The 1975 Album Review

What many people don’t know about The 1975 is that they are not a new band. The 1975 were a band long before their successful self-titled debut album that came out last year, ten years to be exact. But ten years ago they weren’t called The 1975, they had an abundance of names like: Drive Like I Do, The Slowdown, Talkhouse, and The Big Sleep. Their sound was typical teenage rock band, but they disappeared, never to be heard of again. Years later The 1975 came back on the music scene with a vengeance, it was the same band, but everything was different. Gone was the teen angst rock, and in its place is modular synth alternative rock, similar to M83 and Wolfgang era Phoenix. Four EP’s led up to the 1975’s debut album release, and they were wildly successful. After each EP the Manchester four piece received more media attention. Critic reviews were amazing, naming them the next big thing in pop music. Ethereal interludes and the band’s black and white aesthetic showed that this band is more than just a pop band, but artists. They had a second chance to make a first impression, which is hard to do. The first song on the album, appropriately titled “The 1975”, makes a statement considering the band and the album shares the same name. It says we are here and here to stay. The 1975 represent the hardships of being a teenager, the confusing, cringe worthy aspects of youth that we all go through, which is part of their charm and what makes them relatable as artists.
The 1975 is influenced by 80’s pop with traces of alternative- rock, but they are not any particular genre. The lead singer Matty Healy credits John Hughes, who is the genius behind the 80’s teen movies like “The Breakfast Club”, and “Sixteen Candles” to the making of their album. In a “The Guardian” article Healy says,”We’re massive fans of John Hughes, we wanted to make a record that was almost a soundtrack to our teenage years. If he made a movie about us, this would be the soundtrack.” (Hann 2013).The album embraces the self-loathing and uncertainty that comes with being a teenager at every turn. Sex, drugs, and young love is the main focus in every song.
The second song of the album, “The City” starts off strong with powerhouse drums and makes you want to dance in your seat. The beat is so infectious and the hook, Yeah you wanna find love then you know where the city is, is something that is so catchy that it gets stuck in your head all day.
Healy’s voice is scraggly and it’s hard to understand him which is apparent throughout the rest of the album. Contrary to most English acts, Healy’s Manchester accent is thick when he sings, and it makes you wonder if he’s putting on an act. This is apparent in songs like “Chocolate”, but it works because it gives the band an edge that similar acts like The Neighborhood, and Two Door Cinema Club lack. Healy’s voice has a range to it that no one would expect. His voice has a unique finesse; it can be sweet, then in the next second growl as it does in “Robbers” without the slightest hesitation. Even more surprising Healy does a little rapping on the album, he is not the next Kanye, but it shows he can execute anything with ease.
“Chocolate” is the most popular song of the album, if you don’t know The 1975, then you at least know “Chocolate”. It has an indie-pop cool vibe that’s impossible to dislike. The strongest songs of the album are “Sex” and “Robbers”. “Sex” is different than all the other songs of the album sound-wise. Instead of the electro-synth guitar riffs that one associates with The 1975, “Sex” is a more rock based song that pays tribute to The 1975’s, Drive Like I Do days. It almost didn’t make the album, which is surprising because the way the hard beats, and the romanticized lyrics juxtapose each other creates something magical.
“Robbers” is eerie and dark, with an atmospheric guitar line. Healy’s voice is saturated with emotion, and he pushes himself more than he has with any other song. The music cuts out, then in the next second Healy screams “Now everybody’s dead!” This track is chilling because of the melancholy tone and vocals, then the repetition of “You look so cool,” echoes in a way that makes you miss something you never had. The eclectic layers add to the hauntingly beautiful mood of the song without being distracting. This spin of a love song, simply put, is breathtaking.
On the other hand some songs are lackluster. “M.O.N.E.Y” has a strange heavily synth- jazz tone that sounds glitchy, but as the song goes on the guitar solo at the end makes up for its shakey beginnings. The 1975 are not a pop band, but their song “Girls” goes against that statement. It is so sweet it leaves an after taste in your mouth, but it is still a good dance tune nonetheless.
Ambient intermissions are also a part of this album. These songs are less than 90 seconds and they are purely instrumental. “An Encounter” breaks up the pop numbers of the album, then “Heart Out” comes on unexpectedly with its synthy bass line, jazzy sax, and guitar hiccups, getting you excited to hear what’s next on this album. “12”signifies the close of this album, but that doesn’t mean it’s over. “Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You” is the last song of the album, and its emotional piano ballad is different from anything on the album.
The 1975’s music is life-affirming pop with their lyrics about teen escapades, and is reminiscent of sunny road trips and teenage hormones, while on the other hand, their image is dour. The 1975’s aesthetic juxtaposes their music in a way that no other band has been smart enough to think of. Most of their music videos and interviews are shot in grey scale. Even the album cover is simple, a glowing rectangle with just the words The 1975. Songs like “Pressure” and “Menswear” have a dark, evocative tone that keeps the album from being boring.
This album has so many different personalities, from the R&B inspired sax, to the indie-pop tone. This album doesn’t know who it is, but The 1975 gets away with it because it demonstrates how disorienting it is to be a teenager. This album is everything and more, it’s timeless, cohesive, and what every pop album should be. The 1975 have so much more to say, and I can’t wait to hear more.


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