Ever missed someone you once loved? Been jealous of where life takes them next? We all have — and Harry Styles made sure we knew he’s felt that, too, by adding a treasured voicemail from ex-girlfriend Camille Rowe to the end of his new song, “Cherry.” The track is one of several heartbreakers on the former One Direction member’s sophomore album, Fine Line, which debuted globally on December 13. But what is the French model, 32, actually saying in the message?
Luckily for us, fans and francophiles alike have done a little detective work and translated the short clip for those of us non-bilingual folks who didn’t pay attention in high school French. “Hey! Are you asleep? Oh, I’m sorry …” she began in the snippet, deciphered on Genius. “Well, no … Nope, it’s not important … Well then … We went to the beach and now we — Perfect!” The voicemail ended on the resounding sound of Camille saying her ex’s name, which seems fitting for the melancholic track.
Aside from the contents of the intimate moment, the song itself is a mediation on watching a lover move on — something that seemed particularly difficult for the 25-year-old. “I confess I can tell that you are at your best / I’m selfish so I’m hating it / I noticed that there’s a piece of you in how I dress / Take it as a compliment,” he sang before giving way to the chorus. “Don’t you call him ‘baby’ / We’re not talking lately / Don’t you call him what you used to call me.”
It’s universal, what he describes, until, of course, you note a few other lyrics in the verses. “I just miss your accent and your friends / Did you know I still talk to them?” he asked, noting his close relationship with some of the blonde beauty’s best pals, whom he’s been seen hanging out with to this day. He even made as close of a name drop as possible to her new man, Theo Niarchos, an art dealer. “Does he take you walking ’round his parents’ gallery?”
In Harry’s eyes, the song actually needed a real piece of Camille. “That’s just a voice note of my ex-girlfriend talking. I was playing guitar and she took a phone call — and she was actually speaking in the key of the song,” he told Rolling Stone over the summer. In an hour-long discussion with Apple’s Zane Lowe, he revealed that the clip was a welcomed missing piece to the song — and that the actress was cool with the addition.
“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 [sic] so pathetic.”
Hey, that’s part of breaking up, Harry. Thanks for making those of us with broken hearts feel a little less alone.