Harry Styles is on some hippie-finding-himself shit at the moment, and lucky for us! His first new song and video in two years is a gorgeous, soulful bid for self-actualization, and a trippy queer-ish fever dream just in time for National Coming Out Day.
The "Lights Up" video — shot with the cinematography of a movie drug scene — sees a sweat-slick shirtless Harry being caressed by crowd of all genders. Both men and women grab at him, grind on him and and kiss his neck. It looks like a modern update to orgy scene in the Hair... as we know, Harry is addicted to the '70s.
Later in the artful, video, he wades into a lake in a sparkly jumpsuit, rides on the back of an mysterious companion's motorcycle, and hangs upside down staring at his reflection.
Harry's long experimented with gender-fluid fashion and hinted at being queer. But given that the song dropped on National Coming Out Day, fans have already dubbed it a "bisexual anthem" and are taking "Lights Up" as Harry's official word on the matter.
Of course, given "Lights Up"s self-probing lyrics and promo campaign about self-acceptance — yesterday Harry unveiled the website DoYouKnowWhoYouAre.com, which inserts your name into a graphic that says "X, you are [insert nice adjective... I got warmhearted]. Love, H" — the all-inclusive orgy feels like it's a part of a larger message about finding yourself.
"Lights up and they know who you are/ Know who you are/ Do you know who you are?" Is Harry's mantra on the song's chorus. On the bridge, he finds resilience in his new identity "Shine, step into the light/ Shine, so bright sometimes Shine, I'm not ever going back."
The song, as promised, also has a melancholy edge to it. "All the lights couldn't put out the dark/ Runnin' through my heart" Harry sings achingly, over the looping, psychedelic guitar and piano track. The sound turns back towards pop after Harry's '70s rock-inspired debut, but not all the way. "Lights Up" has a soulful, enigmatic airiness and R&B groove reminiscent — which sound vintage thanks to the choir singing back-up on the chorus — of a poppier Frank Ocean track.
We would be remiss not to mention that the video is also full of fashion! Although much of it is wet and/or damp in the video, thanks to Harry's whimsical, tripped-out ventures into various bodies of water. Harry, a Gucci muse, rocks several custom looks from his pal Alessandro Michele, as well as baby blue cinch-waisted suit by the inimitable Harris Reed.
It's a well-visioned showing from Harry, that shows his willingness to experiment within the world of pop, get vulnerable, and push forward in his evolution from the One Direction days. Hopefully, we can expect more of Harry's inner monologue and bare chest on HS2.
Photo via YouTube