“During the same month that “one and only” was spotted on his journal (mere weeks after he wrote JALBOYH) Harry also got the rose tattoo and also tweeted multiple anti-marriage lyrics. It was just pouring out of him. This poor boy couldn’t contain his feelings at the time, having to watch the Zerrie PR circus and being powerless to stop it or tell the world how much he loved Zayn.”
PAGE ONE: Songs 1-3 (2013)
PAGE TWO: Songs 4-7 (2014-2015)
PAGE THREE: Songs 8-13 (2016-2017)
PAGE FOUR: Songs 14-15 (2018-2019)
It is my belief that the vast majority of Harry’s songs (written over the course of the past 10 years) contain lyrical threads that if interpreted properly weave a tapestry, which depicts a long-running affair that consumed his adult life. Call me crazy, but I do. And one lyric he wrote recently seemed to validate my ongoing theories to that end. I love Fine Line so much. It’s. Just. So. Unabashedly. Real.
Yah. This lyric seems to indicate Harry has been writing about this person for much longer than one album (meaning it ain’t about Ms. Rowe.) It is beyond triggering and he delivers it with a spirit of defeat. As though it’s futile to even try to hide the fact that he is writing about this person so obsessively. Although he may feel weak as a result of this admission, there is power in Harry’s vulnerability—and I must admit, for this reason, his music is deliciously fun to unpack.
Now we can all keep beating around the bush, or we can just stfu and face the fact that we know who he is talking about. Rather conclusively, only one person seems to fit all of Harry’s songs on a highly specific level. I’m not just saying that because I want it to be true. The proof is in the pudding and I’ve been trying to demonstrate this fact since I started analyzing their songs. Harry has been rather open about who he loved all along. He has been writing about Zayn since he was 18 years old, but since this is a rather inconvenient fact (when it comes to Zerrie and Zigi and all Harry’s public girlfriends) people choose to ignore it.
The main songs I will discuss (BRIEFLY) to illustrate this theory are:
- Happily *
- Something Great *
- Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart *
- Where Do Broken Hearts Go *
- Stockholm Syndrome
- Someday Maybe
- Made In The AM explored here: Track-By-Track
- From the Dining Table
- Meet Me In The Hallway *
- Sweet Creature
- Sign Of The Times
- Ever Since New York
- Not So Typical Love Song *
- Fine Line explored here: Track-By-Track
(*) Indicates I will go a bit more in depth on these select songs.
1 – Happily
“Happily” is where we get our first true taste of Harry’s songwriting skills outside of his group efforts. No other 1D member wrote on this song (or any of the other songs listed above.) Why is “Happily” so important? Well, it’s our first glimpse into the mind of Songwriter Harry Styles, and an introduction to some of the undisclosed things troubling his life at the time.
“Happily” was written for 1D’s 3rd studio album, Midnight Memories. Harry is attributed with having written the song that solidified 1D’s ability to write their own music (not just accepting what was given to them by producers.) Harry was quoted in 2015 saying it was: “the first song that we felt like we had real ownership over.”
You don’t understand, you don’t understand
What you do to me when you hold his hand
We were meant to be but a twist of fate
Made it so you had to walk away
The first verse alone sounds questionable. We see here one of the earliest indications that Harry has been in a relationship with someone who is in another relationship with a third party. The notion that they were “meant to be” shows what Harry felt for them was profound enough to feel pre-destined. He furthers that notion, or maybe even directly contradicts it (a mishap of amateur writing which shows authenticity) when he says “But a twist of fate, made it so we had to walk away.” It would now seem they in fact were not “meant to be.”
Surely “a twist of fate” is a metaphor for circumstances in their lives that precluded their being together. That language interests me because what exactly could’ve taken place to deter their relationship? It certainly provides much license for speculation. What we do know is that Zarry seemed to have a tumultuous on and off again relationship, with all evidence supporting the idea that it began sometime in late 2011 and intensified from there on.
I don’t care what people say when we’re together
You know I wanna be the one to hold you when you sleep
I just want it to be you and I forever
I know you wanna leave
So c’mon baby be with me so happily
“I don’t care what people say when we’re together, you know I want to be the one to hold you when you sleep.” This lyric indicates on some level Harry and his lover feel their relationship might be shunned by the public if they were ever seen together. (Oh you know, sort of like a same sex pairing between male bandmates.) “I just want it to be you and I forever.” Seems to fall in line with the previous lyrics referencing fate and destiny.
