Yes, Harry Styles’ new song “Matilda” is about that Matilda. Well, sort of.
The Grammy winner has confirmed speculation that Roald Dahl’s iconic children’s book at least partly inspired the acoustic track on his recently released third album, ‘Harry’s House’.
“It was about an experience I had with someone,” he vaguely explained in NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Friday.
“It was kind of like, ‘OK, we’re going to disguise it by talking to Matilda now that she’s grown up, who’s been kind of abused by her family and stuff. How would you talk to her?
The 1988 novel tells the story of an extraordinarily gifted young girl who learns to read on her own to escape her ruthless parents and the school principal. It was adapted into a beloved movie in 1996 (starring Mara Wilson as the title character) and a Broadway musical in 2013.
Styles’ “Matilda” finds him singing, “You can drop it / You can throw a party with everyone you know / And don’t invite your family ’cause they never showed you love / You don’t have to be sorry for leaving and growing up.
The 28-year-old former One Direction member shared that the idea of guilt played a big part in co-writing the song with Thomas “Kid Harpoon” Hull, Tyler Johnson and Amy Allen.
“I think people have so much guilt with things that they don’t necessarily need to feel guilty sometimes,” he told NPR. “And I think it’s your right to kind of protect the space around you, to protect yourself and take care of yourself.”
Styles also made sure to acknowledge that while it wasn’t up to him to ‘experience someone else’ on himself, he wanted to ‘reassure’ his mysterious muse that he was ‘listening’. their story.
“Harry’s House” hit stores and streaming services on Friday to rave reviews, as did his 2017 self-titled debut solo album and 2019 follow-up “Fine Line.”
Styles will perform his new album in its entirety for the first time on Friday night with a “One Night Only” concert at UBS Arena in Elmont, NY.