Coked-up nights in New York City and sexy fleeting rendezvous are the images that come to mind upon hearing Harry Styles’ “Kiwi,” a gritty guitar-driven single off his debut solo album. But in his newly released music video, the former One Direction heartthrob opts for the exact opposite direction.
Prior to the music video, a statement, “No children or animals were harmed during the making of this film” is displayed against a black screen. The video opens with a young girl who looks remarkably like Styles with dark, curly hair and a blue floral suit bursting through the doors of a dim school hallway. Under her arm is a box of blue-frosted cupcakes, but she walks with a certain ferocity toward the end of the hall to a room where a massive food fight ensues.
During the first chorus that repeatedly screams “I’m having your baby, it’s none of your business,” tensions build among the well-dressed school children in the dessert-filled room. The camera pans to the intense facial expressions of children of all different races, a nod to the singer’s emphasis on diversity and equality. In the center of the room is a giant pile of beautifully decorated cakes and pastries. The suited girl remains the focus of the video, however, and is the first to throw a single blue cupcake across the room, thus commencing an innocently intense food fight.
The audience does not see Styles himself until just over two minutes into the video, when he enters the room with an army of puppies who charge into the frosted room to devour the remnants of the desserts upon Styles’ instruction. Styles dons the same blue suit as the girl, as well as a white pussy bow shirt that adds an extra feminine touch to the floral outfit. Styles is often regarded as one of the better-dressed men in music, and his current tour attire is littered with custom Gucci suits of rock star artistry. His fashion choices in “Kiwi” are no exception.
Toward the end, a small red-haired boy holds another, who appears to be “dying” with red cake crumbs spread over his stomach to create the image of a soldier dying in war. The image is odd for the light-hearted video, but may be an allusion to Styles’s first major movie role in Dunkirk, a critically acclaimed Christopher Nolan film about WWII that premiered this past summer.
The final scene of the video is a shot of Styles and the children lined up in class picture fashion inside a cluttered classroom. The camera zooms in on Styles, who stands in the center of the cluster of messy children. In the last seconds of the shot, Styles delivers his famous cheeky smirk that has been known to win over the hearts of many fans in the past.
Despite Styles’s fascination with ’70s rock that is illuminated through the hard rock sound of “Kiwi,” he laments that the comparisons to legends like Mick Jagger will not extend to his personal image in the music video. While Styles easily could have produced a video that plays on the industry trend of the objectification and over-sexualizing of beautiful women and glorification of the vices of the rock star life style, Styles thoughtfully chooses a safe approach through a playful video involving cheeky children, adorable puppies, and plenty of sweets. But the video calls into question whether Styles can mature beyond the young fan base he established during his time with One Direction. While his music certainly invites a more mature audience, the video may seem to be lacking in substance and artistry to older crowds.
Featured Image by Columbia Records