If we take this song at face-value and don’t assume it was a story fabricated for creative expression, then Harry seems to be fully gone for this person and believes it is a love worthy of his lifetime. For him to be so moved by this person at that age shows it was not just a fleeting affair.
“I know you want to leave, so c’mon baby be with me so happily.” What we know about this lyric is that Harry is indicating his lover has a desire to leave. Leave what exactly? Certainly he doesn’t mean leave their relationship, since Harry has indicated they already walked away because of a “twist of fate” and his lover is already with another person.
Therefore, this lyric can be taken one of two ways in my opinion. Harry could be indicating that this person wants to leave the relationship with the third party, and so he is inviting them to later come be with him so “happily.” Or Harry could be indicating that this person wants to leave some other situation they are involved with, which could also be interpreted as the band if the song is about Zayn.
There is video evidence of Zayn admitting he always wanted to leave the band from the first year, and that he only stayed for the fans (**cough and Harry cough**) and there is also video evidence of Ed Sheeran mentioning Zayn had left the band multiple times in the past before doing it officially in 2015. I imagine this is a situation Harry struggled with for a while, trying to convince Zayn not to leave.
It’s four a.m. and I know that you’re with him
I wonder if he knows that I touched your skin
And if he feels my traces in your hair
Sorry, love, but I don’t really care
These lyrics show Harry’s unabashed possessiveness, jealousy, and vindictiveness (something that will become a running theme in all of his music; such as in JALBOYH, “Woman,” “Cherry,” and TBSL. I can’t imagine the ferocious state-of-mind one must be in to write lyrics like these, but I think we can all agree it demonstrates just how passionately he felt for this person, so much so that he was willing to be with them while they were in a relationship with another person. Notice anything??? Harry has written songs outlining that exact same dynamic for YEARS, and his torment has only increased. You can even find songs that express a similar sentiment in Fine Line from 2019.
2 – Something Great
This poignant 2013 song is from the same record as “Happily,” and it also lists Harry as the principal writer.
One day you’ll come into my world and say it all
You’ll say we’ll be together even when you’re lost
One day you’ll say these words I’ve thought but never said
You’ll say we’re better off together in our bed
The first lyric that stands out at me is “you’ll say we’ll be together even when you’re lost.” For me this sentiment evokes the idea that Harry’s lover is often conflicted, and that whenever his lover is unsure of himself or at a difficult place in their own life, they tend to shut Harry out.
(Oh gee, none of that sounds familiar at all. That sure doesn’t sound EXACTLY like Zayn trying to maintain an on/off again affair with Harry at his own convenience despite Harry always longing for more, while also being in a long-term relationship with a female public-facing. Oh darn that isn’t the case at all.)
Then I’m struck by this: “You’ll say we’re better off together in our bed.” It seems that despite Harry being unable to be with this person full-time like he desires, he still has an established relationship with them; enough to say “our bed” instead of “my bed.”
I want you here with me like how I pictured it
So I don’t have to keep imagining
Come on, jump out at me, come on, bring everything
Is it too much to ask for something great?
This just shatters my heart, because seeing someone as powerful and desirable as Harry Styles resorting to imagining being with the person he loves because he is being denied a normal relationship is ugh. The way he was so ready to go all-in with Zayn early on speaks volumes. It establishes that he has always longed for the same thing: to be with the person he loves beyond their illicit affair. This seems undeniable.
The script was written and I could not change a thing
I want to rip it all to shreds and start again
One day I’ll come into your world and get it right
I’ll say we’re better off together here tonight
We see the first inklings of Harry’s self-deprecating habit of blaming himself for anything that goes wrong in his relationships, whether it’s true or not. “One day I’ll come into your world and get it right.” He feels obligated to get it right, which means in his head he is the one getting it wrong. This sounds so much like Harry’s fear while writing his first album, where he insists he just didn’t want to get it wrong so he played it safe. It also sounds like his acute performance anxiety during the band days where he would obsess over not messing up to the point where it made him sick and he would vomit before most shows. 🙁 In his mind, it is always up to him to get everything right.
People are so accustomed to Harry being adored that they don’t realize this adoration is hard-won and comes at the cost of a great deal of anxiety. Just like Zayn, he has experienced crippling anxiety that left him physically ill, but he is so passionate about performing that he pushes through it. Remember, Zayn was originally the one poking Harry’s cheek to get him to calm down because his stage fright and fear of messing up was so extreme. It must be a nightmare having to deal with anxiety while the world is insisting you can’t have struggles because you’re white and popular.
