There’s a reason people love Harry Styles. The 28-year-old pop star recently had one chance — and one chance only — to step up to a microphone and sing just one song perfectly from start to finish, and how did he use it? To admonish all the toxic boyfriends of the world with a gorgeous acoustic performance of his Harry’s House track “Boyfriends.”
Appearing on the Japanese YouTube series “The First Take,” in which musicians step up to the plate to perform one song of their choosing without stopping, starting over, or editing the final product, Styles was joined by two guitarists and two backup singers for his newly released, harmony-filled ballad. He sported a string of thick pink pearls and a graphic T-shirt printed with a cartoon horse in the Monday (June 13) video, in which he stood alone at the microphone stationed in the middle of a blank white room.
“You’re no closer to him now you’re halfway home/ Only calling you when don’t wanna be alone,” he sang over a pair of soft, finger-picked guitars, before the instruments dropped out completely — leaving only Styles and his backup singers’ lush, a capella vocals.
As the performance concluded, the “As It Was” singer smiled to himself before thanking the offscreen crew in Japanese.
Styles has previously spoken about the personal significance of “Boyfriends,” one of the more emotional songs on his May 20-released third studio album Harry’s House, in which he questions why someone he loves is constantly mistreated by their male partner. “I think at times there are things that I’m, that have affected me that I’ve felt are more important to write about,” he told Sirius XM Hits 1 in May. “And I think songs like ‘Matilda’ and ‘Boyfriends’ and stuff like that is, you know, it’s just like being true to what I’m experiencing at the time and, and not kind of focusing on.”
The Grammy winner is one of few Western artists to have taken a shot at “The First Take,” something viewers praised him for in the comments. “This is really iconic,” wrote one viewer. “Not many of the current artists would have the confidence to go to The First Take. It’s THE ULTIMATE showcase. I am excited!”
“Hope this helps bring a new audience to this channel that might fall in love and appreciate Japanese music,” commented another, “And vice versa for people who might fall in love with Harry’s music!”
Watch Harry Styles conquer “The First Take” with his acoustic performance of “Boyfriends” below: