As It Was

2022 single by Harry Styles

"As It Was"
Harry Styles - As It Was.png
Single by Harry Styles
from the album Harry's House
Released1 April 2022 (2022-04-01)
Recorded2021
GenreSynth-pop[1][2][3]
Length2:47
Label
  • Erskine
  • Columbia
Songwriter(s)
  • Harry Styles
  • Thomas Hull
  • Tyler Johnson
Producer(s)
  • Kid Harpoon
  • Tyler Johnson
Harry Styles singles chronology
"Fine Line"
(2021)
"As It Was"
(2022)
"Late Night Talking"
(2022)
Music video
"As It Was" on YouTube

"As It Was" is a song by English singer Harry Styles, released through Erskine and Columbia on 1 April 2022 as the lead single from his third studio album, Harry's House (2022). The song was written by Styles alongside the song's producers Kid Harpoon and Tyler Johnson.

"As It Was" received positive reviews from critics and debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Styles's second number-one single after "Sign of the Times". The song spent ten weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart, becoming the longest-running number-one single of the year so far in the UK. Also his second number one single in the US, the song spent 15 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the longest-running US number one by a UK act and the third longest running number-one in the charts history.

"As It Was" reached number one in 33 other countries, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore and Sweden.

Background

Harry Styles announced the title of his third studio album as Harry's House on 23 March 2022, unveiling its artwork, a 40-second trailer and the album's release date as 20 May 2022.[4][5] Five days later, he announced the title of its lead single as "As It Was", along with pictures of him in a "sequined, sleeveless red outfit" and its release date as 1 April 2022.[6][7][8] Simultaneously, posters bearing the lyrics "It's not the same as it was" and a picture of Styles sitting on a big ball appeared in various cities.[9] He released a teaser of the music video on 30 March, which included an "energetic drum beat" and a "sunny electric guitar riff", and depicted him in a red jumpsuit spinning in circles atop a motorised turntable.[10]

Lyrics and composition

"As It Was" opens with Styles's goddaughter saying, "Come on Harry, we wanna say goodnight to you."[11] Music critics described the song as a guitar-driven synth-pop track, a noticeable shift from Styles's rock-oriented sounds.[2][12] Chris Willman of Variety noted that it takes heavy inspiration from Depeche Mode and A-ha, while also suggesting that it adopted a style similar to the Weeknd's 2019 single "Blinding Lights".[2] Lyrically, "As It Was" is rooted in personal transitions and depicts a feeling of loss and loneliness.[13]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
The Guardian[14]
NME[15]

"As It Was" received critical acclaim. NME's Rhian Daly gave the song five out of five stars, describing it as "not a million miles away from where Fine Line left off, but hardly retreading old ground." According to Daly, the track suggests Harry's House will solidify Styles "as one of the current pop landscapes' greats".[15] Beau Beaumont-Thomas of The Guardian also rated the song five stars and called it "one of his very best", writing, "Many will pore over the gossipy, self-referential lyrics, but Styles's song is for everyone: an effervescent, high-tempo hit to have you clicking your heels."[14] In his review for Rolling Stone, Rob Sheffield regarded "As It Was" as one of Styles's most "emotionally powerful" songs, calling it a "daring change-up" and a "straight-from-the-heart cry that's also an irresistible dance-floor challenge."[1] Sahar Ghadirian of Clash magazine deemed it a "powerhouse" and Styles "at his most vulnerable". Ghadirian appreciated the "dream fusion" of synth-pop with electro rock and commented that the bells end the song on "a euphoric high".[16] Thania Garcia of Variety magazine described the song as being "new wave-inspired".[17]

Evening Standard reviewer Jochan Embley meanwhile found the track inferior to the singer's previous singles "Watermelon Sugar" and "Adore You", but wrote that Styles and his collaborators "still know how to make an instantly enjoyable tune".[18] Olivia Horn of Pitchfork was less impressed and bemoaned that the song "winds down without any real payoff", citing the circuitousness of the lyrics as "a frequent shortcoming in Styles' songwriting."[19]

