The 1975: A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

by Madison Deyo || photo via Larson Rogers

There’s a small number of high school boy bands that manage to move past local gigs and directly into the limelight, The 1975 have rightfully earned themselves a place on that list. Starting in 2002 while they were still hopeful youths attending Wilmslow High School in Cheshire, Matthew Healy (vocals and rhythm guitarist), Adam Hann (lead guitarist), Ross McDonald (bassist) and George Daniel (drummer) joined together and began to reshape the world of alternative rock. Releasing their first self-titled studio album under Polydor Records, they proved that they were capable of mastering a modern sound, combining solid bass lines, heavy-hitting drums, and mumbled lyrics into the perfect alternative album for 2013.

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However, their music alone is not what makes them The 1975, there's an aura of an unforgiving carelessness that Matty Healy has carried on his shoulders from album to album. A pop star who’s uncertain of how to handle pop stardom, he constantly addresses the philosophical truths of postmodern life and just where his music fits in the grand scheme of artistic idealism. This unfazed rock n’ roll energy had direct consequences for Healy, as he traveled into the world of heroin induced creativity, which is no longer a subject he shys away from. ABIIOR could have never been brought into the world if Healy wouldn’t have gotten clean, rewarding us with his own personal triumph.

Aside from facing an unpleasant world of addiction, withdrawal, and surveying stardom, The 1975 are capable of evolving their sound to match the ever-changing music scene and the turmoil of their own lives. The consistent, yet slight, variation in genre they manage to effortlessly glide across between each album is always a pleasant surprise, yet the intro of each piece remains the same. In a meta self-titled song called ‘The 1975’, the lyrics continue to remain the same, yet every other aspect of the song completely metamorphosizes, evoking the listener with the emotional intrigue the rest of the album will produce.

A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships is just as intrinsically artistic as any piece hanging on the walls of a museum. The 1975 have managed to encapsulate a range of not only poetic intensity, but have mastered the boundless landscape of sound. The album combines slight genre changes from song to song, having Healy perform an acoustic solo in ‘Be My Mistake’, a choir ensemble accompanying his slightly auto-tuned vocals in ‘It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)’, and a distinctly referential jazz sound in ‘Sincerity is Scary’. Yet the song that demonstrates that The 1975 are not afraid to dive head-first into the world of abstract sounds and lyricism is, ‘The Man Who Married A Robot/ Love Theme’, a spoken-word ballad featuring the vocals of an android device, rather than Healy, reciting the tale of man’s unbreaking love for the internet. ‘Love It If We Made It’, is one of the more prominent tracks that highlights Matty Healy's incredible poetic ability and how current global politics affects his writing choices. Healy used tabloid headlines collected over the months post - I Like It When You Sleep (the band's second studio album, released in 2016), to collage together an epic ballad that preaches the hope of global love over the political tyranny of hate that has encapsulated the world. The most powerful of Healy’s phrase choices is in his decision to add the line, “I moved on her like a bitch!”, transitioning the radio-friendly banger into one that needs to be censored on air, which is rather ironic considering that line is direct quote from the current president of the United States.

The 1975 have never strayed away from vocalizing their opinions through their music, this album being a direct message to the postmodern scene of social media and it’s direct consequences on the world. Muddling the distinction between natural vocals and the cybernated sounds of a computer, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships audibly expresses the interconnected essence of man and machine.