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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Criticism: Harry Styles’ ‘Music for a Sushi Restaurant’

Harry+Styles+divides+fans+with+bearded+merman+look+in+his+newest+music+video.
Photo by Photo courtesy of Erintheredmc/WikiCommons

Harry Styles divides fans with bearded merman look in his newest music video.

Harry Styles’ newest music video, “Music for a Sushi Restaurant” (2022), is a bizarre yet artistic take on fame, fortune and exploitation; and not everyone is a fan. 

Styles released the “Music for a Sushi Restaurant” music video on Oct. 27 at 12 p.m. ET after teasing it the day before on his Instagram, posting a photo of himself with a full, untamed beard reminiscent of his role as Jack Chambers in Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling” (2022). The post’s reactions reflected the immediate upheaval of Styles’ fanbase, with even the most devoted Harry fans expressing their distaste for the pop star’s new look in the music video. 

Since its release, the “Music for a Sushi Restaurant” music video has remained fairly divisive among Styles’ fans, with some applauding his artistry and creative vision, while others appear to find it a bit too offbeat and outlandish for their liking. 

The music video, in essence, is a commentary by Styles on being used in the music industry and how he will inevitably be discarded by the public once he is no longer entertaining to them. In a thought-provoking take on a song that most fans just considered to be a fun and whimsical trumpet ballad, Styles portrays himself as a merman in captivity, singing for sushi restaurant patrons in order to escape being cooked and added to the menu. As Styles’ singing merman persona brings in more customers to the restaurant, his diva status rises until he loses his voice and comes to the realization that his fortune, in both preservation and fame, was fleeting. 

Between the trumpet-playing shrimp, tentacles and infamous “incel Harry” beard — as it is called by some fans — it’s indisputable that the music video is, to put it simply, weird. With most of Styles’ past music videos reflecting a level of creativity that is just extensive enough to remain acceptable in the court of public opinion, “Music for a Sushi Restaurant” takes Styles’ knack for unique videos a few steps past his normal realm of colorful and quirky. 

I am, however, of the firm belief that weird does not equate to bad. In this vibrant and evocative take on one of Styles’ innermost thoughts, “Music for a Sushi Restaurant’’ is entertaining, striking and just glaring enough to be provocative. While personally, I find more oddity in the fact that the subject matter of the music video does not appear to align whatsoever with the song, this is not significant enough to warrant some of the criticism the video has received. Furthermore, fans quickly dismissing “Music for a Sushi Restaurant” as weird or discomforting, should take a moment to not only consider the message of the music video, but also contemplate how it may apply to themselves in terms of Styles’ metaphor of being devoured by the public. 

Ultimately, the “Music for a Sushi Restaurant” music video, despite its bizarre material, is a fun and clever take on fame that reflects Styles’ astuteness as an artist. Regardless of whether or not he continues to release videos with the same eccentric twists as this one, the creativity of the music video was an inspired move by Styles that will not easily be forgotten by the public. 

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