Then, the most damning lyric in this verse is “The script was written and I could not change a thing.” Here Harry seems to imply some of the circumstances in his life are beyond his control, and it makes him feel as though he was given a script or a pre-arranged role to fulfill. We certainly see elements of this notion throughout his life in regards to his public image and the direction of his PR (the clean-cut boyband image, limited freedom in fashion choices and hairstyles, the cheesy music assigned to them before they wrote for themselves, the string of fleeting model girlfriends for Harry.) It’s easy to see why he would write a lyric like this, and he even explores some of those same sentiments of playing a scripted role in “Lights Up.”
3 – Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart
This song has a spectacular backstory. Ariana Grande said in an interview (6:18 in the video below) that she met Harry at a studio when he was in LA on tour (Early August 2013) and the producer (Harry’s friend) asked if Harry wanted to write something for Ariana on the spot. Harry did so, and the song was later recorded and released by Ariana on her 2014 album My Everything.
Later in 2017 when Harry was on the first leg of his solo tour, he began covering JALBOYH as a part of his setlist, which would continue into 2018 until the tour ended. Harry was quoted on multiple occasions while introducing the song, admitting that he wrote it and gave it to Ariana, but now he was taking it back because it “meant a lot to him.”
Right away I know the lyrics in this song are probably among the rawest and most authentic we have ever gotten from Harry, since it was written on the spot (presumably with no prior conceptualization.) For that reason, I believe it’s safe to assume these are sentiments Harry might have been feeling at the time the song was written, since they were evoked on the spot. And they’re simply too heartfelt and SAD for them to be the result of creative fabrication. We can be assured of that because of all the many songs he has written that are unreleased or ended up in the hands of another artist, he chose to reclaim this particular song from Ariana and add it to his tour setlist.
I personally believe he added songs to his debut album setlist because the songs were all written about the same relationship (and therefore the same person) and he wanted to memorialize them in that way. They all tell integral parts of his music journey, but also the tribulations of his relationship with the love of his life. And I’m positive he was also inspired to sing “Stockholm Syndrome,” “If I Could Fly,” “Anna,” “Medicine,” “Landslide,” “Still The One,” “Girl Crush,” and “The Chain” for that same person as well.
What’s especially significant about the timing of when JALBOYH was written, is that it was during the exact time Zayn got engaged to Perrie (August 2013.) And lord don’t we know at that time Harry was openly anti-Zerrie and abhorred the idea of their engagement. In my mind, it’s clear what impelled Harry to write the lyrics he wrote on a whim that day for Ariana. He was seeking an outlet for these emotions and realized that giving this song to Ariana was the perfect vehicle for him to vent since he could use the correct pronouns to refer to his love triangle with Zayn and Perrie. That’s my theory! The lyrics are straightforward as hell, so I will not dissect them ad nauseum like I usually do with everything else, except to talk about how they are a play on Adele’s “One And Only.”
One day in late 2013, Harry was spotted walking with a rather worn journal, and the internet had the brilliant idea to zoom in on the book to read the text written on the outside of it. Oh boy…
Yes, I hunted down my own proof that the “one and only” text on Harry’s journal was not an edit. It is indeed real.
Type Into Google: Harry Styles In Adelaide (September 22, 2013)
We know Harry was deep in his feelings about Zayn at this time, and the evidence regarding Zayn’s engagement heavily supports it. It is incontrovertible evidence that he was deeply aggrieved by Zayn’s engagement to Perrie in late August, and the fact that I continue to point this out pisses off people who like to demonize Harry and victimize Zayn at all costs.
During the same month that “one and only” was spotted on his journal (mere weeks after he wrote JALBOYH) Harry also got the rose tattoo and also tweeted multiple anti-marriage lyrics. It was just pouring out of him. This poor boy couldn’t contain his feelings at this time, having to watch the Zerrie PR circus and being powerless to stop it or tell the world how much he loved Zayn.
This is also the month he posted the spraypainted metal box.
I suppose you’re still wondering: what is the significance of Adele’s “One And Only”? I’m glad you asked! Please note the play on words:
This is not just some lyrical coincidence. Harry is alluding to Adele’s song on purpose, and his journal scribblings around this time prove that. He identified with this song so potently that he wrote the lyric on the outside of his journal!
