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11 Things We Learned From Harry Styles: Behind the Album

A prosthetic face, a haircut, One Direction ... this revealing doc covers it all

Harry Styles’s self-titled debut album arrived last Friday (May 12), which means you’ve hopefully slow-danced to “Sweet Creature” and rocked out to “Only Angel” at least a few times by now. If you’re still craving more, there's good news: Apple Music has given fans a revealing look into the project’s creation with Harry Styles: Behind the Album.

The 49-minute documentary includes interview segments with Styles, footage from his Jamaican writing retreat, live performances, and plenty of intimate moments in the studio. Here are 11 things we learned from the revealing doc.

  1. He got to perform his whole album at the iconic Abbey Road Studios.

    The doc includes full-band performance footage filmed at London’s Abbey Road Studios. It was “overwhelming” for Styles, who grew up listening to the Beatles and lives in the neighborhood. “The fact that there’s always people outside, and the graffiti on the walls ... there’s an aura about the place,” he says.

  2. Jamaica was his writing oasis.

    Styles ventured to Jamaica for two months, where he wrote the bulk of the album in blissful, sorely needed privacy. “It felt like a little secret,” he says. “It’s fun to feel like no one knows where you are. It made such a difference from being in a busy city.” The footage from Jamaica shows Styles writing and recording “Two Ghosts,” swimming, and jamming out. “Jamaica was the happiest time I’ve had in a while. It just felt like there was no pressure at all,” he says.

  3. He does a great Bob Dylan impression.

    In one funny moment from the studio, Styles whips out his best Bob Dylan voice while singing “Two Ghosts” and strumming away on an acoustic guitar. Impressively, he nails that gravelly, raspy tone.

  4. He genuinely loved being in One Direction.

    1D fans, make sure you have some Kleenex handy when you reach the 14-minute mark, because that’s when Styles thoughtfully reflects on his days in the group. We see old footage from a massive One Direction stadium concert, as Styles says, “When you leave a band, or boy band, you feel like you have to go the complete other direction and kind of say, ‘Don’t worry everyone, I hated it, it wasn’t me.’ [But] I loved it. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that band, and I don’t feel like I have to apologize for it. I never felt like I was faking it.”

  5. "Kiwi" will be one of the best songs to hear live.

    At least, that seems like a safe assumption, based on the footage we see of Styles recording and performing the fan-favorite track. First, we see the early stages of “Kiwi,” with Styles and a few other guys jamming in the recording studio. And when he and his band perform it at Abbey Road, Styles smiles and passionately sings his face off.

  6. Cutting his hair helped him "start fresh."

    Yep, the doc shows Styles getting that infamous haircut. He covers his eyes and says in a voice-over, “Cutting it off just felt very much like starting fresh.”

  7. He has a great friendship with guitarist Mitch Rowland.

    Rowland and Styles linked up by accident, Styles revealed, after another guitarist couldn’t make a recording session. Rowland, who had been working in a pizza shop at the time and had never even been in a studio, got the gig and immediately clicked with Styles. “That helped, to have someone who had no preconceived notions about me or who I was or anything. And he’s a legend,” Styles gushes. In one of the doc’s sweetest moments, he gifts Rowland a brand-new guitar, and Rowland returns the favor by giving Styles a guitar that the singer had been playing during their recording sessions.

  8. "Carolina" was the last song written for the album.

    Toward the end of the recording process, Styles says he and his team were in “a total hole” and had doubts about the album (cue to studio footage of Styles lying face down on a couch, yelling through his fingers, “I can’t write songs!”). Eventually, after a little vacation from the studio, they came back and created “Carolina,” which Styles says “was the exact little piece that had been missing. It was the little bit of fun that we wanted and that we didn’t have.”

  9. Oh, and it’s definitely about one specific girl.

    While talking about “Carolina,” the interviewer asks Styles if he’s seen the girl since he wrote it. He smiles slyly and answers, “I have.” When asked if she knows it’s about her, Styles says, “She does not. But her name’s in it, so I'm a bit fucked with that one.”

  10. "Sign of the Times" almost had a very different lyric.

    In one revealing scene, we see Styles recording “Sign of the Times,” and he sings, “Why are we always fucking running from the bullets?” Later, a member of his writing team suggests he change “fucking” to “stuck here,” giving us the lyric we know and love today.

  11. He had a prosthetic face made for his "insane," high-flying "Sign of the Times" music video.

    Chances are you’ve seen those semi-creepy pics of Styles’s dummy from the music video. Turns out he had to have a prosthetic face made for the vid, and we see footage of Styles getting his face intricately molded. There’s also footage from the filming of the video, including Styles hanging from a helicopter hundreds of feet in the air. “It was crazy,” he says about the shoot. “There were so many moments during the video where I just thought, How is this a music video and how have my manager and anyone let me be attached to a helicopter in the sky? It was insane.”