Treat People with Kindness

2021 single by Harry Styles

"Treat People with Kindness"
Single by Harry Styles
from the album Fine Line
Released9 January 2021 (2021-01-09)
Recorded2019
Genre
Length3:17
Label
  • Erskine
  • Columbia
Songwriter(s)
  • Harry Styles
  • Jeff Bhasker
  • Ilsey Juber
Producer(s)Jeff Bhasker
Harry Styles singles chronology
"Golden"
(2020)
"Treat People with Kindness"
(2021)
"Fine Line"
(2021)
Music video
"Treat People with Kindness" on YouTube

"Treat People with Kindness" is a song by British singer and songwriter Harry Styles, recorded for his second album Fine Line (2019). The song was originally released on the album on 13 December 2019 by Columbia and Erskine Records[5] and features background vocals from the New York indie-pop band Lucius.[6] The song was serviced to adult contemporary radio formats in the United Kingdom on 9 January 2021 as the album's sixth single.[7] In an interview with Music Week, Styles credits a David Bowie interview for the inspiration behind the song, referring to it as a "tribute".[8]

Recording

Styles was inspired to write the song after adopting the titular phrase as the slogan for his 2018 tour. It was written during the end of the Fine Line recordings sessions with frequent collaborator producer Jeff Bhasker and songwriter Ilsey Juber.[8]

The instrumental features Bhasker on keys, Juber’s father Laurence on guitar, Elizabeth Pupo-Walker on congas, and Nick Movshon and Homer Steinweiss on electric bass and drums, respectively; the latter three are associated with New York City's contemporary soul and funk music scene and Daptone Records, and some of the recording took place at Movshon and Steinweiss' studio The Diamond Mine. Concurrently, Bhasker, Juber, Movshon, and Steinwiess were collaborating on Mark Ronson's album Late Night Feelings. Recorded at EastWest Studio in Los Angeles, a string quartet arranged by Bhasker and members of the Sunday Service Choir fill out the track.

Lucius frontwomen Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig were invited to the studio to work with Styles on a different song; during their sessions, Styles asked them to sing on the instrumental recording. Styles would later record his vocals. As noted by Lucius, the women's vocals are a central feature of the song; in an unrelated interview with the Los Angeles Times in 2022, the duo stated they had asked Styles to be credited as a featured artist after learning how prominently they featured in the song.[9]

Promotion

Harry Styles was first spotted in 2017 with a 'Treat People With Kindness' badge on his guitar strap during a concert for his debut, self-titled album, which sparked interest amongst the artist's fanbase.[8] Styles revealed that as he "saw a lot of t-shirts around" with the phrase, referring to it as a "mantra", he became inspired to write the song.[8] Harry Styles released a line of merchandise with the phrase, in celebration of Pride Month. This consisted of t-shirts, hats, and hoodies.[10] Through 'Treat People with Kindness', he began with his first merchandise release in relation to the song in June 2018, through which he collaborated with the US organisation GLSEN.[11] Styles release t-shirts, hats and hoodies with the slogan to raise awareness for the organisation[12] with all profits being donated.[13]

In October 2019, fans of Harry Styles noticed billboards around London and New York with 'Do You Know Who You Are', which was quickly linked to 'Treat People with Kindness' by the singer's fans.[14] Following these promotions and the eventual 2019 release of 'Fine Line', Harry Styles continued to promote 'Treat People With Kindness' through regular merchandise releases with the phrase.[15]

As part of the 'Treat People with Kindness' slogan, Harry Styles released a t-shirt with "Stay home. Stay safe. Protect each other", on the front, and "This T-shirt fights COVID-19 treat people with kindness". Styles revealed that all profits made from the shirt would be donated to the World Health Organization's Solidarity Response Fund, a UN foundation.[16] In October 2020, Harry Styles released limited edition 'Treat People with Kindness' socks.[17] The socks were available for fans to purchase for 24 hours, with a portion of proceeds being donated to Choose Love, a charity which supports refugees.[citation needed]