Commercial performance

"As It Was" was an immediate success; it earned the Guinness World Records title for the most streamed track on Spotify within 24 hours by a male artist, and broke the Apple Music streaming record for most first-day streams for a 2022 release.[20][21] The song also opened atop the Billboard Global 200 with the greatest global streaming week of 2022, becoming Styles's first number-one on the tally.[22]

In the United Kingdom, "As It Was" became Styles's second solo number-one on the singles chart, debuting with the biggest sales and streaming weeks of any single in 2022.[23] It spent ten weeks at number one on the UK singles chart, becoming the longest-running number one of the year so far in the UK.[24]

"As It Was" entered at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Styles' second number-one single after "Watermelon Sugar" (2019).[25] The song garnered the most single-day streams on Spotify in the United States, surpassing Olivia Rodrigo's "Drivers License" (2021).[26] After the single's debut at No. 1, "As It Was" fell out of the No. 1 position and returned multiple times between April and September 2022; when it returned to No. 1 for the week ending 3 September 2022, it became the first song ever to have five separate runs in the top position.[27] "As It Was" spent 15 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the longest-running US number one by a UK act, the longest-running No. 1 with no accompanying artists (i.e. a solo-billed song) and the third longest running number-one in the charts history.[28][29]

"As It Was" spent 18 weeks at number one on the Canadian Hot 100[30] and peaked at number one in Australia,[31] Austria,[32] Belgium,[33] Croatia,[34] Denmark,[35] Germany,[36] Greece,[37] Ireland,[38] Israel,[39] Lithuania,[40] the Netherlands,[41] New Zealand,[42] Slovakia,[43] Sweden,[44] and Switzerland.[45]

Music video

The music video for "As It Was" was released alongside the song.[46] In the clip, Styles joins dancer Mathilde Lin on a turning platform and performs choreography in the Barbican to release negative emotions.[12] The video was filmed in London: apart from the Barbican Centre, it was also filmed at Lindley Hall near the Houses of Parliament, and the penguin pool at London Zoo.[47] It was directed by Tanu Muino, who stated that directing for Styles was "a bucket list dream come true" but, on the second day of shooting, Muino's home country of Ukraine was invaded by Russia, rendering the process a "bittersweet" experience; nevertheless, Muino and her team from Ukraine "poured so much love into this video and you can see it on screen. It will be a music video I will never forget and now I can happily retire."[46] On YouTube, the video has received over 287 million views and 5.8 million likes as of August 2022.[48]

Accolades

Year Organization Award Result Ref.
2022 MTV Millennial Awards Global Hit of the Year Nominated [49]
MTV Millennial Awards Brazil Global Hit Nominated [50]
MTV Video Music Awards Video of the Year Nominated [51]
Best Pop Won
Best Direction Nominated
Best Choreography Nominated
Best Cinematography Won
LOS40 Music Awards Best International Song Pending [52]
Best International Video Pending

Live performance

Styles performed "As It Was" for the first time at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on 15 April and 22 April.[53]

Credits and personnel

  • Harry Styles – vocals, songwriting, bells
  • Kid Harpoon – songwriting, production, bass, guitar, drum machine, drums, electric guitar, synthesizer
  • Tyler Johnson – songwriting, production, drum machine, piano, synthesizer
  • Doug Showalter – electric guitar, percussion
  • Mitch Rowland – drums
  • Jeremy Hatcher – programming, recording
  • Randy Merrill – mastering
  • Spike Stent – mixing
  • Katie May – assistant engineering
  • Luke Gibbs – assistant engineering
  • Adele Phillips – assistant engineering
  • Josh Caulder – assistant engineering
  • Joe Dougherty – assistant engineering
  • Matt Wolach – assistant engineering

