In the era of Taylor Swift, it’s not uncommon for albums to be picked apart for clues about who they’re about, and Harry Styles’ Fine Line songs about Camille Rowe (or so fans suspect) are no exceptions. The former One Direction member, 25, released his sophomore album on Friday, Dec. 13 (which, coincidentally, was the birthday of another of his famous exes Taylor Swift). The 13-track LP contains songs like “Watermelon Sugar,” “Adore You” and “Cherry,” which Styles revealed in a recent interview on Apple Music’s Zane Lowe features a voicemail from one of his ex-girlfriends.
“When we listened back to the album, I asked her to add it in,” he said. “I wanted [‘Cherry’] to reflect how I felt then. I was feeling not great. It’s all about being not great. Because, you get petty when things don’t go the way you want it. There’s parts that’s so pathetic.”
Turns out, that ex was French model Camille Rowe, 33, whom the British singer dated from July 2017 to July 2018. The relationship was so serious that Rowe even met Styles’ mother. The heartthrob’s friend and collaborator Tom Hull told Rolling Stone in August that the breakup “had a big impact” on Styles and his music. The former boy bander also hinted that the relationship was a big part of Fine Line to Rolling Stone. “It’s not like I’ve ever sat and done an interview and said, ‘So I was in a relationship, and this is what happened,’” Styles told the magazine. “Because, for me, music is where I let that cross over. It’s the only place, strangely, where it feels right to let that cross over.”
Still confused over who Fine Line is about? We dissected the album’s juiciest songs and lyrics below.
“Cherry” is the most obvious song to be about Rowe on Fine Line. For one, the song samples a voicemail (in French) that the model left for her then-boyfriend when they were together. “Coucou! Tu dors? Oh, j’suis désolée / Bah non, nan, c’est pas important / Bon allez … on a été à la plage, et maintenant on … / Parfait!” she said, which translates to English: “Hey! Are you asleep? Oh, I’m sorry / Well no, nope, it’s not important / Well then … we went to the beach and now we … / Perfect!”
Fans also believe that “Cherry” is a mashup of Styles’ and Rowe’s first names. The song also hints at Rowe’s rumored relationship with art dealer Theo Niarchose, who owns Los Angeles gallery 6817 Melrose. “I just miss your accent and your friends / Did you know I still talk to them? Does he take you walking ‘round his parents’ gallery?” Styles sings on the track.
“Falling” is another track fans have identified to be about Rowe. In the song, Styles references a restaurant called Beachwood Café. “And I’m well aware I write too many songs about you / And the coffee’s out at the Beachwood Cafe,” Styles sings in the song before going on about how he doesn’t know who he is without his ex. In an interview with Lucky Brand, Rowe revealed that Beachwood Café in Los Angeles is one of her go-to breakfast spots. “I’d wake up with the sun and walk down to Beachwood Café for some eggs and toast, and then have friends come over to my house to swim. I’d read in the sun, cook dinner with my boyfriend, and watch the Sopranos,” she said when asked what her ideal day in L.A. looks like.
The interview was published in September 2019, months after Rowe’s split from Styles, so the “boyfriend” she references likely isn’t the singer. But Beachwood Café could still be a spot that both Rowe and Styles frequented in their relationship.
“Watermelon Sugar,” Styles’ second single from Fine Line, is also believed to be about Rowe. For starters, the title references Richard Brutigan’s novel In Watermelon Sugar, which Rowe told Elle U.K. in 2017 was her favorite book. The book is about post-apocalyptic world where people build everything, from houses to clothes, out of watermelon sugar, which can be harvested by removing the water from watermelons. It’s a trippy concept, but TBH, it sounds like something both Rowe and Styles could bond over.
“I’m just thinking out loud / I don’t know if I could ever go without / Watermelon sugar high / Watermelon sugar high,” Styles sings in the song.
There is one clue that connects “Adore You” to Rowe. The lyric: “Walk in your rainbow paradise (Paradise) / Strawberry lipstick state of mind (State of mind).” Several fans believe that the lyric references a line in “Watermelon Sugar,” which is pretty much confirmed to be about Rowe. (The book title is just too much to be a coincidence.) Some internet users have pointed out the lyric’s similarity to this “Watermelon Sugar” line: “Tastes like strawberries on a summer evening.”
However, there is another possible analysis to “Adore You.” Some fans theorize that Styles’ mention of a “rainbow paradise” in the lyric is a nod toward the LGTBQ+ community. Though Styles has never spoken explicitly about his sexuality, fans have pointed to his first album’s song “Medicine” as evidence that the singer may be sexually fluid. “The boys and the girls are in, I’ll mess around with them, and I’m OK with it,” he sings in the song. Fans have also pointed to the cover of Fine Line, which feature bisexual pride colors: pink, purple and blue. Regardless of what Styles’ sexuality is, we’re certain he’s an ally.
“Don’t Be So Lonely”
In “Don’t Be So Lonely,” Harry sings: “Don’t call me ‘baby’ again / You’ve got your reasons / I know that you’re trying to be friends / I know you mean it / Don’t call me ‘baby’ again / It’s hard for me to go home.” Some fans believe the song is a reference to “Cherry,” which is a purposeful misspelling of the French word “chérie,” a term of endearment that means “darling” or “baby” in English. Given this, fans theorize that Styles and Rowe used “chérie” as a pet name for each other, which is what he’s referencing in “Don’t Be So Lonely.”
“Harry & Camille probably called each other ‘ma chérie’ which means my dear/sweetheart in English, hence he said: “Don’t you call him ‘baby’…” in Cherry & “Don’t call me ‘baby’ again…” in To Be So Lonely. And Harry might’ve pronounced Chérie like Cherry ,” one fan tweeted.
“Golden” is the first track on Fine Line, and while there are no overt clues about Rowe, the song is a heartbreaking ballad about love. “I know you were way too bright for me / I’m hopeless, broken, so you wait for me in the sky / Brown my skin just right / You’re so golden,” Styles sings in the song. If we were stretching, the title could be a reference to Rowe’s blonde hair, which contrasts with Styles’ curly brown locks.
Some have also pointed the song’s similarity to a lyric in “Adore You”: “Brown skin and lemon over ice / Would you believe it?” “I was wondering what this lyric meant in Adore You, then I heard Golden then thought damn,,,, this is Harry and Camille. Harry is the man with brown skin and Camille is the girl with blonde (lemon/golden) hair,” one fan tweeted.