A BRIEF INQUIRY INTO ONLINE RELATIONSHIPS



A bit of a different post today but the 1975 dropped their third album, 'A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships', a couple of days ago and I have so many feelings about it that I just had to get them out somehow. 

I've been into the 1975 since their first album and have seen them live a few times but this year really marked my transition from fan to FAN thanks to 'A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships': one of the most beautiful and interesting albums I've ever heard. 

The 1975 seem to be doing something that no other pop band is at the moment. I call them a 'pop band' a bit reluctantly because, while they've certainly reached mainstream success and I don't doubt 'A Brief Inquiry' will go to number one, calling them 'pop' seems a bit of an insult. This record seems to exist outside of the traditional confines of genre. You've got the auto-tuned, electronic, Drake-esque 'TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME', the punchy, powerful and political 'Love It If We Made It', the Britpoppy 'I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)', heartbreakingly beautiful ballads like 'Be My Mistake', and even a spoken word poem by Siri. How do you even begin to define that?

Matty Healy really is a genius and it shows in this album more than ever. On the surface, a lot of 1975 songs are catchy, radio-friendly pop that you can see teenagers and mums alike bopping along to in the car. But, their lyrics are often darker, poignant and beautifully poetic. Take 'It's Not Living (If It's Not With You)'. You'd be forgiven for assuming this is an upbeat love song on the first listen but once you get into the lyrics you realise it's actually about possibly the darkest point in Matty's life when his casual drug use spiralled into a full-blown heroin addiction, causing his bandmates to send him off to rehab. This is a classic 1975 move - Matty even described this track as the '1975iest 1975 song' - and I think the juxtaposition of the music and the lyrics makes what he is singing about that much more heartbreaking. 

Speaking of heartbreaking, I don't think I've ever cried listening to an album until now. I've certainly cried at a live performance or two but sitting in my car with 'A Brief Inquiry' playing at full volume had me in tears. After the first few poppy, upbeat tracks 'Be My Mistake' marks a real change of pace. The honest, vulnerable lyrics about loneliness and guilt, paired with a stripped back acoustic guitar and beautifully soft vocals rarely heard from Matty make for a seriously moving combination. 

When you hear Matty Healy talk about his music it's quite clear that he loves what he does. On their 2016 tour, Matty began the show by saying 'please welcome my favourite band, the 1975' and I think he was being completely serious. Only someone who truly loves and believes in what they do could craft an album like this. It's obvious that he's passionately aware of social and political issues and addresses them in a way that his fellow chart-topping artists wouldn't dare. His disdain for modern society is completely un-sugarcoated in Love It If We Made It. The loud, urgent, relentless list of reasons why 'modernity has failed us' includes references to Trump, the Syrian refugee crisis, institutionalised racism in the police, stan culture, and so much more. It's bleak but it's honest and it's real. And I think that's why the 1975's music resonates so much with young people and what makes it so hard to be just a casual fan. They write about life in such an open and intimate way that it's almost impossible not to relate to.

The final track I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes) is the real highlight, though, and seems to already be a fan-favourite. The style is very different from anything the 1975 have done before but it looks good on them. I get strong Radiohead and Oasis vibes from this track and the chorus is very Champagne Supernova-esque. It's the kind of song you'd hear after last call that would have everyone in the pub singing and swaying together. You can imagine it playing as the credits start to roll on a really good 90s movie. It's the perfect end to the record but as the final notes die away there's a sudden swell of strings and we're reminded that, thankfully, it's not the end of the 1975. 

Thanks for reading, Lucy x

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