“Music For a Sushi Restaurant” is the opening track from Harry Styles’ third studio album “Harry’s House”, which was released on the 20th May 2022.
The 70’s pop, funk and jazz inspired track sees Styles’ go in a new direction sonically, featuring scatting from Styles himself. Despite the song’s niche title, the track sees Styles use food metaphors to describe his attraction to a person. In an interview with Leila Fadel from NPR, Styles explained the story behind the song and its title:
“I was in a sushi restaurant in Los Angeles with my producer and one of our song came on from the last album […] And then I was like – that would be a really fun album title, but then as the song started being made I kind of just set on ‘Music For a Sushi Restaurant’…”.
The official audio upload on Styles’ channel premiered on the 20th May 2022, and as of the 11th July 2022, the video had a total of 8.8 million views. Later, on the 27th October the official music video for the song was released. Directed by Aube Perrie, the video gives the song an entirely new meaning.The video begins with 3 men staring over a bearded Harry Styles, who appears to be half man and half fish, with tentacles and a mermaid tail. The men then take Styles into a van, taking him to a restaurant we later find out is titled: “Gill’s Lounge”, with Gill being the owner of the restaurant. Styles quickly realises that he’s been taken to a seafood restaurant, where viewers can see him being held like a trophy by Gill and his kitchen staff – being treated like an object, where the kitchen staff are cutting up various seafood around Styles, such as crabs, fish, octopi… you name it! Suddenly aware of his fate, Styles realises his time is running out…
Styles – in true, fairytale siren-like fashion, uses his voice to hypnotise Gill and the staff, which leads to him becoming the lounge’s entertainment – rather than the food. Styles quickly becomes the main attraction, being pampered by Gill and everyone at the restaurant. Gill puts on a lavish shows, filled with lights, an orchestra with shrimp heads playing, and cocktails galore… The lounge is making money like never before.
However, Styles begins to get objectified by people (like one audience member asking “can I touch your tail?” – to which Styles responds by slapping him with a tentacle), and eventually ends up losing his voice. This leads Styles to lose his purpose as the lounge’s entertainment, as well as Styles demise. At the end of the video, Styles has become sushi & Gill is devastated.
This ingenious video is a huge metaphor for the hot and cold, toxic and vapid nature and culture for the music industry. It also beautifully demonstrates the objectification of artists in the music industry, as well as them becoming products and commodities – rather than people.
Once Styles’ voice is no longer good enough, or he makes a single mistake, he is literally killed by the kitchen staff – showing viewers the brutality and intense pressure many artists or musicians must be under to live up to high standards and to constantly keep up appearances. This is also a brilliant way to represent how quick and feeble the industry is – constantly searching for the next best, shiny and new product to carry on creating profit for the bigger players in the company.
It also cleverly touches on objectification of artists and their bodies – with the man in the video asking Styles “can I touch your tail?”. This emphasises that just because an individual is performing or famous, that does not make them an inanimate object to be touched or tampered with.
As of the 11th November 2022, the video had a total of 15 million views.
Read the lyrics to “Music For a Sushi Restaurant” here.
*All information accurate at the time of publishing.