The 1975 goes ‘80s

The redesigned cover of The 1975s sophomore album, a far cry from where they first started.

photo via under Creative Commons license

The redesigned cover of The 1975’s sophomore album, a far cry from where they first started.

After three painful years, the wait for The 1975’s follow-up to their namesake album has finally come to an end on Feb. 26. “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it,” whose title comes from a somewhat pervy, emo-Tumblr line the band’s lead singer once said, ushers in a new era of The 1975 as an exposé of today’s modern culture and a reflection on who the band — especially enigmatic frontman Matty Healy (who looks like an androgynous version of Jon Snow from Game of Thrones) — have become.

The first single, “Love Me,” was released Oct. 8, 2015, after much anticipation. Reminiscent of an ‘80s David Bowie hit (R.I.P., you legend), this track discusses the certain “gilded-ness” of current celebrities — pretty on the outside, ugly on the inside. Its standout lyrics: “You’ve got a beautiful face, but got nothing to say/ You look famous, let’s be friends/ And portray we possess feeling important/ And do the things we like, meaning/ We’ve just come to represent/ A decline in the standards are what we accept.” It’s a catchy song with an important message.

The second single, “UGH!” debuted Dec. 10. Again, there’s an ‘80s vibe to it, as if The 1975 became The 1985 in the three painstaking years it took them to make another album. However, there are really no complaints. It’s also difficult to tell that Healy, in this song, is singing about his cocaine addiction, as you can construe those lyrics to be about almost anything. I particularly enjoy this song playing at full volume while I scream along with it.

The Sound” is the band’s third single, which dropped on Jan. 14, with the album release date just weeks away. The 1985 seems pleased with their synth-pop style and use of vocal layering. This song is definitely about sex if you listen closely, but it also makes you feel like you’re on drugs. Matty Healy certainly was, when he worked on the album. It’s a very disco-era sounding track, and probably not the best choice for a single.

On Feb. 16, The 1975 premiered their fourth single, “Somebody Else.” It’s like the grown-up, less angry and more passive version of “Sex,” or the love child of of “Menswear” and “Robbers,” with a Rick Astley-inspired beat and vocals reminiscing the great Tears for Fears. This song is about Healy’s trouble letting his love interest go, even though he is no longer sexually attracted to them — “I don’t want your body / but I hate to think about you with somebody else / Our love has gone cold / you’re intertwining your soul with somebody else.” Personally, this song is my favorite from the singles, because you can dance to it, and you can cry to it, and who can resist a song that’s that versatile?

Other notable tracks include “Please Be Naked,” and “She’s American,” for their unique qualities. (“Please Be Naked” has no lyrics.)

“A Change of Heart” just might be the best song off the album, simply because I kinda cried when I first heard it. But that’s probably just because I relate to it on a personal level. It’s about being deluded by someone who seems to be the love of your life for a very long time, but then they turn out to actually be some vapid, replaceable person whom you wouldn’t mourn if you lost them. The lyrics go: “For goodness sake/ I wasn’t told you’d be this cold/ Now it’s my time to depart and I just had a change of heart/ I’ll quote “on the road” like a twat/ and wind my way out of the city/ Finding a girl who is equally pretty won’t be hard/ Oh, I just had a change of heart/ You smashed a glass into pieces/ That’s around the time I left/ When you were coming across as clever/ Then you lit the wrong end of a cigarette.” And there are also some references to lyrics of past songs, which will make you get quite teary-eyed if you’re one of those nostalgic, prone-to-reminisce people. This is also why you could replace the soundtrack of a John Hughes film with this song played on a loop.

However, there are a couple songs off “I like it when you sleep” that may make you miss the old 1975, but they aren’t completely un-listenable. You can still hear hints of themes the band love to write and sing about.
The 1975 have shown that they can step outside their indie-pop-rock box without losing the style that put them onto the map in the first place. They’re all into the “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll” mentality, but they’ve become even more brutally honest, yet ambiguous, in the way they see things. “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it,” can attest to their change. Matty Healy is an artist, and art, according to Banksy, is supposed to “comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”