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Harry Styles’s third album, “Harry’s House,” just debuted at the top of the Billboard chart with the year’s biggest opening-week sales: 521,500 equivalent album units. His upcoming tour will feature 15 performances at Madison Square Garden in New York, and 15 performances at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, Calif. By most conventional metrics, Styles is one of pop’s biggest stars.

And yet his music has not always been as successful as his celebrity might suggest — he has had just six Top 10 hits. He makes 1970s-style pop that is largely out of step with the current landscape, and he often draws more attention for his intense charisma and his gender-fluid sartorial flair than for his songs.

On this week’s Popcast, a conversation about Styles’s sometimes circular musical journey, the ways his time in One Direction helped shaped his public image and how internet fandom has bolstered his career.


  • Kaitlyn Tiffany, a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of “Everything I Need I Get From You: How Fangirls Created the Internet as We Know It”

  • Lindsay Zoladz, who writes about music for The New York Times and others

Connect With Popcast. Become a part of the Popcast community: Join the show’s Facebook group and Discord channel. We want to hear from you! Tune in, and tell us what you think at popcast@nytimes.com. Follow our host, Jon Caramanica, on Twitter: @joncaramanica.

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