Second albums are notoriously difficult and the pressure placed on The 1975 couldn’t have made it any easier, what with a platinum selling debut, highly infectious lyrics and sell out tours. It could be said that it clearly got to frontman Matt Healy when he described the album as “art…the world needs this album” yet he is sort of right. Showing the unseen dark side of, not just fame, but life, this is the album where The 1975 are flinging away any ambitions to remain riding high in the charts and replacing them with the want to actually express themselves, to great success.
Opener The 1975 proves good on the promise as a surreal aspect to the album; a dreamy melody is occasionally interrupted by the odd sci-fi noise before a brilliant choir kicks in. A second of silence ensues before the Radio 1 favourite Love Me kicks in with its irrestibly infectious beat. Not only is Healy vocally clearer on this album, he’s not shy in speaking his mind with the sycophantic nature of society and the fickleness of fame being the targets. Following track UGH! is no less audacious than Love Me. Again, it attacks the nature of society yet this time it is the judgmental aspect that gets it, less directly this time though. By flaunting his cocaine addiction with the lyrics “And do you have a card?/ My irregular heartbeat is starting to correct itself” Healy is daring the listener to challenge him and it is this provoking element that is missing from the safe music of today.
A Change Of Heart sees the tone of the album change from a confident, brash one to a self-attacking, brutal end to a relationship. It is the lyrics that carry this song, with the melody remaining simple and allowing them to take centre stage. She’s American is the closest sounding song to songs from the first album and is throwaway in the context of the album, but is no doubt still enjoyable. If I Believe You is a modern incarnation of a love song but directed at Jesus and harks in a turning point in the album. Instrumentals and softly spoken lyrics follow and truly do induce a dreamlike, reflective state, no doubt all engineered perfectly by the craftsman Healy.
Somebody Else is one of the highlights of the album; poppy but not too much, simple lyrics and the all too relatable feeling of not wanting someone but not wanting anyone else to have them make the song human. In fact, the latter half of the album is full of highlights; the songs kind of sound the same but the messages are all as complex and deep as one would expect from ‘art’. Loving Someone sees the frontman worry he is too sceptical yet the points he raises are all valid; TV and its indoctrination, the prospect that sex sells more than talent and the strive for prefection are all things that are talked about today, without actions preceeding it. The Sound is another one destined to be a chart hit although half the people who listen to it will probably not understand half the words used such as “A sycophantic, prophetic, Socratic junkie wannabe”. Pretentious as the lyrics may be, it is the catchiest song around. An almost Blackbird guitar welcomes in Nana, a touching ode to the grandma Healy lost. It ends an album that is an emotional rollercoaster and just so relatable no matter who you are. Even those about fame you seem to understand thanks to Healy’s sarcastic, bombastic and provoking lyrics. Here’s hoping album three is just as brilliant but, you know, no pressure.
For fans of: Bastille, The Neighbourhood, Catfish And The Bottlemen
Words by Clara Duffy
‘I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’ by The 1975 is out now on Dirty Hit / Polydor Records.