“A repeated refrain in the song is simply “I love you.” Something we didn’t hear very confidently from Zayn until 2020. But Harry said it rather profusely once Zayn had left him in 2015. (Even Niall admitted more than once that the only reason Harry included the name “Olivia” in the song was because it rhymed with: I love ya.)”
For One Direction’s final studio album Made In The AM released in November 2015, Harry is credited as the principal writer on 4 songs. Today I want to explore the reoccurring themes found within those songs, chiefly those that would later bleed into the lyrics of his debut solo album released in 2017. Primarily in “From The Dining Table” and “Meet Me In The Hallway.”
I’ve made it clear over the years that I have no doubt these songs were crafted with Zayn in mind, and they are essentially a diary entry of the things Harry was experiencing at the time (both before and after Zayn left the band.)
I believe each track covers their fallout in some regard, includes lots of reconciliatory language on Harry’s end, includes a desire to make amends, includes descriptions of metal anguish, and lastly the tracks hint at Harry revealing just how much Zayn has meant to him all along. These are powerful songs that remain underrated to this very day because no one realizes who truly inspired them.
Made In The A.M. (Tracklist)
1 – If I Could Fly.
I believe this song was inspired in part by Blaze Foley’s “If I Could Only Fly” since he is an artist that appears on Harry’s 2016 Another Man Mixtape with “Oh Love.”
The shared motif of “flying” found throughout Zarry’s art is just spectacular. I can imagine them laying awake late at night and whispering about their dreams of solo careers and their shared desire to get away from the band, which I believe they characterized as flying.
I say this all the time, but the intimacy in this lyric alone is gut-wrenchingly beautiful. This is Harry saying regardless of anyone else in his acquaintance (friends, family, co-workers) his truest self is known by one person only. They are the only one he would ever consider revealing his heart to.
Wow…I cannot begin to process the level of love Harry expresses sometimes. It’s simply sublime (quite literally breathtaking.)
Here’s what I posted about this lyric on Instagram last year:
They are only the realest version of themselves with each other, and that’s only when they’re alone.
“For your eyes only…” also tells me that we (Harry’s supporters) know very little about him, despite how much we try to observe and understand him through his art. Not to flatter ourselves too much, but I do personally believe Zarries may be the sub-fandom closest to recognizing who the real Harry is, but even still, we’re only scratching the surface with our material.
One thing remains clear regardless of what we do or don’t know at the end of the day: Harry loves Zayn deeply, he will never stop loving him, and he has been writing about him since he was at least 18 years old. He is now a 27 year old man and hardly anything has changed. Zayn’s eyes are the only ones allowed to see the real Harry, and I envy him for that.
I believe a large part of Harry trying to reconcile with Zayn after their 2015 fallout (which all his MITAM songs allude to) was him being more vulnerable and more unguarded about his feelings. Harry spoke in depth of the importance of vulnerability when trying to draw closer to another human being, and how integral it is to building lasting relationships that are worthwhile.
It’s something we saw him express in the interview with Zane Lowe in late 2019. He even agreed with Zane’s assessment that “Golden” perfectly embodies the concept that vulnerability builds solid relationships, and I think it’s just laughable at this point for people to keep pretending he’s not referencing Zayn in that song.
Point being, we already witnessed Harry practicing the philosophy of vulnerability in the lyrics to IICF, where he desired to show someone his heart in case they ever forgot who they were. This is a gorgeous sentiment that for me transcends traditional ideas of romance, and seems to encapsulate the strange almost unidentifiable relationship they had over the years. We tend to call it “love” or “dating” because those are commonly accepted terms, but there has never been anything conventional or common about their bond.
Beyond that, the overarching sentiment in this song is an impending separation. This is one of the greatest proofs available that Harry knew Zayn was leaving before he left. In WITW the notion that Harry knew Zayn was preparing to leave is pretty unquestionable. But in IICF you have to read between the lines a bit:
If I could fly
I’d be comin’ right back home to you
I think I might
Give up everything, just ask me to
This lyric suggests that they have already separated. But lyrics throughout the song vacillate and sound like the person hasn’t left yet. Such as the preparatory sentiment in “I’ll show you my heart, FOR WHEN you’re lonely, and forget who you are…”
You must ask why this person is in danger of forgetting who they are in the future? What changes are taking place where they have the potential to lose themselves so deeply? And why does Harry feel that showing them HIS heart will help them remember who THEY are? Well, you just have to look a little further into the song for that. Harry goes on to say: “I’m missing half of me, when we’re apart…”
So in Harry’s mind, they reflect each other so deeply that he feels incomplete without this person by his side, and he knows the other person feels the same. That sounds like someone he’s been around for an extended period of time, likely during his formative years, almost like a sibling. Someone he came-of-age with. These tend to be the most undying types of bonds.
It then quickly becomes obvious Harry is singing to Zayn, someone who is preparing to leave behind his entire career, and all his friends and advisors, and everything he has known for the last 5 years to go off alone. Harry is afraid of what may happen to him in that time alone, and rightfully so. He knows Zayn better than anyone, so he anticipated the emptiness, the disorientation, and the alienation Zayn would suffer after making this move. And these are the exact same feelings Zayn admitted to suffering in his biography after he left the band. He specifically mentioned how scary it was to be left alone with his own thoughts after being surrounded with so many people for so long.
For your eyes only
I’ll show you my heart
For when you’re lonely
And forget who you are
So if you listen to IICF from the perspective of Harry literally preparing Zayn for leaving the band and telling him how much he will miss him, it all makes sense. Especially when you consider the lyric: “I’ve got scars, even though they can’t always be seen. And pain gets hard, but now you’re here and I don’t feel a thing.”
This could both be referencing how Harry feels broken and alone whenever he is apart from Zayn, and then feels relieved (the pain abates) whenever they finally reunite. Or it could be referencing the fact that while Zayn is still there before leaving the band, Harry is not suffering yet, but he knows he will once he is gone. Like: “But [for] now you’re here and I don’t feel a thing.”
I can feel your heart inside of mine
I feel it, I feel it
I’ve been goin’ out of my mind
I feel it, I feel it
Know that I’m just wastin’ time
And I hope that you don’t run from me
It’s also pretty obvious Harry is singing to Zayn when he openly alludes to pursuing him after he leaves, like we already know he did. (Read about that here!) In IICF he says: “I’ve been going out of my mind, know that I’m just wasting time, and I hope that you don’t run from me.”
Phuckkk, that hits so hard when you take a moment to realize this man was telling everyone exactly what he was going to do the minute the band ended. He’s just like, “Don’t you phucking run from me, because I’m coming, nothing can stop me. This band shit is nothing, it no longer holds meaning for me. I’m just biding and wasting my time until I’m free of this tour and I will follow you.”
DO YOU GET IT?? It’s super super powerful because that is exactly what this man did. First he pushed for the hiatus immediately after Zayn left against the wishes of the other boys, including LOUIS, and thennnn this man went after Zayn very openly and undeniably. Fine Line tells this story quite vividly!! So does the 2017 video linked above!
PAGE TWO: Walking In The Wind