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Two sides of current music: 'Harry’s House' vs. 'American Heartbreak'

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Harry Styles

Harry Styles performed in Long Island at a release party for his third studio album "Harry's House." 

Forty-seven songs, two genres and a whole lot of emotions mark this double album release on May 20. Zach Bryan and Harry Styles both release fantastic albums on the same day and shake up pop and country music fans alike. 

For the last two weeks, people have been listening nonstop to one of two albums, Harry’s House or American Heartbreak. Both Styles and Bryan release amazing music and it’s hard to compare two different genres of music so that’s not really what I’m doing here. I’m here to give you a glimpse into the two types of music lovers right now: the Harry’s House lovers and the American Heartbreak lovers.

We’ll start with Styles’ Harry’s House. Opening with a fun and straight forward song that basically screams pop music is “Music for a Sushi Restaurant.” Styles knew that this was how he wanted to open his third solo album. 

“It became really obvious what the first song should be based on what you play for people when they’re like, ‘Oh, can I hear a bit of music?’” Styles told Apple Music. “It’s like, how do you want to set the tone?”

The album continues to be an upbeat, groovy album with electronic tones. Styles wants people to view the album less like a geographical location and more as a state of mind—his mind. 

“Imagine it’s a day in my house, a day in my mind,” Styles said. “What do I go through? I’m playing fun music. I’m playing sad music. I have doubts. I’m feeling stuff.” 

What I love about Harry’s House is that Styles has kind of stepped away from the need to be exciting and moved more toward a true pop singer-songwriter with this album. It’s real and feels like something that will establish who he is as a musician. 

Now, as much as I love Harry Styles, growing up in a small Oklahoma town will always make me a country music fan first. Zach Bryan is one of my favorite red dirt artists and as much as I love Harry’s House, American Heartbreak has to take the cake for me. 

This 34-track album is one of the biggest releases in country music in a while. With enough songs to make three separate albums, the Oologah native has given us a raw and honest work that will stand the test of time in the country music world. 

Bryan imagines an album full of bull riders, long-lost lovers and wandering highway boys, telling the stories over simple, stripped arrangements and an emotionally charged voice that rivals that of Tyler Childers and Jason Isbell. 

“There’s plenty of characters on American Heartbreak—some of them I know, some of them I don’t,” Bryan tells Apple Music. “Sometimes I’m just in a breakfast place and I see someone doing something and I’m like, ‘It’d be crazy if that person was a bull rider.’ And then I’m like, ‘Oh wait—that would be a cool story.” 

The album highlights the massively successful song, “Something in the Orange,” which sparks with longing and brooding heartache. My personal favorite track “Ninth Cloud” is a slightly more produced track than Bryan’s usual work, but nonetheless teaches us that in order to reach cloud 9 and to experience life to the fullest, you first have to go through some tough times. 

One of the most unique tracks “This Road I Know” is more of a poem that Bryan speaks as an acoustic guitar plays in the back. The track is raw and real and made me tear up the first time I heard it. He makes references to many other tracks on the album including “Something in the Orange.” It is a beautiful and unique piece that I wanted to highlight. 

Bryan made an album that holds some of the most well-crafted lyrics I’ve heard in a while. There was not a single skip track on American Heartbreak, and it will continue to be a success as Bryan heads on his second tour.