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The Mass Media

Fans discover new Harry Styles album through online clues

UMass+Boston+student+Jackie+Tucker+sits+in+her+dorm+on+Wednesday%2C+March+30%2C+2022.+She+catches+up+on+some+old+Harry+Styles+in+preparation+for+the+%26%238220%3BHarry%26%238217%3Bs+House%26%238221%3B+release.
Olivia Reid
UMass Boston student Jackie Tucker sits in her dorm on Wednesday, March 30, 2022. She catches up on some old Harry Styles in preparation for the “Harry’s House” release. Photo by Olivia Reid / Mass Media Staff

Harry Styles, international superstar and former member of the hit boy band One Direction, just announced his third studio album, “Harry’s House.” However, fans had figured out this announcement was coming long before his confirming social media posts on March 23.

In the days of One Direction, their fans, known as “Directioners,” were known to be borderline-stalkers. Proving this point, one time they hacked into an airport security camera, just to watch the band sit in the Auckland, N.Z. airport lounge while waiting for their flight. Fans have carried this fierce love even after the band called their hiatus in January 2016, and into the boys’ solo careers, so it is no surprise that fans figured out Styles’ album announcement before his post. But how did they actually do it?

In February, an account surfaced on both Instagram and Twitter under the username @youarehome. The word “home” had its associations with One Direction back in 2013, when they released their song “Don’t Forget Where You Belong.” The song is a tribute to their fans saying, “Don’t forget where you belong / Home.”

Since then, both Harry Styles and former band member Louis Tomlinson have made several references to the word in their solo songs. When the social media account popped up in Directioners’ recommended page, they immediately made a connection to the group. It remained inactive, but was slowly gaining traction once Styles followed the page.

With the social media accounts, a website was discovered under the same name: youarehome.co. The page was a still image of a door. When looking into the code behind the site, fans discovered each part of the image was a separate piece, implying that there would be some kind of movement within the image. And they were right.

On March 18, the Twitter account became active for the first time, tweeting three words: “you are home.” And the frenzy began. The following day, they tweeted, “the door is open, come on in.” The door on youarehome.co had opened for the first time, revealing a painted image of an upside down leaf. The leaf was soon discovered to be the cover of “Nature and Select Essays” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Every day after, the door would reveal a new image, and the accounts each posted it respectively.

Fans had theories about what these images meant. At first, it appeared to be some sort of book club because the first two images were books. Then, a jigsaw puzzle appeared behind the door, and that was quickly ruled out. One theory most fans had in mind was that there would be thirteen images, ending on Friday, April 1, with some kind of music release.

On March 23, Styles posted to his social media that “Harry’s House” is to be released on May 20. Five days later, he announced that a new single, “As It Was,” would drop on Friday, April 1, as predicted. Fans went wild, and soon, Harry Styles’ announcement was responsible for five of the top trending phrases on Twitter.

Even after this announcement, new images were still being revealed behind the door. Fans looked into the code behind the website and found a series of about 50 coordinates written in script. When these coordinates were reversed and plotted on a map, they mapped the outline of a house.

The lead single and correlating music video was dropped at midnight GMT, which translates to 7 p.m. EST on March 31 for East Coast listeners.

“As It Was” is similar to Styles’ previous music, but with a slightly more depressing undertone. The song lyrics describe Harry finding himself in the midst of his parent’s divorce, masked under the upbeat tune. Fans seem to think Styles took inspiration from Taylor Swift when writing the bridge of the song because it is so vastly different than any other bridge he has written. It also seems to have the addicting quality that Swift’s bridges are so famously known for.

The music video features Harry wearing various bright red outfits and also blue-colored contacts, which fans found strange, especially because their shade matched the outfit of his co-star, Mathilde Lin. Fans seem to have linked this music video with the 1999 film, “The Matrix,”—which was coincidentally released on the same calendar date—because of the blue eye contacts and the blue and red outfits, corresponding to the blue and red pills in the movie.

After the release of the music video, Styles has continued releasing new daily images behind the door. What will they allude to next?

About the Contributors
Rena Weafer, Arts Editor
Olivia Reid, Photo Editor