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On “Boyfriends,” Harry Styles speaks about the way many boyfriends tend to mistreat their partners by mediating on a troubled relationship between two people. He told Zane Lowe of Apple Music that much of the song draws from the relationships he’s seen his sister and friends in. Styles performed the song before its release during his first performance at the annual Coachella music festival on April 15, 2022. In the interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music, Harry talked about working on the song: "“Boyfriends” was written right at the end of "Fine Line". I fineshed the album and we touched on a last time, there was like an extra week growing to write some stuff […] we were recording “Lights Up” […] and at the end of that session everyone left, and I started writing “Boyfriends” and it almost felt like “Ok, there’s a version where we get this ready to put on [Fine Line]”, and I think there was something about that just felt like “It’s just gonna have its time, so like, let’s not rush to get it done.” And we did so many versions of it, you know, it was as like, vocal and acoustic, and then vocal and this with that, you know, electric guitar and then this and then that. […] We did the harmonies on everything […] and in the end it was like “Ok, we need, like, there’s something that it has to be, to be what it should be” and Ben Harper played on it, it’s his hands playing that guitar. And it’s like the guitar where he wrote his first three albums. And he’d gifted it to his daughter, and had to ask for it back to borrow to play it on the [song], but he didn’t tell her what it was for, so I believe now will be her finding out where he played it. But thank you for letting us borrow it. It was just like a singular moment I think for all us, we’re such big fan of him as well and it just fell like a really special moment." In the same interview, Harry told a little about the meaning of the song: "I think the good part of [“Boyfriends”] is that it is everything. It’s both acknowledging my own behavior. It’s looking at behavior that I’ve witnessed. I grew up with a sister, so it’s watching her date people and watching friends date people, and people don’t treat each other very nicely sometimes. It was one of those really quick, just say what you think of boyfriends."

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