‘The 1975’ by The 1975 [Album Review]

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The 1975

This song is the self-titled track that begins every album from The 1975. I’m not going to get into the song’s actual content because I want to keep this review as PG as possible, but I want to talk about how they structure their albums and how they use this track as an introduction.

So, for one thing, they do begin each album with this same song, but they always reproduce it in terms of the instrumentation and the different kinds of effects that they put into the music. It’s never strictly the same song at the beginning of each album.

Since this is their first full album, I don’t know if they intended to start with this song for each of the preceding albums or not, but it does hold an interesting place in organizing their albums. Because the way they produce this opening track is usually a little preview of what the rest of the album is going to sound like. It’s sort of like a summary of what the album is going to be sonically.

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In this case, it is very atmospheric and very synth-based and has a kind of melancholy and nostalgic feeling to it. I think this very much goes with the album’s overall mood as it deals a lot with growing up and dealing with what your expectations of growing up will be vs what reality of growing up is.

For a band that calls itself The 1975, we would expect some synths and older music influences and some nostalgia towards more retro types of imagery and production choices.

The City

I think that this is a very catchy song, and it has a great atmosphere to it. I know that this album came out during the “Music for Cars” era. It’s kind of mixed up in that, so it feels like the kind of thing you listen to while driving late at night.

Mostly I think that this is a safe way of beginning the album. It’s catchy, and it has an excellent groove to the instrumental. It doesn’t have an overly complicated chorus lyrically, which happens in later The 1975 songs and doesn’t do anything super weird in terms of the production.

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I think it’s a little bit of an awkward start to the overall album to have the self-titled song and then this one for anyone who hasn’t heard anything from the band before. Of course, there are lots of other albums and lots of songs to choose from at this point in time, so you don’t necessarily have to begin with these two songs. However, back when they came out in 2013, it would have been a bit of an ill representation of what the band is capable of.

There are even songs on this album that I forgot about because I haven’t come back and listen to the whole album as a whole in a while, but I don’t think it’s the best song by this band, and I don’t think it’s the best song on this album.

M.O.N.E.Y.

This is the song where I think the album gets interesting, and we start to get a real taste of what The 1975 is going to feel like. I also believe this is one of the songs that not a lot of people talk about, it’s not a song that gets mentioned a lot when people recommend to The 1975, and it’s not a song that I’ve seen them perform a lot live, but it’s one of the songs that I like from this album.

We get some exciting production switch ups in this song, and we also get some of the playful vocal effects that The 1975 uses a lot throughout their music, not just this album. I also think that this song has a vivacious feel to it but with an almost sarcastic or cynical tone as it deals with a lot of darker imagery. It shows that lyrically they’re able to have those darker topics but deal with them more in a tongue-in-cheek way, which I’ve always liked about their music.

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Chocolate

This is one of the first songs I heard from The 1975 that sold me on this band. It continues to be one of my favourite songs, and I know that I’m not alone.

What got me about this song was the upbeat instrumental that gave it this very fun and playful feeling overall. I also think the choppy sounding cadence to the vocals adds to that playful feeling.

There are also many cheeky metaphors and ways of talking about the song’s content. A lot of people don’t fully understand what the song is about when they first hear it. And part of that is because Healy’s Manchester accent is incredibly thick while singing this song and because the lyrics are a little bit more on the symbolic side than a lot of their other songs are.

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Overall this one of the songs I come back to all the time, and it’s on my dance playlist because it just gives me summer-y vibes.

Sex

I went through this whole thing saying I wanted to keep it PG, and then they had to go and name a song that. There’s no getting around what this song is about content-wise, which is also why I couldn’t embed the video from YouTube here because of there are age restrictions on it, so you can go to their YouTube channel or wherever you want to stream music and listen to it.

It has more of a rock and roll sound. I love rock music; it’s one of my favourite music genres, so seeing them be able to go into a more rock sound after having some more synths and atmospheric songs leading up to this point shows a lot more diversity in the band.

And as someone who’s a massive fan of rock music from the UK specifically, I think it was very nostalgic of the UK rock scene, especially a few decades ago. I’m thinking most of the 90s when there are many garage rock and smaller independent rock bands.

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Talk!

It really wouldn’t be a The 1975 album without that weird middle section where we get shorter tracks with more of an experimental and atmospheric feeling to the production.

This song is one of those tracks that kind of gets lost in the middle of the album and that I honestly don’t come back to unless I’m listening to the album all the way through. I think part of that is because it has more of a minimalistic approach to the production and the instrumentation, so it doesn’t quite fit in with the fuller sound of the rest of the album.

I also think lyrically it’s not the most interesting. In general, I believe the middle of albums tends to be less engaging than what the rest of the album has to offer. That’s not always the case with every album, but it does tend to be the trend.

