Watch Harry Styles’ stripped-back, single-take performance of ‘Boyfriends’

Styles is the first Western artist to perform on Japanese YouTube series 'The First Take'

Harry Styles has delivered an intimate performance of his song ‘Boyfriends’ for Japanese YouTube series, The First Take.

The performance depicts Styles delivering a stripped-back version of the ‘Harry’s House’ track against a clean white background, in line with the series’ typical style. Sarah Jones and Elin Sandberg provide backing vocals, while guitars come courtesy of Ny Oh and Mitch Rowland.

The series is known for challenging artists to perform any song of their liking, but in one take without any vocal or visual effects. Styles’ First Take performance echoes the arrangement of ‘Boyfriends’ he delivered at his Coachella headline set in April.

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Watch the performance below:

The performance was previously announced last week. The First Take series has previously featured K-pop acts including Tomorrow X Together and Stray Kids, alongside notable Japanese bands including CHAI. Styles’ appearance makes him the first Western artist featured by the programme.

Though released as part of the 2022 album ‘Harry’s House’, ‘Boyfriend’ was previously recorded for Styles’ 2019 effort, ‘Fine Line’. In an interview with Today, the former One Direction member shared that the track underwent multiple versions and arrangements, before its eventual inclusion on Styles’ 2022 album. “We could have rushed it to get it ready, and it just felt like there’s something special about it and I wanted to kind of take my time with it,” Styles said.

‘Harry’s House’ and the album’s lead single ‘As It Was’ have smashed several chart records since its release. Both the record and track simultaneously hold the number one album and number one track in several countries, including the US, UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and Belgium.

Meanwhile, last month, vinyl sales for ‘Harry’s House’ broke Taylor Swift’s debut week sales record for ‘Red’, recording 182,000 US vinyl sales within three days of release.

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In a four-star review, NME pronounced ‘Harry’s House’ his “best album yet”, with reviewer Rhian Daly praising the record as “a record that you want to take up residence in until you know its every nook and cranny in minute detail.”

Styles is slated to embark on an upcoming series of North American dates from August to November. The tour, named ‘Love On Tour’, will include a 10-night residency at New York’s Madison Square Garden, as well as dates in Los Angeles, Toronto, Austin and Chicago. Supporting acts for the tour include Blood Orange, Ben Harper, and Jessie Ware.

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