Harry Styles, Zack Tabudlo continue to unravel with beguiling releases

Cover art of Styles’ latest No. 1 single

In his second No. 1 solo hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart “As It Was,” Harry Styles makes a welcome departure from his catchy rockers.

The song, which is on its eighth nonconsecutive week on the top spot as we write this (after it was temporarily bumped off last week by Drake’s “Jimmy Cooks”), utilizes the guitar-fueled synth-pop sound of the ’80s to help sort out his thoughts on inevitable change and a shift in perspective.

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As Harry explained to Apple Music, one of the things he had to face during the pandemic was the realization that “you just can’t go backwards, whether that’s us as a people or me in my personal life. You learn so much in those moments.”


Using a clip from his goddaughter Ruby Winston’s voicemail in the song’s intro, the 28-year-old pop star admits the need for him to be more vulnerable and emotionally accessible after a period of isolation: “Harry, you’re no good alone/ Why are you sitting alone on the floor?/ What kind of 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.