Why Harry Styles’ Song “As It Was” is Perfect For Spring Quarter

I was lying in bed scrolling through Instagram on an average Wednesday when the announcement for Harry Styles’ new album “Harry’s House,” set to release this May, caused me to completely stop breathing. And if that wasn’t enough, just five days later, he posted the release for his new song, “As It Was,” which, ultimately, sent me into a state of cardiac arrest. 

Whether you’re an old fan still following along from his One Direction days, a newer fan just getting into his music now that he’s gone solo, or simply a fan of his funky fun outfits, you’ll

know that our boyfriend, Harry, never disappoints. And he sure as hell didn’t disappoint with his newest single, “As It Was”. 

Starting off with a fun and up-beat tune, this new song sucks you right in, making you want to embarrassingly dance while cleaning off your desk still cluttered with notebooks and essays from last quarter. But after listening a few times, and getting those dance moves out of your system, you really start to pay attention to the lyrics. And then that’s when he gets you. He gets you to let your guard down as he distracts you with his carefree funky tunes. Then, when you’re not looking, he reaches into your chest and rips your heart right out. 

At least that’s how it felt after I looked up the lyrics and started following along while listening. While there’s a lot of rumor going around that this song is about Olivia Wilde, Harry’s girlfriend, none of those rumors have actually been confirmed; even though it does seem that she was at least part of the inspiration for this song. Even so, the song still relates to a wide variety of people. 

After quarantine, the on-and-off surges of COVID, and the many other events, we can definitely say the entire world has gone through many changes. Some people went into quarantine with no bangs and no cats only to return with curtain bangs and a new kitten. And, yes, by some people I do mean me. Bangs and kittens aside, we’ve all endured life altering events that have changed us, for better or worse (although I do hope it was for the better). I can’t definitively say that this is how it was for everyone, but I know for myself that the past few years have been full of surprising changes; especially with graduation now being less than 3 months away.

So maybe this is just me being nostalgic as graduation approaches, but with the repeating lines: “In this world, it’s just us / you know it’s not the same as it was,” this song definitely contains major themes revolving around change. And what better time to talk about change than in the spring when the school year is winding down and the flowers are blooming. 

But it also captures the feeling of being left behind. The lyrics: “Holdin’ me back / gravity’s holdin’ me back” and “Ringin’ the bell / And nobody’s coming to help,” are easy to relate to, especially as students. While most of us have seen a lot of change these last few years, it was also easy to get stuck. With the continuous loop of never-ending piles of essays and readings, there have been times where I’d suddenly realize I haven’t left the house in a month, and this song understands that. 

Of course, there are a lot of ways to interpret this song. Maybe it is just about Harry Styles’ relationship with Olivia Wilde or the struggles of maintaining a relationship in general, but I also think it’s about more than that. It’s about feeling as though the world is moving faster than you can keep up, getting stuck, and all the changes we go through, which just so happen to be a perfect way of describing this spring quarter as we all reach the end of the school year and, some of us, approach graduation. 

As Harry’s voice comes on over my airpods for what might be the 12th time today, singing the line: “I don’t wanna talk about the way that it was,” I begin to reflect on who I was a few years ago compared to who I am now and realize I don’t want to live my life thinking about the past.

With spring quarter bringing us to the end of another interesting school year, this song reminds us to move forward and experience life as it is. Whatever that may bring, for those of us moving into post-college life.

Photo by Dim Hou on Unsplash.

2 thoughts on “Why Harry Styles’ Song “As It Was” is Perfect For Spring Quarter

  1. I totally relate with you, Summer! This is my go-to ballad right now, and each time I hear it, I remember my past self, and that change is okay. <3

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