Opinion: The 1975 reaches far beyond melodic normality in latest album

Opinion: The 1975 reaches far beyond melodic normality in latest album

By Leah Heon, news staff

English pop rock band the 1975 released their third studio album A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships on November 30. The group’s past two albums, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So beautiful, Yet So Unaware of It, and The 1975, established an eclectic, innovative sound. With their newest album, The 1975 presented a sombre, yet hopeful look into the state of the world in all aspects.

In most music works, the quality of the lyrics and the quality of the music are unbalanced. Despite this common occurrence, the 1975 was able to produce both profound lyrics and compelling melodies. While their previous albums mainly consist of the classic guitars, piano, drums, and vocals, this album reaches far beyond anything original.

In “Sincerity Is Scary”, the listener is stricken by an apparent saxophone cameo which adds a jazz impression to the song. By adding another element to their music, the 1975 established themselves as an experimental group who is making leaps and bounds in their career.

In past albums, The 1975 primarily wrote about relationships and life hardships. With main vocalist Matty Healy as the pioneer behind most of the songwriting, they were able to maintain classic themes with songs such as “Inside Your Mind”, while experimenting appeared as a new theme for the chart-topping band.

“I Like America & America Likes Me” is unlike any other song on the album, as Healy’s voice is heavily auto-tuned, opposed to his raw sound which listeners have become accustomed to. The enigmatic title refers to the artwork of conceptual artist Joseph Beuys in 1974. Beuys is known for an experiment in which he locked himself in a room with an undomesticated coyote for three days. The coyote was confrontational towards Beuys at first, but they were soon able to coexist.

The idea of Beuys work is encapsulated in this piece and in the album as a whole. Healy’s songwriting surrounds the idea of a population’s capability of being civil with each other despite a perhaps obvious division.

Although Healy chose to utilize his creative platform to generate a statement, he additionally included songs pertaining to his own struggles. In this case, he spoke of his previous drug abuse and his journey to sobriety in “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)”. With the growing opioid epidemic, this resonates with anyone struggling with addiction as Healy vocalizes the feeling of one incessantly needing a substance to fill a void.

Although there are numerous references to the sociopolitical world, the newfound concern with rising technology was also conveyed throughout. In “The Man Who Married A Robot,” Healy said, “The internet, as you know was his friend.” Technology has become a part of the daily lives of almost everyone within the past decade to the point where one’s bond with their device has potential to grow stronger than one’s bond with other humans.  

Addressing heavy topics, this album is not for someone who is looking for a light, easy listen, but rather an earnest reflection. Although each song is well-developed and melodically pleasuring, the complexities of the underlying meanings of Healy’s writing reaches beyond expectations.   

After listening to any song included in this album, one can readily articulate Healy’s temperament: deliberate, dignified, and last but certainly not least, outspoken.