Inside the Curious Mind of The 1975

A look at the indie pop sensation’s rise to fame and its adventurous sophomore record I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it.

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PC: Mind Equals Blown

In an article written by The Guardian‘s Michael Hann, the members of the coveted British band The 1975 stated a quote that resonated throughout my first listen of their latest release.

“No one’s asking you to inspire a revolution. But inspire something” 

They may not have started a revolution per say, but they are taking the music scene by storm.

But before the band’s rise, there was chaos. On May 31 of last year, The 1975 disappeared.

The band had deleted its Twitter account, deactivated its Facebook and even completely blacked out its website. At first, everyone was confused (me included). After a day or so, the band returned and began its metamorphosis into the pop sensations they are now. The band’s “rebirth,” in a sense, opened the doors to a new (but old) sound and style fans weren’t expecting.

Now, what do I mean by new, but old, style?

In a way, The 1975 has always been a pop band. Sure, their debut album was filled with angst-filled indie rock anthems of love, sex and drugs, but have they really changed? The truth is, they haven’t. The only thing The 1975 is doing differently is using their influences and roots to create a genuine, pop-infused ’80s feel that strays from what they started off with. This is something I had trouble with at first, but over time have grown to love and respect.

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PC: Rolling Stone

So, you hate The 1975. I get that. But you need to give these guys credit for what they do (and happily achieve) on their latest record. With rhythms and harmonies that reflect M83 to a gospel-filled reflection on religion, Matty Healy and his band put it all on the table almost as if to say: “We aren’t just those guys who played the song ‘Chocolate'”

I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it isn’t just the longest (and probably most annoying) title a band could name an album, it’s a look into the complex mind of  Matty Healy, George Daniel, Adam Hann and Ross MacDonald.

“A lot of our songs are snapshots, but that’s very much a story. There’s a sense of resignation to it – depression is part of my family history. An identity crisis, the deconstruction of relationships and my struggle with consumption – those have dictated the narrative.” – Matty Healy (The Guardian Interview)

Because I had already heard (and done) reviews on the singles released off of the record: “The Sound,” “Love Me,” “UGH!” and “Somebody Else,” I decided to leave them out of my first impressions of the record as a whole.

And so we begin.

“A Change of Heart” is ’80s pop at its finest. This is a prime example, among the many others (i.e. Love Me, The Sound), of the band’s shift and maturation as musicians. The track is a smooth, synthy and possibly catchy (but not too catchy) pop song.

“She’s American” is basically a jab at American women…which is actually pretty funny. Listen closely to the lyrics, Healy pokes fun at the many aspects of American lifestyles. The sound in itself is slightly similar to the last few songs we heard, the only difference here is the fact that there’s a “Girls”-esque guitar riff thrown in.

This is where I started to fall in love with the album. “If I Believe You” is the first taste of something different. The track has and R&B/gospel like feel to it all and Healy’s smooth vocals sing over top of a foot-tapping bass line which occasionally brings out the backing vocals of a gospel choir. The six-minute track boasts creative talent and maturity, and as Healy has revelations and makes subtle religious references, one can’t help but to admire the band’s talent. Hell, there’s even a trumpet thrown in there at one point. This is The 1975 trying something new, and they do a damn good job at doing so.

“Please Be Naked,” the instrumental track Stereogum says should have been the title of the album, is filled with a beautiful piano melody. A pleasantly eerie sound flows in the background as the sound shifts with the addition of the electronic samples.

“The album should be called Please Be Naked! And the album is 74 interminable minutes long. That is way too long for a slick pop album! But it’s that long because the 1975 were bursting with ideas, and they weren’t willing to give up on any of those ideas.” – Tom Breihan of Stereogum

“Lostmyhead” reminded me of a slightly different version of “Head.Cars.Bending” only with random pop-ups of string instruments. The track also has a sound similar to something you’d hear from M83 … these long tracks filled with electronic noise, minor vocals and a random eruption of guitar and drums are another way the band tries something relatively new that goes to their advantage.

“The Ballad of Me and My Brain” starts off with a repetitive sample of a woman singing which then builds to Healy screaming about the fact that he’s probably gone mad. I dunno Matty, have you? The song has a lot of Healy screaming about losing his brain, the song basically the ballad of how he’s trying to find it. It’s creative, I’ll give it that. Not my favorite, though. Did I mention it ends a bit abrupt?

I absolutely loved the beat on this one. “Loving Someone” is the band’s try at a sing-rap style and they actually do a pretty good job at it too. No, folks. It isn’t twenty one pilots, no worries there.

“I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it” is another M83-esque song. Clocking in at six minutes and 26 seconds, the band uses this as yet another canvas for their creative ambitions. Phoenix did it with “Love Like a Sunset,” and The 1975 does it here. It’s a way to showcase different sounds and styles in comparison to the rest of the album. “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it” has a happy feel to it and as the beat builds, the elation does too.

“This Must Be My Dream” is a bit of a wake up call after “The Sound” that begins to put things into perspective. We are almost to the end of the album, after all. I can’t quite put my finger on what the song reminds me of, but the chorus is oddly familiar in some way. It’s upbeat, but not too upbeat like some of the other tracks…it’s a perfect blend that includes just the right amount of saxophone.

“Paris” caught my attention because of its rhythm. The song is promptly called “Paris,” because of its story of love and what love entails, both good and bad. It’s a good storytelling told from the perspective of the heartthrob himself, Matty Healy.

Cue the heart-wrenching acoustic ballad about Matty Healy’s late grandmother. “Nana” is a way for Healy to communicate his deepest emotions without the eerie sounds to cover up his true feelings. It’s always nice to hear a song like this. It’s quite a sad one, but it does its job well. Maybe too well.

And now for the final track: “She Lays Down,” another wondrous acoustic song that strips things down once again. I love it, and I love the way the band decided to end the album. It’s a beautiful ending for

I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it is a beautiful rebirth of sound, attitude and style for the young band out of Cheshire.

Maybe the next album they’ll try out folk music.

I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it releases everywhere Friday.

9.5/10

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