Music video

The music video is directed by Gabe and Ben Turner, who have previously worked with Harry Styles for past music videos, and was released on 1 January 2021, and features actress and writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge.[18] Turner reveals that this idea led Harry Styles to personally asking Waller-Bridge to feature in the video. Turner states that the influence for the dance was inspired by a 1940s Nicholas Brothers dance scene from Stormy Weather, which led to the idea of having Harry Styles perform with a dance partner.[18] The music video choreographer, Paul Roberts, explained that he also had gained inspiration for the dance from Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly.[19]

Critical reception

Critical response to "Treat People with Kindness" was generally mixed. Claire Biddles from The Line of Best Fit found the song's beginning "enigmatic" but felt that it ultimately proves "meaningless".[20] Graham Reid regarded it as "feel-good" but obligatory and guilty of virtue signalling.[21] In Consequence, Bryan Rolli accused Styles of "sleepwalking" throughout the song and leaving the "heavy-lifting to the gospel singers",[22] while Ellen Johnson of Paste said that the "Queen-indebted anthem" features "off-pitch singers".[23]

More critical was Pitchfork reviewer Jeremy D. Larson, who pointed to "Treat People with Kindess" as an example of Styles' superficial use of his studio musicians on Fine Line. "An awful chimera of Jesus Christ Superstar and Edgar Winter Group's 'Free Ride' that confuses hand-claps with happiness", Larson called the song.[24] Laura Snapes of The Guardian referred to it as an "unnecessary" and "toothless" take on gospel.[1]

Some critics were more positive. NME writer Hannah Myrleah referred to the song as "another banging pop tune",[2] while Gregory Robinson from The Guardian found it "jolly" and called it "old school rock'n'roll".[3] Emma Swan of DIY described it as a "wonderfully kitsch '70s Motown stomp".[25]

Accolades

Awards and nominations for "Treat People with Kindness"
Year Organization Award Result Ref(s)
2021 MTV Video Music Awards Best Pop Nominated [26]
Best Choreography Won
Best Editing Nominated

Charts

Chart performance for "Treat People with Kindness"
Chart (2019–2021) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[27] 50
Colombia Anglo (Monitor Latino)[28] 15
Costa Rica Anglo (Monitor Latino)[29] 5
Croatia (HRT)[30] 46
Dominican Republic Anglo (Monitor Latino)[31] 19
Ecuador Anglo (Monitor Latino)[32] 16
Ireland (IRMA)[33] 73
Lithuania (AGATA)[34] 90
New Zealand Hot Singles (RMNZ)[35] 8
Paraguay Anglo (Monitor Latino)[36] 13
UK Singles Downloads (OCC)[37] 27
Uruguay Anglo (Monitor Latino)[38] 8
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[39] 18

Certifications

Certifications and sales for "Treat People with Kindness"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Mexico (AMPROFON)[40] Gold 30,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[41] Gold 500,000double-dagger

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

Release history

Release dates and formats for "Treat People with Kindness"
Region Date Format Label Ref.
United Kingdom 9 January 2021 Adult contemporary radio
[7]

