The 1975 is like a postmodernist, pop, mood movement.
I’m too mainstream to be real, so this isn’t typically what I would gravitate towards. However, I’m always down for an interesting aesthetic, and this is where The 1975 grabs my attention.
Their music hangs in the delicate balance between self-deprecating and self-indulgent, which is pretty much exactly who I am. It’s covered from top to bottom in sharp synth beats and drippy guitar chords. Paired with lead singer Matty Healy’s flowery punk vocals, their debut album The 1975 is a jam for any season, situation, or sob fest.
When I first started writing this post in September of last year (!!!), the band wasn’t nearly as famous or appreciated as they are now. It feels like just yesterday I was sulkily trudging through the snow up to my high school, moodily listening to “Menswear,” secretly hoping I could keep this band my secret forever. But, unfortunately, they became indie-pop-alt-rockstars, and I’m just that bitch who bought their album the day it came out, sight unseen, just for kicks.
Perhaps The 1975’s greatest strength lies in their locked-in aesthetic, as I previously mentioned. It’s sad-pop, a genre that’s rare and hard to hit. For the band, it’s really effortless — all-black wardrobe, half-shaved head, British, dry humor, pessimistic outlook, dreamy sensibilities. In this way, it makes sense that their lead album draws inspiration from 1980’s John Hughes films; Healy shared in an interview with radio.com, “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.”
A John Hughes movie about The 1975 would undoubtedly feature concerning amounts of alcohol and drugs, but I would pay an inappropriate amount of money to see it. And Healy isn’t too off the mark. The 1975 resonates with late teen-dom. It’s an echoing beat that seamlessly correlates with life events (or at least my life events) and spins you into a cocoon of cozy alternative melodies. It’s an album for the ages.
Since I’m such a fan, I thought I’d share some of my favorite songs and why I love them so much:
The band uses a lot of musical interludes, and while that’s not necessarily something I like, it just works here. “The 1975” is easily the best of the short tracks. It’s the first song on the album, and it sets such a precedent for what’s to follow. It’s hazy and kind of magical.
I’ve had a lot of mixed feelings towards “The City” in the past, but at the moment, I’m really digging it. Granted, it is the band’s opening number on their North American tour right now, and I did just see them in concert, and I do live in the Greatest City on Earth, so maybe this all combined makes me feel a little bit sentimental towards the tune. Nevertheless, some lines just hit the right marks; specifically, “Don’t call it a fight when you know it’s a war.”
“Chocolate” is the most popular The 1975 song, and for good reason — it’s alternative, but almost chic in how pop it is. It works for a party, a stroll to class, while running on the treadmill, when crying in your room — it’s so good for anything. “Dressed in black, head to toe” is one of my personal mantras/style necessities.
I have such strong feelings for “Talk!” because it’s a song that so easily could be over-looked on such a concrete album. It’s a little shorter than the other songs, and a bit more erratic, but it’s one of my all-time favorites. It just deserves to be watched/listened to live, because the performance Matty throws into this song is absolutely unreal. Rumor has it they stopped playing it on their current tour because it’s too vocally demanding. It gives me the best kind of vibes.
If you’re looking for a good medium between rock, pop, alternative and a slowed-down jam, “Settle Down” is the answer. It’s so relevant, yet dated in a way, and is oddly romantic. The breakdown at the bridge is the best part — smooth but a little haunting.
There’s so much to be said about “Robbers”. It’s cinematic, trashy, romantic, and the music video is so well-suited for such an epic song. Isn’t this song just intimately enormous? It’s huge.
THIS IS MY FAVORITE SONG OF ALL TIME. I am so obsessed with this song, to such a degree that sometimes if I hear other people enjoying it, I ask them to turn it off because I can’t handle how minimal my personal listening experience is. I need it full-blast in my little Hyundai car, driving on a dark night, screaming the lyrics. I own this song. I feel like I may be known in some circles specifically by this song, and if I’m not, I hope I will be someday. It is my anthem. When Matty metions John Hughes movies, I feel like this is the song he is referring to. Also, there was a time in which I would watch the music video (and really, really watch it) on a loop for upwards of 30 minutes. IT’S JUST MY SONG, OKAY?
“Menswear” is smooth as fuck. For first-timers, you’ll probably want to give up after the first 1:00, but hang in there, because this is honestly one of the best songs on the record (and if you have to fast-forward to the 1:40 mark, you can, but don’t be impatient!!!). It’s filled with synth tones and a solid drum beat, accompanied by too-cool-for-school lyrics about a wedding. There’s just something so effortless about this song.
Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You
The 1975 is an emotional band, and this song really leans on the intimacy they foster throughout the album. Written as an ode to his younger brother during their parents divorce, “Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You” is passionate without being overwrought, a simple, sad statement coming from Matty Healy. It hits a chord without trying too hard.
This is the break-up anthem to end all break-up anthems. It’s bitter and over-dramatic, which always makes for a good song. In retrospect, Matty admitted he would’ve been “more fair” to his ex if he were to write the song again, but since that’s not an option, I say let’s just bask in this bitchiness.
“Me” is a hard song to listen to because of it’s extremely personal content, but it’s truly a stand-out among the EP tracks released in anticipation for the full album. A song written at a time when Healy was experiencing “a lot of guilt,” it’s one of the early instances of him using third-person narrative in his songwriting, a touch that, again, brings deep intimacy and emotion into the music. It’s one of my favorite songs, and I love how it somewhat puts the neuroses of the lead singer to the forefront in a beautiful way.
So Far (It’s Alright)
Dreamy and indie, “So Far (It’s Alright)” is almost a conglomerate of every other song by The 1975. It has the perfect amount of sad, sass, sweetness and synth to create a cool song.
I love how romantic and quaint this song is. It just catches that vibe of unrequited love in an almost miserable package. The song relies heavily on it’s lyrics, and what a well-written song it is. If anything, The 1975 is a masterclass in songwriting — it’s really timeless. See: “I don’t want to be your friend, I want to kiss your neck.”
“Medicine” is such a swirling, swept-up, underplayed love song. One review commented, “‘Medicine’ by The 1975 is the kind of song that you fall in love with someone to. It soundtracks a first kiss.” SOMEONE, PLEASE FALL IN LOVE WITH ME TO THIS SONG.
So Good To Me
Though it’s technically a cover, The 1975 does “So Good To Me” much better than the original. It’s such a desperate confession — “You’ve been so good to me.” It feels so natural and passionate. It belongs on a The 1975 record.
Though I’ve only listed my absolute favorites (and there’s a lot of them), why not explore The 1975 for yourself? You can download their album on iTunes now, or stream it on YouTube. Also, for good measure: