Album Review: The 1975 shows its not just another boy band in sophomore album


By Jake Valentine

Three years after releasing their debut album that launched the UK indie rockers into teenage fangirl stardom, The 1975 are back. Last week, The 1975 released their follow-up to their monumental first record, with the lengthy and cringe-worthy title “I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It.”EJ

Recently, on “Saturday Night Live,” we saw the scantily-clad lead singer and guitarist Matty Healy in nothing but tight leather pants and a black suit coat, obnoxiously prancing around the stage and condescendingly glaring at the camera from time to time.EJ

This type of onstage behavior has generated claims that Healy is a pompous, pretentious and overall annoying frontman. Whether you believe it or not, there’s no doubt that Healy is one of the last real frontmen in what appears to be a dying breed for rock and pop groups alike.

It’s easy to dismiss The 1975 as just another pop band adored by high school girls upon first glance; Yet they aren’t singing about what makes girls beautiful or dancing to the best song ever. There’s substance within not only the music, but also the lyrics of The 1975.

On “UGH!” we hear “You’re the only thing that’s going on in my mind, taking over my life a second time.” This lyric isn’t about Healy’s girl troubles, but rather his addiction to cocaine.EJ These lyrics paired along with a funk-inspired drum beat and eclectic guitar riff, serve as a juxtaposition and make “UGH!” one of the more addictive tracks on the record.

It’s obvious that “When You Sleep” has a heavy 80’s influence. On “Love Me,” we hear an INXS inspired guitar riff that serves as the driving force for the lead single.

With “A Change Of Heart” we are introduced to The 1975’s take on a classic 80’s ballad. A song about falling out of love, Healy mutters out a line reminiscent of first album track “Robbers,” “You used to have a face straight out of a magazine, now you just look like anyone.”EJ

Even though “When You Sleep” has an 80’s vibe to it, you can still tell that this is a 1975 record. This is credited mostly to the flawless production of the album and drummer George DanielEJ, who is essentially the production mastermind, uses a variety of ambient tones to decorate the backdrop of almost every song. This has become a staple of The 1975 since their first record, and helps fill in the cracks of songs and provides a more full and vibrant sound.

While this reinvention of sound on some tracks may deter past fans, there are still some instances of classic The 1975. “She’s American” EJis a track that is just waiting for an arena to fill, and rivals some of their hit songs from their debut.

“The Sound” is another one of these tracks that could’ve easily fit on their first record, and might just be one of the best pop songs I’ve heard as of late. With its incredibly catchy lyrics and melodies, it’s almost impossible not to sing along after the first listen.

Being known for their witty and poetic lyrics, The 1975 haven’t failed on “When You Sleep,” as the record is a lyrical goldmine for fans. Examples of this are found in “The Ballad Of Me And My Brain,”EJ a track that documents the mind of Healy as he uses this metaphor of his brain being lost. With lyrics that feel like they’re straight out of a Shel Silverstein poem, we hear Matty yell “Oh mom check the car it can’t have gone far, I must have left it on a train or lost it in a bar.” “The Ballad Of Me And My Brain” is a high point of the record, and is probably the most experimental track from The 1975.

Another standout of the album is “Paris,” a beautiful song with a funk-inspired guitar lick that persists throughout. This glimmering guitar work along with the R&B infused drum beat provide the perfect backdrop for the rather relaxed and melancholic voice of Healy on this track.

Following “Paris” is “Nana,” a tearjerker of a song focused around the death of Healy’s grandmother. Accompanied by only an acoustic guitar and the soft touch of piano, we hear “I don’t like it now you’re dead, it’s not the same when I scratch my own head.” “Nana” is easily the most emotional song off the record, and provides a much needed change of pace for the latter half of the album.

“I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It,” is a worthy follow-up to the bands’ debut. With a massive 17 tracks that span just shy of 80 minutes, The 1975 still manage to hold the attention of the listener throughout. “When You Sleep” is a record that should help make The 1975 a household name, and continue their success for years to come.

Rating: 9/10

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