Music From the Chopping Board

Official Music Video, via Harry Styles on YouTube

Fans are turning heads and raising eyebrows at Harry Styles’ latest music video for track one of his 2022 album Harry’s House. “Music For A Sushi Restaurant” features Styles as a merman-squid crossover and an outstanding performer at Gill’s Lounge – a restaurant created by the musician for the purpose of the video. The track falls under many categories, like synth-pop and pop-funk, and it sets a cool, fun tone for the album, inviting fans to a record featuring “music for whatever [they] want” (Styles, “Music For A Sushi Restaurant”). With his third record as a solo artist, Harry Styles took on a new sound, a more funky R&B to his previous mainly pop rock, straying even further from his precursory majorly pop sound with One Direction. The “Music For A Sushi Restaurant” music video is visually similar to Harry’s “Late Night Talking” music video, which was released in July of 2022, and follows a similar fun, filmy tone. But where “Late Night Talking” has been largely interpreted as a goofy PJ party with an undertone of Styles’ struggles with being constantly put on display and judged for his every decision, “Music For A Sushi Restaurant” takes on a clearer look at life in the music industry, or rather, “life on the chopping board”.


When Styles washes ashore as a fascinating new specimen – a new talent, if you will – he is immediately scooped up and driven off to the kitchens, where, just like in the music business, he is prepared for presentation and dining. When Harry Styles and the other members of One Direction were first noticed on The X-Factor in 2010, they were immediately conditioned and trained in the ways of the industry. Essentially they were washed, chopped up, and prepared as a delicacy, presented as a pristine boy band to be enjoyed by young girls across the world. 


In “Music For A Sushi Restaurant,” Harry is a delightful new discovery – a new prodigy – and, upon hearing his talent, his captors decide to make a little extra money by allowing him to perform. They give him a sort of ultimatum, a “do this, and we’ll spare you” gig, assuring him that as long as he keeps it together, as long as he performs to expectation, he will be permitted to continue his life, or, more realistically, his career as a musician. Even as he becomes more confident – demanding things like green tea and face masks, there is a constant threat over Harry’s head. Any slip-up, no matter how small, will result in the chopping board. In some ways, the music industry could be described as being similar to the sport of Horse Racing; in which, horses must be groomed, well-taken care of, and, come race day, they must be the fastest. If they are too slow, if they can’t keep up, they are replaced: often put down. When it comes to Hollywood, there are constantly new and upcoming talents in the works that would love to take your place. If you can’t keep up, if you get too old, you begin to slow down, maybe you start saying things you shouldn’t – your time is then over and you will be replaced. Being in the industry means having your every move watched and analyzed for mistakes, and if one is found, you can say goodbye to your career, to your success, and to the spotlight. 


Harry Styles makes it clear that even at his status, a world-famous icon in the making, he is still constantly at risk of losing everything, constantly at risk of the chopping board. Harry Styles is viewed as an untouchable mega-star, taking the stage in extravagant outfits, flaunting his stuff and stealing hearts – as well as awards. But, according to his latest music video, this does not mean that he is safe in his spotlight. Even the most famous artists must be kept in check and controlled. Released on October 27, 2022, Harry Styles’ “Music For A Sushi Restaurant” reminds us that the music industry is not all it is cut out to be, and that the ‘under the spotlight’ world we spend so much time longing to be a part of is really a cutthroat environment of survival of the fittest, or, survival of the most compliant.