For over a year, the 1975 has taunted fans with rumors of a new album. After their meteoric rise in 2013 with their self-titled album, the Indie Rock world was itching for more of their unique, brooding sound. The debut album was the anthem for young people trying to live and love, driving around late at night just to see the lights. Everything was black, dark and emotional.
After the success of the first album, the band soared to the top of the Indie scene. It was very well accepted for its abilities to mesh genres: from pop to indie rock, R&B to punk, techno to borderline acoustic at times. They were able to do this and never lose their own definitive style.
They embarked on a world tour, continued a strong media presence, and began dropping clues about a possible second album coming soon. In 2014, they released a single, “Medicine,” which had a sound very similar to their debut work, but nothing truly exciting or new. Then, in 2015, the entire band suddenly went dark, and fans lost their shit entirely. They came back, and it was clear something had changed. Everything had gone from shades of black and grey to pink. Everything was now in a pink filter, and the logo changed from black and bright white fluorescent lettering to grey and neon pink letters.
Then, we waited. And waited. Yet all that came were very cryptic messages from Matty Healy, the frontman. Every post by the band came with “/ / L O V E / /” attached. Finally, in the Fall of 2015, they released a new single, “Love Me.” This was not like their previous work. Suddenly, Adam Hann’s guitar was feeling the Funk, Ross MacDonald’s bass lines were something out of the Jackson 5, and George Daniel’s beats lost the electro feel and now seemed more organic. However, Matty Healy felt the same. The band was able to grow artistically and musically without losing themselves on this track, which was a great sign for the album.
Then, they dropped “UGH!” in the winter. The funk influence was clearly here to stay, and the band just solidified what they had begun to prove with “Love Me.” Nothing new to learn, it seemed this was the new 1975.
But then, in the new year, they dropped another single, “The Sound,” and the band’s arena filling alter ego broke out. This was similar to “Heart Out” or :”She Way Out” from the previous album. But wait, there’s more – A week before the album dropped, they released “Somebody Else.” And three days before the album they allowed “Change of Heart” to be played by BBC Radio and their subsequent website.
I’m torn about my feelings towards the marketing, because I worry they almost released too many tracks, almost a quarter of the album was released early. Also, almost the entire album wa available on Youtube as live performance lyric videos. I didn’t want that to ruin the experience of hearing the album from start to finish for the first time.
However, none of that matters, as the marketing was brilliant. From their radio silence so their cryptic messages, the color/persona change to the schedule of singles. It was beautifully engineered to rope fans in, get them excited about the new album. They scared fans into thinking they left, they completely rebranded, they shrouded the album in secrecy, and they kept us engaged through cryptic messages involving the album’s themes and inspirations. The 1975 was an emotionally abusive boyfriend during this album cycle.
That being said, their newest album, “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it,” trades the black for pink, the darkness for heavily filtered light, and the brooding and heartbreak for love and…well the brooding will probably always be there. They added an 80’s techno element to their old sound and dropped some of the darker aspects. Their debut was a late night drive, this is a sunset on a hill. It opens with a beautiful homage to their first album and sprinkle references to the first album throughout.
It opens with a beautiful reimagining of “The 1975,” which opened the previous album. It is ethereal, all encompassing. It warps you in a blanket of sound and is a brilliant preamble. It then transitions straight into the bright, funk-rock of “Love Me.” Then on to “UGH!” and it seems that they follow the same pattern as the last album: start out with an ethereal intro, go to a high energy, upbeat, happy(ish) tracks, and slowly mellow out the sound and raising the emotion, throwing instrumental tracks at each third of the album and ending completely acoustic with raw emotion.
In short, The 1975 are arguably the most innovative, unique, and artistic group on the main stage right now. This album was a brilliant sequel to the exquisite work of their self titled debut. There is no stopping this group right now. Matty Healy is a borderline genius, his lyrics are complex and deep, the music is exceptionally original and emotional. The 1975 is the last hope for the beautiful art of conceptual albums. Their albums are more than a collection of new songs, they are a harmonic story. These are modern symphonies, each track being a new movement.
This album was exactly what the band needed. It’s fresh, it’s new, it is a completely different album, but it is the same band. And fans are well aware of this. The 1975 cannot be stopped. Their fanbase will continue to grow, their art will continue to evolve, and they will surely make their mark on modern music.