In this case, with an album with so many songs on it, I find it odd that this song would be included. In this case, the album doesn’t need any more length or any more tracks. Of course, I’m also a seasoned fan of this band, so I know that having incredibly long albums with weird 2-minute song interludes is something they do all the time, so it’s just something you either put up with or skip through.

An Encounter

This is a short instrumental track, and honestly, The 1975 loves to use instrumental tracks in their albums, so if that’s something that you don’t like, at least on this album, it’s a short one.

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I’m a big fan of their instrumental tracks because I find that they have a very dreamy atmosphere to them, and I enjoy instrumental music in general.

However, I don’t fully understand the placement of this one. I think we’re at that stage of the album where there’s a bit of listeners’ fatigue in that it’s a long album, and we’re going through these more experimental tracks that doesn’t add anything to the overall album. In their other albums, the instrumental tracks come at strategic places. They tell specific stories because they’re entirely composed pieces where as this one feels like an unnecessary extra minute to the album. Especially since it doesn’t feel as if it involves a build up to anything. It feels more like a long transition between tracks.

I would also like to point out that The 1975 does a much better job at adding narratives into their albums after this first one. There’s not a whole lot of story to this one except adolescence and that transition between being a teenager and being an adult and how it kind of feels like you’re in limbo between stages. A lot of their other albums have an obvious tonal narrative as you go through the album in order.

I don’t necessarily believe that this album needs to be listened to in order.

Heart Out

This is another song that I feel like I forget about all the time.

It’s not one of the ones that I have saved on a playlist somewhere or is likely to come up in my music randomly. I don’t necessarily feel like this is a bad song. Still, I feel like it gets lost a little bit in being in the middle of the album. I think puts it at a disadvantage because the album has too many songs on it and it comes right before a section of the album where there are a lot of songs that the band is quite famous for. The next three songs on the album are some of the most played songs that the band has, so coming right before those, I feel like many people lose this track in the mix.

I also don’t think it is entirely unfounded as this song is good, and it has a lot of the elements that The 1975 try to bring into their music, but I don’t think they quite got there with this song. I feel like a lot of what they’re trying to get to you in this song they do better with songs like Settle Down, which comes next, or even songs on their later albums with similar content and production.

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Settle Down

I’ve always loved the bass and guitar on this song.

There’s something so bouncy and staccato about them that makes people groove along to the music even though it’s not one of their most upbeat and pop-y tracks. I also really love how the bass and the guitars play off each other well and are very aware of each other in the song’s mix.

I also love this song’s soundscape and all of the little sounds and nuances they add to it. I love the whistle tones that they put in, which I don’t think are whistles but are a synth that’s been pitched up a lot and has some reverb on it to give it a bit of an echo-feeling. And the elevator sounds that make the song feel more unique and make it feel like it exists in a tangible world.

The 1975 songs have many synths and electronic-based instruments. However, they still managed to feel very grounded in what they’re singing about through the lyrics or adding in those little sounds that bring in the tangible world. Even though there’s a dreamy atmosphere to them, it’s telling that they can keep that grounded feeling to the song. It feels more like an actual person being too stuck in their head than someone making up a world or living in their head. There’s a difference from living in your head and your daydreams, and being caught up in anxious thoughts or repetitive thoughts.

Robbers

This is one of the most popular songs from The 1975, and I think many people heard the music first.

It has a more subdued and melancholy sound than what they usually go with, but I think it very much matches this idea of coming out of adolescence and being on that edge of what it means to be a teenager and an adult.

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One of my favourite parts of the songs is the very rhythmic and constant staccato guitar work. Some palm muting happens, which makes it feel more subdued, but it’s a very stable extra layer of almost percussion throughout the entire song.

I find this interesting because it doesn’t feel like there should be this stable instrumental to this song. But I feel like there’s something poetic in that too.

Being a teenager can feel very chaotic, both emotionally and being exposed to new experiences and responsibilities; it also has a sense of stability. Many people and structures help you find stability–whether that’s a parent or guardian or going to school. A lot of that structure isn’t there once you stop being a teenager and have to become an adult out on your own.

I also think that it feels a little bit like a quickened heartbeat and that it’s very steady, but it’s pounding faster than it probably should. This adds to the adrenaline in the lyrical content both in the metaphor of being robbers and the romantic relationship that’s also being discussed.

And I think there’s just a sense of inherent adrenaline rush in being a teenager and that you do a lot of irrational and spontaneous things just to see if you can. There’s a lot of experimentation in being an adolescent and becoming an adult because you don’t know what you’re doing. You just have to pretend that you do until you end up learning. A lot of it is jumping into the deep end and trusting yourself to be able to swim.

Girls

A quick history lesson on this band.

