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Released: 2022

“Matilda” by Harry Styles is a poignant narrative of personal liberation and emotional self-sufficiency. The song delves deep into themes of family neglect, the quest for validation, and the journey to self-love and independence. There’s a lot of emotional depth here to look at, so let’s dive in and see what Mr. Styles is trying to convey.

In the first verse, Harry introduces us to Matilda, a character who’s trying desperately to escape the disapproval and apathy from her family. The line “you were riding your bike to the sound of ‘it’s no big deal’ ” paints a vivid image of Matilda escaping into freedom, while also dismissing her own pain as insignificant. Harry’s line, “nothing about the way that you were treated ever seemed especially alarming ’til now” might be a nod to how normalized toxic family relationships can become, until you have that moment of self-realization.

The chorus follows with a strong message about growing up, leaving behind what doesn’t serve you and creating your own world based on your terms. Here, Harry gives us a chorus of resilience and autonomy, as Matilda decides not to invite her family to her proverbial “party,” an act symbolizing her decision to exclude those who’ve hurt her from her newly reinvented world.

The second verse further expands on Matilda’s internal struggle. Harry sings, “Matilda, you talk of the pain like it’s all alright,” pointing to a mask of stoicism she wears, despite being deeply wounded. The following lines suggest that she has an internal strength powerful enough to push through her darkest days, highlighting her resilience.

What follows is a comforting bridge, a tenderly sung promise that time will eventually dull her pain, hinting at the healing passage of time. “I know they won’t hurt you anymore as long as you can let them go,” is an assertion that once Matilda has let go of her past, it can no longer have a hold on her future.

The song wraps back around to the chorus, but with a significant lyrical twist that underscores the journey Matilda has made. Instead of choosing not to invite her family due to their lack of love, Harry asserts, “you can start a family who will always show you love.” This denotes that she has moved on from her past and is ready to form a new family, one rooted in unconditional love and respect.

At its core, “Matilda” fiercely champions the power of self-love, growth, and healing. It’s a testament to embracing one’s imperfections and confronting personal ghosts, all wrapped up in Harry Styles’ emotive vocal performance and his knack for sparkling pop melodies. And that, my friends, is the beauty of the pop landscape – it can take you places you never expected.

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