The year 1975 marked a number of firsts. The Rocky Horror Show opened at Belasco Theater. Microsoft, mood rings and pet rocks were introduced. Saturday Night Live premiered on NBC. Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” won album of the year and Margaret Thatcher was the first woman elected to lead Great Britain’s Conservative Party. It also was fourteen years prior to the birth of The 1975’s lead singer, Matthew Healy. The band and their newest album, “I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It” are full of contradictions, but somehow both work in a mesmerizing and powerful way.
The fourth EP and follow-up to self-titled album with similar themes of sex, love, depression and stereotypes, but the content is dealt with with a deeper maturity than in “The 1975.” It is almost as if the EP has two faces: one as an anthem of ‘80s pop-synth and the other, as a dark emo anthology.
The second track “Love Me” is reminiscent of David Bowie’s “Fame.” The tune does not do much in the way of vocal range, but boy is it catchy. “UGH” is unapologetic as Healy sings about addiction. The upbeat rhythm section and tone are almost comical in their juxtaposition to the subject matter.
In contrast, in “She Lays Down” you can hear Healy’s despair as he sings about a woman who can’t rely on chemicals to make her better anymore. He laments that “in the end, she chose cocaine/ but it couldn’t fix her brain.” If you get to a point while listening where you think you accidentally paused the song or switched albums, you’ll know you’ve hit one of the few ambient compositions like the title track or “Please Be Naked.”
While the 17 track, 75 minute album seems a little disjointed, the final product reveals how The 1975 has transformed in the last couple of years. Instead of fighting the “boy band connotation” the Manchester group seems to have embraced the notion that they are four boys in a band who want to joke around and sing about real issues. Despite previously being appalled by their mass social media following, they recognize they have an audience who can be inspired through music to be real and authentic.
Article: Alx Bear
Cover Image: Shayne Hanley