Before this full-length album came out, The 1975 had released a series of EPs commonly known in the fandom as the “Music for Cars” era. So the band had gotten some traction and popularity before they released this full-length album. Specifically, they had gained a lot of popularity with young women. In that case, this isn’t entirely unexpected as young women, in general, tend to be more active in the music community and therefore make up a large percentage of basically everyone’s fandom–though that does change depending on the genre. But most of the time, most of a band’s fanbase will be female, and will be young females.

This brings us to this song specifically.

I love that they wrote this song expressly to point out how there’s a weird relationship between creator and audience regarding age differences. I love that their acknowledge being older than most of their fan base and that it’s weird that a young fan base would speak romantically about them. Especially in the case of bands made up of male members, having a young female fan base means that there will be moments when their audience points out that they are attractive or that they would want to have some kind of romantic connection with them. Still, the age gap makes that are a peculiar thing to have said to you.

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I also like that this is one of the instances where we get to see The 1975 be very self-aware and very industry aware in a tongue-in-cheek way, which is why I love their music. With a lot of this album, they’re still taking themselves a little too seriously, whereas, with their second album, they very much lean into that awareness and that sense of humour about that awareness.

This is a fascinating song to have on this album because it sounds like something on their second album. It feels like a shifting point in the kind of sound that they’re going to be making, and it’s interesting to look back on it when the follow-up albums have already come out, and I’ve already listened to them.

12

Here we have another short instrumental interlude, which I also think doesn’t need to be here.

I especially feel that way because it feels like oddly sombre in between two of the more upbeat songs on this album. Tonally, it just doesn’t fit with the songs’ sequence, and it again doesn’t add anything to the overall album. I mean, they didn’t even bother to give it an interesting title. They just gave it the track number of the song. It’s the 12th song on the album, so they just called it that.

It’s easily forgotten, and it’s not even a good transition between songs. Honestly, I don’t know why it’s here, and I forget about it all the time.

She Way Out

I think this is an enjoyable track, and it’s one of the ones that I come back to a lot. I don’t know if it’s one of the best songs on this album, but it’s one of the ones that I love to put on and just dance along with it because it has an entertaining beat and has a very careless feeling lyrical delivery.

Of course, I like the guitars on this one, and I think that, while it doesn’t show us anything particularly new at this point in the album, I think it picks up the album’s mood. There are many songs on this album, and if there weren’t this more upbeat feeling as we get closer to the end, it would be impossible to get through it all. If you have gotten to this point in the album, you’re more invested in this band than many other people would be.

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I know for me anyway when I first discovered The 1975 and I was trying to listen to this whole album from start to finish, I don’t think I succeeded very well. I think I hear the first maybe minute of a few songs and then just skipped to the next one until I got to Girls. So it’s good that they are brought up the album’s mood as a whole as we finally inch closer to the end.

Menswear

This is one of those songs that I forget about all the time, but whenever I come back to this album and listen to it all the way through I’m reminded of how much I love this song. I don’t know why I never come back to it since I always enjoy it when I’m listening to it, but for some reason, it slips my mind all the time, and I feel bad about it.

I love the slow build-up and the fact that it’s mostly instrumental. This incorporation of these very distorted and glitchy vocals within the production adds so much momentum to the music. Even though it’s over 3 minutes long, it feels like a really short song. I feel like part of this has to do with the music’s momentum because it changes enough times that it feels like there’s a lot of movement. But I also think it has to do with the actual vocals of the song being very short.

There’s also just a very upbeat and exciting production on this song. It’s a friendly vibe, and I don’t understand why it’s not one of their more recognized songs. Like, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a live performance where they played this song, but I feel like it would work well in a live setting.

If anyone knows of an instance where they did play this live, I would love for you to leave a comment telling me where to find it because I think it would be cool.

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Pressure

Honestly, the last couple of songs in this album are not songs that I remember very well, nor the songs I think warrant being recalled very well.

In particular, the music doesn’t do anything that hasn’t been done on this album already and has been done better by previous songs. It’s the same kind of dreamy and muffled feeling to the music that reminds me a lot of Robbers but without any of the exciting dynamics of previous songs.

Maybe it has something to do with my overall love of Menswear, but I feel like the last couple of songs are unnecessary to this album and consider how many songs are on this album, it feels like a weak ending.

Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You

Of course, we have to end with an overly sentimental song with a piano instrumental because what album would be complete without one as the final track.

Seriously though, I have listened to so many albums where the last song is a sappy piano-based ballad, and I don’t understand what the trend is. I suppose it somehow feels more like an ending to have a quieter song come at the end, but I feel like it doesn’t have enough impact. There are some instances where I do legitimately like the sad song that comes at the end, but I don’t think it should be the end of an album.

I’m a firm believer in an album’s powerful hitting final song, and I know that The 1975 can do this. A Brief
Inquiry into Online Relationships
is my favourite album by them, and they go out swinging on that album.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

If you like this kind of music, I put together a list of bands that sound like The 1975 which you can check out through the link!

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