The 1975’s iconic sound has an art for capturing the attention of music lovers throughout a variety of genres. Just when you think they have reached the peak of their discography, they surprise the world with another spectacular album that adds to the ever-evolving story of The 1975. In their latest album, the band delves into musical territory they haven’t dared before, while still maintaining the classic sound of their previous albums.
Track 1: The 1975
The album opens with some light, staccato piano on “The 1975.” The instrumentation on this song feels specifically evocative of a nostalgic summer afternoon, much like the piano used in the film “Call Me By Your Name.” Also similar to that film are the themes shown in this song: a reflection on experiences from young adulthood, and the anxious overthinking that comes with that period. Lead singer, Matty Healy, illustrates these notions with the lines “I’m sorry about my twenties, I was learnin’ the ropes, I had a tendency of thinkin’ about it after I spoke.” Healy’s reflection on this time in his life becomes especially meaningful when you consider the title of the song: “The 1975.” Most people would just assume this title is referencing the name of the band, but it also happens to be the title of the opening song on each one of their albums, showing a constant reflection on their progress as a band and as people. While this song continues that tradition, it is also the best iteration of The 1975’s opening track. In this mature start to the album, he is evoking that time in his life by referencing their breakout album and reflecting on the experiences of navigating fame and the process of growing up under the spotlight.
Additionally, The 1975 also touches upon the struggles of being a teenager in a postmodern world, highlighted by the last lyrics repeated at the end of the song, “I’m sorry if you’re living and you’re seventeen.” Healy sings about the juxtaposition of body image issues thrusted upon young girls, as well as the current trend of romanticizing mental health issues. The album ends its last chorus with an echoey quality that mimics the passing of time.
Track 2: Happiness
Something I think this album does a fantastic job of is refining the iconic sound of The 1975 to really display the band’s progress over the years. “Happiness” follows this pattern by incorporating the jazzy and melodic style of previous albums, yet with slightly more controlled instrumentation. Overall, this is a sweet, simple love song about contentment in relationships, as well as appreciation for others, which is a recurring theme we will continue to see throughout the rest of the album.
Additionally, this song showcases The 1975’s talent for writing catchy lyrics that still carry depth. For me, this really comes out in the first verse when Healy sings, “Oh, oh, I would go blind just to see you, I’d go too far just to have you near.” The use of oxymorons in this phrase is expertly crafted, and does a great job of creating an essence of sincerity that perfectly offsets the light-heartedness of the instrumentation.
Track 3: Looking For Somebody (To Love)
The third track of the album, “Looking For Somebody (To Love)”, shifts listeners directly into a fast-paced, upbeat environment. Typically, this could give me somewhat of an auditory whiplash, but The 1975 knows what they’re doing, and the light end of “Happiness” gets you right into the mood to bop your head to track three.
While the instrumentation may be upbeat, the lyrics of the song are anything but. Contrary to what the title may suggest, “Looking For Somebody (To Love) is about a school shooting. The dark lyrics, paired with the cheerful execution of the music, creates a sense of eeriness and uncomfortability that the song is meant to evoke.
Track 4: Part Of The Band
“Part of the Band”, the lead single of the album, is truly the heart and soul of this era of The 1975. The coded lyrics full of rhymes and clever wordplay sung over some beautifully crunchy cello is exactly what I needed this fall. Much like the changing of the leaves, this sound is a complete departure from anything the band has done previously, but for my money, it is the best song on the album and one of the best they’ve ever made.
Employing lyricism that conveys different stages of one person’s life, there is a significant amount of nostalgia that comes with this song, and with the addition of Jack Antonoff’s folky vocal tone, the track carries a ton of depth.
Track 5: Oh Caroline
“Oh Caroline” keeps us in a moody state of mind, offering a heartfelt portrayal of the fear of being left by someone you love. Sang over yet another smooth and pleasant instrumental, this track pulls at your heartstrings and truly elicits Healy’s sense of yearning.
The song tells the story of a broken-hearted narrator longing for another try at romance with the one he loves. Personally, “Oh Caroline” is my least favorite from this album, but that is only due to the impressive experimentation in the rest of the songs. Overall, this song is an album staple.
Track 6: I’m In Love With You
“I’m In Love With You” is the most Big Time Rush The 1975 has ever sounded, and I say that with love. It is yet another example of The 1975’s classic upbeat love song, but this time with the backup vocals that any boy band fan can appreciate. Healy delivers a wide range of vocal inflections, as well as one of the catchiest (albeit a bit repetitive) choruses by the band in recent memory.
This song tackles the feeling of vulnerability in a relationship and the fear that accompanies saying “I love you” for the very first time. The lyrics suggest the narrator never gets the chance to actually say it, so (and this is not a pre-Valentines Day greeting card ad), you should consider telling the people you love that you love them.
Track 7: All I Need To Hear
“All I Need To Here” could almost serve as a sequel to its predecessor because, much like “I’m In Love With You,” it’s about yearning for a lost love with sad instrumental. This song is an incredibly moving reflection on how the love of a partner can be more important than anything else in life. Healy once again delivers emotionally-charged vocals over the slow, sweet sound of a single piano.
I will forever be a lover of slow, sad songs, and I think this was the perfect addition to an already incredible album.
Track 8: Wintering
Please believe me when I say that “Wintering” is the ideal tune to put on your radio while driving home for winter break. Technically, the song is meant to be a Christmas song, but jingly instrumentals are nowhere to be found. Instead, we are met with more clean and interesting compositions with surprisingly rapid vocal delivery.
Name-dropping and referencing people the listener can’t possibly know, this song serves as a fragmented glimpse into a family over the holidays. Healy recounts quirky details about family members, meant to be said to an acquaintance the narrator sees, but seems to serve as a reminder to himself about his family dynamics.
Track 9: Human Too
Track nine, the slowest song on the album, delivers a sweet admission to the full spectrum of human emotion. The song most strongly expresses regret and the urge to emotionally connect to others. Healy digs deeper into putting personal touches into this song, describing his own mistakes and his desire for the world to be more receptive to his missteps as an artist and a person.
With Healy’s cutting emotional vocals, “Human Too” encourages empathy to those around us, a sentiment that I think has never been more important.
Track 10: About You
“About You” is a beautifully melodic example of dream pop that, well, feels like the soundtrack to a lovely dream. Over an incredibly rich and atmospheric instrumental, Healy sings about the kind of lasting love that never lets you forget about a person.
Interestingly enough, the bridge of this song features a lovely cameo from a woman – Carly Holt, the wife of The 1975’s guitarist, Adam Hann. Carly’s vocals add to the moodiness of the piece, pairing exquisitely with Healy’s.
Track 11: When We Are Together
“When We Are Together” is an excellent conclusion to a stunning new album from The 1975. A ballad sung over sweet and simple acoustic guitar, this closing song tells the detailed story of, you guessed it, a familiar and heartfelt love.
This track perfectly encapsulates the primary themes of the album: love, loss, and the passage of time.
Overall, this is the shortest album by The 1975 to date, but also the most musically and thematically concise. The band shows great maturity in trimming the fat down to a beautiful eleven songs, compared to their longer and more scattered previous albums. Each song strongly conveys some corner of human emotion, and each song has a unique and interesting instrumentation to go along with it. In Being Funny In A Forgeign Language, The 1975 hits on an incredible consistency, and successfully treks into some unknown territories, for what will surely go down as one of, if not their best, album.