The internet literally rules our lives this day in age. It is always in our pockets, we’re always talking about the latest tweet, picture, post, you name it on a daily basis. Being online consumes us in a way that is dangerous, but also in a way that can bring us together. The 1975 explored those feelings and more in their third album titled A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, released November 30th. In one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year, we hear front man, Matty Healy, sing about his past drug addiction, finding love, and modern day social issues, all entangled in having to do with using the internet.
There is lots to unpack in every song we hear on this album. Especially in possibly the band’s most important song, “Love It If We Made It.” Every line knocks the wind out of you, starting the song with, “We’re fucking in a car, shooting heroin, saying controversial things just for the hell of it.” Quite a way to begin a song, but that’s not even the most exciting part. Healy fit everything we are dealing with-not just in the United States with quotes from Donald Trump being slipped into it- but worldwide, such as sexism, racism, police brutality, immigration laws, the justice system, and drugs. After every verse Healy repeats “Modernity has failed us,” meaning the modern world has done us wrong. We should have made more progress in all of these aspects, modernity is not what anyone thought it would be during this time. “Love It If We Made It” seems like the anthem for liberals of this generation, and maybe a song that will go down in history as, not as controversial, but a step in the direction of change.
Another song that could cause some kind of “controversy” is “I Like America and America Likes Me.” The most standout lyrics are the repetitive “Would you please listen, would you please say something?” and “Kids don’t want rifles, they want supreme.” This is a song all about begging for gun control. Asking for the important people-our lawmakers, the Supreme Court, the president-to listen to the kids and their families that are being haunted by the nightmare that is weak gun laws, and then say something, or do something to change it. “Kids don’t rifles, they want supreme,” is a metaphor based off of a poster seen at a March For Our Lives rally that said “It’s easier to buy a gun than Supreme.” Supreme is an expensive clothing brand that sells out within seconds of a line drop. Obviously kids would rather have their favorite clothing brand than rifles in their schools.
On a softer note, “Be My Mistake” and “Mine” are where we get to hear Healy bare his feelings about love, being afraid of commitment, and fitting into social norms. “Be My Mistake” is a song almost everyone can relate to about wanting someone or something they know isn’t good for them, but almost feeling an unavoidable pull into the direction of that person or thing. We also get to hear Healy’s voice stripped away from all the heavy background production and ’80’s pop synth, and listen to it for purely what it is. “Mine” is another song that isn’t quite as acoustic as “Be My Mistake,” but Healy’s voice still shines through. This sounds like a song you’d hear in jazz club back in the ’50’s when it was time to slow things down for a little while. It’s all about having a mutual love in a romantic relationship, but feeling like he just can’t settle down. It could possibly because that’s what society wants you to do, and Healy has never been one to conform, or because he just doesn’t want to at this point in his life. From the sounds of it, one thing Healy does know, though, is that he is in love and with the right person.
The 1975 are known to put songs on their albums with either no lyrics or minimal lyrics. They’re not quite interludes, but maybe more of an instrumental break in the action. “How To Draw/Petrichor” is one of those songs. It comes early on in the album as track number 4, but for fans of the last album, it sounds like it could be along the lines of “Lost My Head.” It starts off slower and then goes into an electronic break down, which I assume is “Petrichor.” It was a little shocking to hear such heavy EDM influences on some of the songs, this one included, since The 1975 are usually either strictly rock and roll or strictly pop. It gave them a new dimension to add to their work.
Ending the album is sure to be crowd favorites, “I Couldn’t Be More In Love” and “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes).” Matty has said in past interviews that “I Couldn’t Be More In Love” reads as love song, but in actuality, it isn’t. It’s a bit hard to decipher, but it sounds like it sums up wanting to love something/someone so badly that you’ll look for it anywhere. In Healy’s case, he tried to find it in drugs. This sounds like a gospel song with the inflection in Healy’s voice and the choir in the background, with a classic ’80’s pop flare-careful to not make it sounds too much like hymn. “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)” was one of the most talked about songs on the album before it was even released. For fans that have been around for a while, it’s sort of an updated version of “Me,” but with a more optimistic approach to life. He wants to just die and give up, but then also seeing no point in just ending it all. This could relate to Healy’s approach to the The 1975 as a band. It was his plan all along to end the band after the third album to have some great ending to an era of his life, but seeing no point in killing off something that makes him get out of bed everyday. It’s a great, almost “fade to black” way to end an album. It’s a song you could imagine hearing during the credits of a coming of age movie you just watched. In fact, most songs on this album could be in the background an ’80’s teenage romance film. The part that is especially telling about this song is the last forty or so seconds when there is suspenseful music playing meaning there is more to come. And there is, The 1975 are set to release their second album of the Music For Cars era in February of next year.
The 1975 are doing the most important work of their career. Matty Healy was right when he said there is no other band that is doing anything as interesting as The 1975 right now. It sounds pretentious, but it’s true. There is no other band that is making the kind of music they’re making, singing the lyrics they’re singing, and putting on shows like they do. Not to be biased, but we needed this album. We needed it to remind us of the rhetoric happening right now and to resist it, to spread love, and to take care of ourselves. They took on a job that most are either too cowardly to do, or just can’t do it in the way only The 1975 knows how. Some would say The 1975 are brave for putting themselves out there the way they have, and some may say they shouldn’t get involved in societal affairs, but I don’t think either. It seems like they’re doing what they know how to do best, writing music that is authentically them.