Fans were gifted with a new single off of Harry Styles’ new album Harry’s House titled “As It Was” which then ushered in a whirlwind online because of one lyric in particular: “Go home, get ahead, light-speed internet, I don't wanna talk about the way that it was. Leave America, two kids follow her, I don't wanna talk about who's doin' it first.”
No, at first, might seem harmless. But paired with Styles’ video and the very public relationship status he shares with actress and director Olivia Wilde and it makes sense why fans are suddenly trying to connect the song to Wilde’s past relationship with Ted Lasso star Jason Sudeikis.
The song wasn’t just written by Harry Styles though. It was also written by songwriters Thomas Hull and Tyler Johnson so keep that in mind as we’re talking about this. Now, could it just be a lyric in the song without being anything deeper than a mother in America? I guess but it is telling that he’s with Olivia Wilde, an American actress/director who does happen to have two kids that she and Sudeikis co-parent.
But why bring up the maybe origin of “As It Was”? Because it’s Harry Styles continuing a rock n roll tradition that has been going on for decades (and one that Taylor Swift has also done that people love to shame her for). That tradition is writing songs about your very public relationships and the drama there within.
This isn’t a new practice and given the kind of music that Harry Styles loves, bringing his very real relationship and story into his new album would make a lot of sense. Let’s look at this through the history of one of Harry’s favorite bands: Fleetwood Mac.
One of Fleetwood Mac’s biggest albums to date is arguably Rumours. The album was a break-up that spawned from Stevie Nick’s relationship with Lindsey Buckingham, a pairing that did result in one of the greatest break-up songs of all time in “Silver Springs” which was ultimately not included on the album because the band deemed it too sad and instead added, “I Don’t Wanna Know” instead.
All this is helping reinforce my point that even if there is still a lot we don’t know about the break-up of Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde or the beginning of Styles’ relationship with Wilde on the set of Don’t Worry Darling, Harry Styles brings all of that into a song like “As It Was” isn’t exactly unheard of.
The problem is that many fans don’t really appreciate the connection to Sudeikis, even though he was with Olivia Wilde. I get it. I do. It’s hard but when you think about it, Taylor Swift was also very open about her relationships and the songs that came from them and while she rarely admitted to who the songs were about, we all sort of knew. Think about “All Too Well.” We never were given full confirmation that it was about Jake Gyllenhaal and yet no one has fought that assumption and it isn’t exactly the most positive thing about him.
With “As It Was,” it’s rumored to be a song about Harry’s relationship with fame and he has admitted to the song being about his personal life but there are no specifics there, with the exception of his goddaughter Ruby Winston, talking to Harry in the beginning.
What all this means for us as fans though is that Harry Styles is doing what musicians have done for years. Carly Simon famously did it with “You’re So Vain” and we all have our theories about who it is about. Again, Fleetwood Mac wrote songs about each other, and musicians have just constantly made a career out of writing songs about their relationships. Remember Beyoncé’s Lemonade? It happens.
So the anger that instantly blossomed for the fans of Sudeikis/Wilde/Styles and everyone involved was understandable but also isn’t something new for fans to think about. Art is, often, an expression of self and while that self can get complicated with fame, it isn’t so simple as just writing a song about love because everyone knows who you’re writing it about.
Anyway, as both a fan of Jason Sudeikis and Harry Styles, this feels like when my parents got divorced but somehow worse. Watch “As It Was” below and make your mind up for yourself:
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Rachel Leishman is a writer based in New York City. She specializes in yelling about her favorite properties. A real-life Leslie Knope, she loves her fictional characters and knows probably too much about Harrison Ford's career.