IMPORTANT CONTEXT: Adele’s 2011 song is about her pleading to the person she loves to be given a chance to prove she is worthy of being with them. It is incomprehensively sad! 🙁 THIS SENTIMENT ESSENTIALLY EMBODIES HARRY’S ENTIRE DISCOGRAPHY. “I’m hoping someday you’re open. I know that you’re scared because I’m so open.”
He has WANTED to be Zayn’s “One And Only” for so long and was never really given a chance. How many times have I said that? A MILLION. How can Harry cheat on Zayn when he was never given a chance to be with him without other parties involved??
That’s why I have no sympathy for anything Zayn says about being “hurt” when he has always kept Harry in second place and refused to communicate despite Harry begging him to, thereby causing the core issues in their relationship, which affected things like trust, fidelity, honesty, expectations, and both of their mental health.
Harry then went on to beg for even a little piece of Zayn’s heart, mirroring Adele’s bridge where she admits she knows it’s NOT EASY giving up one’s heart. Harry is qualifying Adele’s sentiment by saying he only wants A LITTLE BIT of his heart, because he knows he can’t ever have the whole thing (because of his gender.) Wow. Ouch.
Regardless of what went on behind the scenes, it is perfectly clear from all publicly available information that Zayn has taken Harry’s love for granted for a long time, especially since he HAS ALWAYS BEEN IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH ANOTHER PERSON while admittedly trying to keep Harry on the “down-low.”
This idea of Zayn taking Harry’s love for granted is something we can see Harry toy with when he also wrote a lyric from The Thrills “Not For All The Love In The World” on his journal just like “One And Only.”
The Thrills’ song is basically about being rejected by the person you love because they are taking the significance of that love for granted (because they clearly don’t understand love or how valuable it is.)
So, baby, let’s split tonight
I got a tank full of gas to light
Yeah, we could drive for miles and miles
But you just said
“Not for all the love in the world
Oh, not for all the love in the world”
‘Cause she didn’t realize, now, that’s a lot of love.
Just to make you all more miserable, contrast Harry writing “one and only” on his journal in 2013 after he had written JALBOYH (and after Zayn had got engaged) to him utterly forfeiting this long-fought battle in Fine Line in 2019: “You don’t have to say you love me, you don’t have to say nothing, you don’t have to say you’re mine…” He literally gave up on those things.
The reminder of JALBOYH just stings:
I don’t ever ask you where you’ve been
‘Cause I don’t feel the need to
Know who you’re with
I can’t even think straight
But I can tell
You were just with her
And I’ll still be a fool, ’cause I’m a fool for you
This reveals such a tormenting dynamic that greatly mirrors the lyrics in “Happily.” Harry continues to sit back and watch his lover be with someone else while he is crumbling inside with jealousy, and trying not to give his lover stress about who he’s been with (because he doesn’t want to lose him) and he is happy to play the fool for this person despite how unhappy their escapades make him, because he loves him so much.
So hopefully now you see why I say, to infer Harry cheated on Zayn at anytime in their relationship is to admit that Zayn has been WRONGLY holding Harry to an UNFAIR double standard of fidelity, because we SEE and KNOW Zayn has always done what he wanted with WHO he wanted, even outside of Perrie, Gigi, and Harry.
I don’t ever tell you how I really feel
‘Cause I can’t find the words to say what I mean
And nothing’s ever easy
That’s what they say
I know I’m not your only
I’ll still be a fool
‘Cause I’m a fool for you
“I don’t ever tell you how I really feel, ’cause I can’t find the words to say what I mean…” Here Harry admits to not being able to fully express himself properly because he can’t find the words to do so. I think this can be taken two ways as well:
- He struggled to tell Zayn exactly how he felt for him (which is something we know he started to overcome in 2014 during the “Little Things” performances.)
- He was afraid to confront Zayn about him being with other people, because he can’t find the words to do so confidently, and likely because he’s afraid he would lose Zayn if he tried to make demands on him. This is why we see Harry capitulate again and again on a level no human being should be forced to if they are actually in a loving relationship, which I feel Harry never was. He was playing the fool for someone, like he himself admits.
I’ll take “Things You Should Never Have To Say To Someone Who Claims They Love You” for $600, Alex:
I know I’m not your only
But at least I’m one
I heard a little love is better than none
PAGE TWO: Songs 4-7 (2014-2015)