Harry Styles seems to be cribbing from another famous Harry in his new video for “Adore You”: Harry Nilsson. The cheeky, weird and magical video echoes, in part, Nilsson’s equally storybook-esque concept album-film, early Seventies masterpiece The Point!
Style’s video centers around a figurative (and literal) fish out of water: the only boy in the dour Isle of Eroda who can smile and his unnamed fish pal. Nilsson’s film follows a similar conceit: It’s about round-headed boy named Oblio who lives in a Pointed Village where everyone has pyramid heads, and his trusty companion, a dog named Arrow. Styles also enlists Rosalía for dramatic voiceover that seems to echo Ringo Starr’s The Point! narration.
But it’s not just the visuals that appear to be a nod to Nilsson: It’s also the way Styles earnestly flirts with the absurd. What could be a simple ballad about love and devotion becomes all the more endearing when delivered to a pet fish that continues growing and growing to more outlandish proportions. “I’d walk through fire for you/Just let me adore you/Like it’s the only thing I’ll ever do,” he promises the scaly creature, turning a sweet love song into something entirely cheekier. By proxy, Nilsson’s Oblio serenades his dog with the romantic track “Me and My Arrow”: “Wherever we go, everyone knows/It’s me and my arrow.” Whether sung to a lover or dog, the song has dual purposes.
Styles nails this duality with “Adore You” — elevating a good pop song to something closer to absurdist art. Styles isn’t just a crooner with a blazing smile — he’s also just kind of weird. In a previous interview with Rolling Stone, Styles talked about his fandom of Nilsson, discussing how all his favorite songwriters dipped their toes into the pop realm, citing Nilsson’s 1971 tropical hangover, “Coconut.” “You have to conquer the fear of pop,” Styles said.
Rolling Stone was unable to confirm whether or not the video was inspired by Nilsson, but it stands to reason that it could be. Styles is a fan, plus Nilsson is currently back in the public eye: The Point! turns 50 in 2020 and will get its first HD digital release on February 11th, 2020, and Nilsson’s posthumous album, Losst and Founnd, dropped November 22.