Charts

Weekly charts

Weekly chart performance for "As It Was"
Chart (2022) Peak
position
Argentina (Argentina Hot 100)[54] 2
Australia (ARIA)[31] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[32] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[33] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[55] 1
Bolivia (Billboard)[56] 2
Brazil (Top 100 Brasil)[57] 63
Bulgaria (PROPHON)[58] 1
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[30] 1
Canada AC (Billboard)[59] 1
Canada CHR/Top 40 (Billboard)[60] 1
Canada Hot AC (Billboard)[61] 1
Chile (Billboard)[62] 13
Colombia (Billboard)[63] 13
Costa Rica (Monitor Latino)[64] 4
Croatia (Billboard)[65] 3
Croatia (HRT)[34] 1
Czech Republic (Rádio – Top 100)[66] 1
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[67] 2
Denmark (Tracklisten)[35] 1
Dominican Republic (SODINPRO)[68] 9
Ecuador (Billboard)[69] 9
El Salvador (Monitor Latino)[70] 1
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[71] 2
France (SNEP)[72] 1
Germany (Official German Charts)[36] 1
Global 200 (Billboard)[73] 1
Greece International (IFPI)[74] 1
Honduras (Monitor Latino)[75] 17
Hong Kong (Billboard)[76] 19
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)[77] 26
Hungary (Single Top 40)[78] 8
Hungary (Stream Top 40)[79] 1
Iceland (Plötutíðindi)[80] 1
India (IMI)[81] 1
Indonesia (Billboard)[82] 3
Ireland (IRMA)[38] 1
Israel (Media Forest)[39] 1
Italy (FIMI)[83] 3
Japan Hot Overseas (Billboard Japan)[84] 2
Latvia (EHR)[85] 1
Lebanon (OLT20)[86] 1
Lithuania (AGATA)[40] 1
Luxembourg (Billboard)[87] 1
Malaysia (RIM)[88] 1
Mexico (Billboard)[89] 1
Mexico Airplay (Billboard)[90] 1
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[91] 1
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[41] 1
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[42] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[92] 2
Panama (Monitor Latino)[93] 5
Paraguay (Monitor Latino)[94] 5
Peru (Billboard)[95] 2
Philippines (Billboard)[96] 4
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100)[97] 1
Portugal (AFP)[98] 1
Romania (Billboard)[99] 4
Romania Airplay (UPFR)[100] 1
Romania (Romanian Radio Airplay)[101] 1
Russia Airplay (TopHit)[102] 2
Singapore (RIAS)[103] 1
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[104] 1
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[43] 1
South Africa (RISA)[105] 2
South Korea (Gaon)[106] 113
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[107] 10
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[44] 1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[45] 1
Turkey (Billboard)[108] 23
UK Singles (OCC)[109] 1
Ukraine Airplay (TopHit)[110] 16
Uruguay (Monitor Latino)[111] 9
US Billboard Hot 100[112] 1
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[113] 1
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[114] 1
US Dance/Mix Show Airplay (Billboard)[115] 1
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[116] 1
US Rhythmic (Billboard)[117] 35
US Rock Airplay (Billboard)[118] 34
Vietnam (Vietnam Hot 100)[119] 10

Monthly charts

Monthly chart performance for "As It Was"
Chart (2022) Position
Russia Airplay (TopHit)[120] 4
South Korea (Gaon)[121] 123

Certifications

Certifications for "As It Was"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[122] 4× Platinum 280,000double-dagger
Austria (IFPI Austria)[123] Platinum 30,000double-dagger
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[124] Platinum 90,000double-dagger
France (SNEP)[125] Diamond 333,333double-dagger
Germany (BVMI)[126] Gold 200,000double-dagger
Italy (FIMI)[127] 2× Platinum 200,000double-dagger
Mexico (AMPROFON)[128] 2× Platinum 280,000double-dagger
New Zealand (RMNZ)[129] 2× Platinum 60,000double-dagger
Portugal (AFP)[130] 2× Platinum 20,000double-dagger
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[131] 2× Platinum 120,000double-dagger
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[132] 2× Platinum 40,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[133] 2× Platinum 1,200,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[134] 2× Platinum 2,000,000double-dagger
Streaming
Greece (IFPI Greece)[135] Platinum 2,000,000dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.
dagger Streaming-only figures based on certification alone.

Release history

Release dates and formats for "As It Was"
Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
Various 1 April 2022
[136]
Italy Radio airplay Sony Italy [137]
United States 4 April 2022 Adult contemporary radio Columbia [138]
5 April 2022 Contemporary hit radio [139]
United Kingdom 15 April 2022 CD single
  • Erskine
  • Columbia
[140]

See also

References

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