References

  1. ^ a b Snapes, Laura (13 December 2019). "Harry Styles: Fine Line review – idiosyncratic pop with heart and soul". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b Mylrea, Hannah (9 December 2019). "Harry Styles – 'Fine Line' album review". NME. Retrieved 29 January 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ a b Robinson, Gregory (15 December 2019). "Harry Styles: Fine Line review – confident, convincing and catchy". The Observer. Retrieved 29 January 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ Sendra, Tim. "Fine Line – Harry Styles". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 January 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Legaspi, Althea (1 January 2021). "Harry Styles, Phoebe Waller-Bridge Team for 'Treat People With Kindness' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  6. ^ "With Fine Line, Harry Styles transforms into a California-pop iconoclast". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  7. ^ a b "BBC – Radio 2 Playlist". BBC Radio 2. 8 January 2021. Archived from the original on 8 January 2021. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d "'Small changes make a big difference': Harry Styles tells the story of Treat People With Kindness". Music Week. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  9. ^ Wood, Mikael (11 April 2022). "How producer Brandi Carlile helped Lucius turn domestic heartbreak into dancefloor joy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  10. ^ Singh, Olivia. "9 times Harry Styles was a champion for the LGBTQ community". Insider. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  11. ^ Gross, Allyson (15 March 2020). "To wave a flag: Identification, #BlackLivesMatter, and populism in Harry Styles fandom". Transformative Works and Cultures. 32. doi:10.3983/twc.2020.1765. ISSN 1941-2258.
  12. ^ Seth, Radhika (20 July 2018). "Harry Styles's Tour Just Raised $1.2 Million For Charity". British Vogue. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  13. ^ Haughton, Jacqueline (1 January 2020). ""They F*cking Own This Sh*t. They're Running It": Are Music Fandoms Organizations?". Scripps Senior Theses.
  14. ^ "Mysterious Harry Styles Billboards Have Popped Up Around the World and We're Not Ready". Billboard. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  15. ^ Brletich, Hannah (1 May 2020). "The Bidirectional Relationship between Art and Business". Information Systems Undergraduate Honors Theses.
  16. ^ "Harry Styles is selling 'stay home' T-shirts for £21". The Independent. 8 April 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  17. ^ "Harry Styles's limited edition 'Treat People With Kindness' socks are only available for 24 hours". Capital. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  18. ^ a b Conrad, Anna (12 January 2021). "How the joyous 'Treat People With Kindness' video came together". British GQ. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  19. ^ "How Harry Styles Found His Inner Dancer For 'Treat People With Kindness'". Billboard. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  20. ^ "On a dark day, Harry Styles has delivered cause for joy". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  21. ^ Reid, Graham (31 March 2020). "Harry Styles, Fine Line (Sony)". Elsewhere by Graham Reid. Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  22. ^ "Album Review: Harry Styles Pivots to Power Pop on the Breezy Fine Line". Consequence. 16 December 2019. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  23. ^ "Harry Styles Rejects Labels on the Imperfect, Still-Satisfying Fine Line". Paste. 16 December 2019. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  24. ^ Larson, Jeremy D. (13 December 2019). "Harry Styles: Fine Line Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  25. ^ Subscribe. "Harry Styles - Fine Line | Reviews". DIY. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  26. ^ Martoccio, Angie (11 August 2021). "2021 MTV VMAs: Justin Bieber, Megan Thee Stallion, Olivia Rodrigo Lead Nominations". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  27. ^ "Harry Styles – Treat People With Kindness" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  28. ^ "Top 20 Colombia Anglo – Del 20 al 26 de Marzo, 2021". Monitor Latino. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  29. ^ "Top 20 Costa Rica Anglo – Del 20 al 26 de Marzo, 2021". Monitor Latino. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  30. ^ Komerički, Goran (15 March 2021). "ARC 100 – datum: 15. ozujka 2021" [ARC 100 – date: 15 March 2021] (in Croatian). Hrvatska radiotelevizija. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  31. ^ "Top 20 Republica Dominicana Anglo – Del 27 de Marzo al 2 de Abril, 2021". Monitor Latino. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  32. ^ "Top 20 Ecuador Anglo – Del 06 al 12 de Febrero, 2021". Monitor Latino. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  33. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography Harry Styles". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  34. ^ "2021 1-os SAVAITĖS (sausio 1-lapkričio 7 d.) SINGLŲ TOP100" (in Lithuanian). AGATA. 8 January 2021. Archived from the original on 8 January 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  35. ^ "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  36. ^ "Top 20 Paraguay Anglo – Del 5 al 11 de Marzo, 2021". Monitor Latino. Retrieved 8 March 2021.
  37. ^ "Official Singles Downloads Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  38. ^ "Top 20 Uruguay Anglo – Del 27 de Marzo al 2 de Abril, 2021". Monitor Latino. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  39. ^ "Harry Styles Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  40. ^ "Certificaciones" (in Spanish). Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. Retrieved 3 June 2022. Type Harry Styles in the box under the ARTISTA column heading and Treat People with Kindness in the box under the TÍTULO column heading.
  41. ^ "American single certifications – Harry Styles – Treat People with Kindness". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
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