Adrie’s Beats of the Week: Harry Styles ‘Matilda’ (I’m Back Edition)

This week, an updated review of a song very close to my heart.


Ellie Larsen

A photo from last summer, with the two people that helped make Beats possible the most.

If any of you are seniors like me, you may have a little bit of an idea of how I am feeling about these next couple weeks. I never really thought much about graduation itself, but things like prom I have been dreaming about since I was a little kid. In a way, I never thought it was going to happen, and I certainly didn’t know how it would go. I have written a lot about songs that are nostalgic to me in the lifetime of “Adrie’s Beats of the Week,” but in an effort to move forward, we are going to talk about something a little different today. 

This past year could be described with a lot of different words. As a senior, I felt caught between wanting to make the most of the time that I had left here, and not always having the capacity to do so. I was however, supported in that by a lot of incredible people. I have been trying for a long time to figure out the words to express that to them. 

I worked with a lot of really amazing individuals these past two years, and trying to move on from all of that now has been just as difficult as I though it was going to be. This song reminds me of that. To me, it encapsulates the bittersweet feeling of letting go. 

Last spring, true fans will remember, I wrote a review of Harry Styles’ new(est) album Harry’s House. I wasn’t a overall huge fan, but I have found myself listening to the album now. One song in particular. 

I said in my original review of “Matilda,” “I have very conflicted feelings about songs that include names so obviously, but I think it’s done pretty properly here. It’s very sad girl indie esque, and I don’t hate it.” 

I no longer standby that statement. I am here not to officially say, I love this song. 

The acoustic background is really beautiful, and I think that it fits the feeling of the song perfectly. It’s not sad exactly, but definitely slower. I think part of the reason that I enjoy it so much is because it doesn’t really feel like a Harry Styles song (none of the album really did to me), and I think that is reflected in the instrumentals. 

The lyrics are stunning, poetic, and are on the nose for me right now. Not everything that he says, but “you don’t have to be sorry for leavin’ and growin’ up,” gets me every time. According to Genius, the song is loosely based off of the Roald Dahl book Matilda, which makes sense listening to it. Genius also says of the song “The song asserts a common theme in the album that home is not a place, but a state of mind,” which I think is just as good of a description as any. 

 I, and maybe a lot of other people, had this expectation of what the end of my school years would be like. I imagined myself at prom, and graduation, and doing all of the things that you hear about, like in a movie. Everything was shiny in my mind, and beautiful. In fact, things have not been that way. I have discovered that things don’t just happen like that, and they probably don’t really for anyone. I thought that I would be excited to leave, when I am in fact sorry. And I thought I would feel better by now about growing up, when I am in fact sorry about that too. 

This song to me describes well how I feel about this stage of my life. Not quite sad yet, but certainly not joyful, as I often feel like I should be. I, however, have found a family here, and I won’t ever be letting that go. I think that many other people are having that experience too, trying to hold on to the communities that they have found, while letting go of the routine that got them there. If anyone is finding that true for themselves, I recommend listening to this song. It won’t fix the sorrow, but it might lessen the pain.