, so bright sometimes

Shine, I’m not ever going back

Shine, step into the light

Shine, so bright sometimes

Shine, I’m not ever (oh)

 

What do you mean?

I’m sorry by the way

Never going back now

Be so sweet if things just stayed the same

La-da-da-da-da

 

La-da-da-da-da

La-da-da-da-da (oh)

La-da-da-da-da (oh)

La-da-da-da-da (oh)

 

All the lights couldn’t put out the dark

Runnin’ through my heart

Lights up and they know who you are

Know who you are

Do you know who you are?

“Lights Up” introduces us to a new Harry Styles, a happy, excited, and free Harry Styles. In 2017, Harry released “Sign of the Times,” an almost six minute rock ballad that would go on to capture the essence and sound of his self-titled solo album. With “Lights Up,” a track that is less than three minutes long, Harry switched up his sound with a psychedelic pre-chorus, guitars, drums, layering synth, piano, and a small choir. While most songs in his self-titled solo album were labeled as rock by most people’s standards, “Lights Up” is considered to fall under the genre of pop. However, when listening to the song, it is difficult to think of it as just “pop” because of the sounds it clashes and the emotional journey it takes us on which ultimately creates a song that sounds genreless. I, for one, think the song has Foster the People and Phoenix vibes. 

The song sounds even more indefineable when listening to “Lights Up” and watching the accompanying music video that features a bare-chested Harry among a group of sweaty women and men that sway around him as he sings. Since the single was released on National Coming Out Day, the song’s lyrics, while simple and short, hold a powerful message for those who are part of the LGBTQ community. As it has come to be known, Harry is an advocate for the LGBTQ community and has stood in solidarity with those who fight for equal rights, making use of the phrase, “Treat People With Kindness.” The music video alone has a boundless feeling to it as it is shot mostly in the dark and features various subliminal scenes such as the one with Harry on a motorcycle with his hands stretched out and red lighting shining on him. Other notable scenes include the one where Harry is submerged in pinkish water because this scene has the aesthetic appeal of the cover art from his first album. Lyrics like “I’m sorry by the way/ never going back now,” and “lights up and they know who you are/ know who you are/ do yo know who you are?” seem to be expressing the challenges of discovering one’s sexual identity. You may have asked yourself, what does it all mean? Well, that is up to every viewer and listener to decide. What I think we can all agree on is that Harry has created an artistic masterpiece worthy of our eyes, ears, and thoughts. 

“Watermelon Sugar”

Lyrics: 

Tastes like strawberries on a summer evenin’

And it sounds just like a song

I want more berries and that summer feelin’

It’s so wonderful and warm

 

Breathe me in, breathe me out

I don’t know if I could ever go without

I’m just thinking out loud

I don’t know if I could ever go without

 

Watermelon sugar high

Watermelon sugar high

Watermelon sugar high

Watermelon sugar high

Watermelon sugar

 

Strawberries on a summer evenin’

Baby, you’re the end of June

I want your belly and that summer feelin’

Getting washed away in you

 

Breathe me in, breathe me out

I don’t know if I could ever go without

 

Watermelon sugar high

Watermelon sugar high

Watermelon sugar high

Watermelon sugar high

Watermelon sugar high

Watermelon sugar high

Watermelon sugar high

Watermelon sugar high

 

I just wanna taste it, I just wanna taste it

Watermelon sugar high

 

Tastes like strawberries on a summer evenin’

And it sounds just like a song

I want your belly and that summer feelin’

I don’t know if I could ever go without

 

Watermelon sugar high

Watermelon sugar high

Watermelon sugar high (Sugar)

Watermelon sugar high (Sugar)

Watermelon sugar high

Watermelon sugar high

Watermelon sugar high

Watermelon sugar high

 

I just wanna taste it, I just wanna taste it (Woo)

Watermelon sugar high

I just wanna taste it, I just wanna taste it (Ooh)

Watermelon sugar high

Watermelon sugar

On October 22nd, Harry sent his fans on another craze-induced episode when he tweeted, “Kiwi walked so Watermelon Sugar could run,” and he was not kidding. “Kiwi” is a reference to a song he recorded for his self-titled debut album, and while we didn’t know it at the time, “Watermelon Sugar” became the second single from Fine Line. Many have since speculated about the title of the song and its meaning, especially since Harry repeats “watermelon sugar high” throughout the chorus, and the phrase is not a common one. After doing some research, it is highly plausible that the song is referencing a literary source and talking about his former partner, Camille Rowe, who once said in an interview that one of her favorite books is In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan. Although the couple broke up in July 2018, Harry said his new album would open up about his past relationships. However, Harry has not admitted that the title is an allusion to In Watermelon SugarInstead, new details emerged in an interview for Apple Music when interviewer Zan Lowe said, “[Watermelon Sugar is about] the joys of mutually appreciated oral pleasure,” and Harry responded in a cheeky manner with, “Is that what it’s about? Is it? Hmmm.”

Harry also revealed more details about the making of Fine Line in this interview, so if you’d like, you can check out the interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moIOVVEIffQ

After appearing on SNL on November 16th, Harry released the official audio for “Watermelon Sugar” and gave two beautiful and heart-felt musical performances. While “Watermelon Sugar” would also fall under the genre of pop, it’s use of trumpets, drums, guitars, and keyboards gives it unique layers that pull from other genres. In comparison to “Lights Up,” “Watermelon Sugar” is more upbeat and rhythmic. Many have found the irony of releasing a song about summer as we head into winter, but we should not be all that surprised because if there’s one thing Harry is not, it is conventional. 

If you haven’t already, I recommend checking out his SNL performances of both songs because the live versions offer a different sound from the studio versions. 

You can find these performances here:

“Lights Up” Snl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sOVLpZn3yA

“Watermelon Sugar” Snl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_bhvofXYf4

If you began listening to Harry when he was in One Direction, there is no doubt Harry has grown into his own person and artist. When seeing him perform, you can tell Harry is making music he feels passionate about and music that captures his authentic self. Fans have praised his two new singles and continue to show him support by constantly making him a trending topic on Twitter. People all over the world have fallen in love with Harry because of the things he does like including female members in his band, holding the LGBTQ flag during his concerts, and being comfortable with who he is when dressing in unique outfits and painting his nails. His fans surely remain excited for the release of his sophomore album and his upcoming tour, and while he is still young with a long musical career ahead of him, it is not too soon to celebrate him by saying: Harry is beauty, art, and love. 

Amy Hernandez is a senior at UIC pursuing a degree in English with a concentration in professional writing and a minor in Communication 
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