Sunday, June 05, 2022

Kat's Korner: Party at HARRY'S HOUSE

Kat: Some sounds just strike the ear right.  For example, watch the opening of BARB AND STAR GO TO VISTA DEL MAR and marvel over Barry Gibb's talents because Barbra Streisand's vocals on "Guilty" sound like bubbles in carbonated water -- they're perfect and they just seem to float.  

Sometimes music is just too beautiful -- certainly too beautiful for words.

I realized that 100 times over when I listen to Harry Sytles' new album HARRY'S HOUSE.

It captured me on first listen and it's never let go.

It's a great album, a work of art.  It reminds me of many things -- Prince in terms of the innovation and the huge leap from the previous album -- that's a Prince trick.  I don't think any artist has ever mastered a genre as quickly as Prince, made such an authoritative statement within that genre and, before the applause for that accomplishment died down, was already off in another genre, already defining that genre.  

HARRY'S HOUSE also reminds me of a Sade album.  Sade is one of the few artists today who still makes albums -- collections that you can play from start to finish, that make a cohesive statement with all the tracks influencing one another.  

There are other influences.  I hear Olivia Newton-John on many tracks -- especially her single "Soul Kiss" when I listen to "Grapejuice."  I hear Kenny Loggins on tracks like "Love Of My Life."  I also hear George Michael, Donna Summer, Laura Nyro, Rickie Lee Jones  -- I hear so many touches and so much inspiration and influences.  

And Harry grabs them all together and makes them into something new and different and undeniably.funky.  A song like "Daydreaming," for example, calls to mind George Michael as well as Diana Ross' work with Ashford & Simpson on the classic album THE BOSS but remakes those moments into something singular and decidedly Harry.  

2019's FINE LINE was wonderful.  I wouldn't have been surprised if Harry had decided to just repeat himself -- after all, a lot of people do.  Some even try to build an entire career around coasting.  

In her 1979 ROLLING STONE INTERVIEW, Joni Mitchell told Cameron Crowe:

Here's the thing.  You have two options. You can stay the same and protect the formula that gave you your initial success. They're going to crucify you for staying the same. If you change, they're going to crucify you for changing. But staying the same is boring. And change is interesting. So of the two options, I'd rather he crucified for changing. 

Harry's changed on this album.  There are a few danceable tracks but HARRY'S HOUSE is really an introspective album and I'm dazzled by how much it grips me and holds me.  I got too much sun and swam too much on a recent Saturday -- probably drank too much alcohol as well.  I grabbed a bedroom at a friend's home to lay down for a moment or two and ended up listening (again) to HARRY'S HOUSE and just floating away on that album, feeling fully restored forty or so minutes later as "Love Of My Life" ended the album.  

Charlie Puth recently shared that he used to jerk off to Maroon 5's "This Love."  While I've certainly had a Pamela Des Barres moment or two, I strangely enough had never fingered myself to music.  I've certainly made out to an album, but no solo work done listening to a song.  To each their own and no judgment of Charlie (the story makes me like him a lot better) but when I saw that last week, it made me remember what happened the first time I listened to HARRY'S HOUSE.

These day, I buy vinyl.  And one reason I didn't review HARRY'S HOUSE the weekend it came out was due to the fact that I couldn't find it on vinyl.  I looked at five different stores without any luck.  Probably not that surprising because, turns out, with HARRY'S HOUSE, he broke the record for most vinyl sales worldwide in one week.  I did listen that weekend -- on AMAZON MUSIC.  And when the album plays, there was this photograph of Harry on the screen -- unless I'm listening on my phone, I listen to AMAZON MUSIC on my big screen TV.  I'm not talking about the album cover.  It's interesting.  

But the photo AMAZON MUSIC uses is so much more than that.

Harry's never looked sexier.  

When I saw Farrah Fawcett's famous, decade defining poster for the first time, I wished I had taken that photo.  It was iconic and mesmerizing and captured her in a real moment.  That's how I feel about the Harry photo I'm talking about.  I wondered where it came from?

For example, when I listen to the just released live album by Prince, PRINCE AND THE REVOLUTION, from their 1985 Syracuse concert, (great live album by the way, check out "How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore" for the performance and the audience sing-along) on AMAZON MUSIC,  I see a photo of Prince and I know it's from the promotional shoot for 1986's "Kiss." 

But where is this Harry photo from?

It's from the album.  When I finally found a vinyl copy for sale (I prefer to buy in person, not online), I saw it was on the inside of the album cover -- the cover is a fold out cover.  Here's the picture in question.

The vinyl album contains a booklet -- with lyrics to all the songs -- and provides the credit for the photography -- Hanna Moon.  She did a great job, especially with the photo above.

I can't believe it's not a poster.  Hopefully, it will be one.  Well . . . one you can buy.  I already took my own photo of it and developed it into a poster and I'm sure others have as well.  But there are images that pop up and fascinate us, true works of photographic art.  Hanna's picture above is one of those.  Put on a poster, put it on t-shirt, appreciate the art.

HARRY'S HOUSE is musical art.  Please check it out if you haven't already.  I think you'll love it as much as I do.