Album Review: The 1975 - A Brief Enquiry into Online Relationships

Charlotte Hill reviews the 1975's latest EP

Charlotte Hill
6th December 2018
credit: pitchfork

The album that’s had The 1975’s Matty Healy and George Daniel famed as a modern day Lennon-McCartney duo by the NME is finally here. Since the release of their last album, I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, Healy has quietly encountered heroin addiction, rehab and isolation in LA with the rest of the band on a song writing mission. In A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships however, Healy is far from quiet.

The band’s third album touches on just about everything- lyrically and musically. In an interview with Beats 1 Radio he discusses: "I was just writing a record about relationships... and it turns out that if you try and write an honest record about relationships and how they’re mediated in the modern day, then you’re kind of by proxy writing about the internet". Healy explores everything from his addiction (‘(It’s Not Living) if its Not With You’), his own honesty and creative processes, (‘Give Yourself a Try’, ‘Sincerity is scary’), to apple’s Siri (‘The Man Who Married a Robot’). He does so across genres of jazz, neo-jazz, pop, and gospel, with such mastery of each that you’re left wondering if there’s any he actually can’t do. Healy is not shy either - he’ll bash Trump, Kanye and even himself.

[pullquote]Everyone needs a band they can grow up with[/pullquote]

A stand out track has to be the political ‘Love it if We Made It’. The listener is bombarded with the horrors of modern day, from the refugee crisis to America's misogynist president. The chorus is a glimmer of hope amongst all the mess. Other songs on the record are so intensely personal, (‘I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)’) you almost feel like you're being invasive.

If David Bowie created a narrative arc with Ziggy, Healy does the same here. He provides self-referencing lyrics, then goes on to self-reference his own self referencing. The 1975 are constantly reborn, entering stunning new eras as they grow (note the inverted colours of the first two albums). Every song produced by the band is different, yet so intrinsically ’75. They are more than a band but a story; a culture. They age like the glass of red wine that can often be seen drooping from Healy’s hand on stage.

Everyone needs a band they can grow up with. If you’ve been with the band since their self-titled debut album in 2013, you’ll have watched them grow from indie school boys to innovative masters of their field. Disguised as a beautiful Michael Jackson-esque love-ballad, Healy directly addresses his fans in ‘I couldn’t be more in love’. He shares his fears of losing the band but reassures us "I’ll give you all the years of my life". In a world where people are afraid to be passionate, we need a real pop star - and thank god we’ve got one.


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