‘The 1975’ Offers Artistic Triumph In Their Newest Album, ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’
Friday morning, I woke up knowing two things: 1) It was snowing outside, and 2) The 1975 would be releasing their new album that day.
“Finally,” I muttered, rubbing my eyes and reaching for my phone to download their new tracks before even getting out of bed for the day. It had been about three years since their last album, I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, and the world was ready for more of Matty Healy’s angsty pop anthems to jam out and sing along to (while simultaneously fantasizing about his curly brown hair of course).
After downloading the new album titled A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships I inhaled nervously. It was my belief that their previous 2016 album lacked the intimacy of their first album, The 1975. Whereas their debut album focused more on telling personal stories that dealt with messy topics such as affairs, unrequited love, and drug use, I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it (ILIWYS) seemed to lose the passionate tension that their first album so effortlessly oozed, replaced with more of a generic set of melodies that seem more suitable for the radio.
Plus, I have to say there is something almost mean-spirited about album #2. Almost every song seems to have a degrading dig at whatever girl he’s singing about, saying things like “I don’t want your body” or “you look like shit and you smell a bit”. Not exactly words a girl wants to hear! Oddly enough, the majority of listeners are young girls, so it makes me wonder at times who Healy’s lyrics are serving.
When their album came out yesterday I crossed my fingers, hoping it would measure up to their first album. Would it possess the romantic indie charm of The 1975, or would it have more of the cavalier bubble-gum approach of I like it when you sleep?
Turns out, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships is a perfect mix of both. With the passion of their first album and the energy of their second, The 1975’s latest album is able to deliver a perfect example of pop music done right.
Not only are the lyrics filled with creativity and whimsy, but the melodies on this album are perhaps the best in the band’s history. This is one of those albums that you can instantly fall in love with after one listen alone. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the songs that stick out the most from the album.
“The 1975” -
“Step into your skin, I’d rather jump in your bones.”
As all dedicated fans expected, their new album would begin with “The 1975”, a song that the band starts off every album with as their first track. Pretty damn creative, huh? I’ve never heard of a single band doing this before and I must admit it’s a brilliant way to give the fans a sense of community and familiarity.
The song itself, in my opinion, is the best song off of the first album. I love the melody, the excitement, the suspense. I love how short and simple it is. It builds up an air of mystique in a little over a minute.
Their second album’s version of the song is cool, but not beautiful like the first. It’s almost robotic and yeah, it goes with the futuristic feel of the rest of the album, but it doesn’t bring forth the same feelings as the first album’s version.
The third version doesn’t strike up any emotions in me other than slight disappointment and….confusion? It feels like an aggressive robot is yelling at me and I’m not sure I like that feeling. The first version was so perfect! Maybe I'm just biased here.
“Give Yourself A Try” -
“It all tastes the same in the dark.”
Easily one of the best songs off the album. It’s so quick to love, so effortless to listen to, has all the positive and joyous feelings of a pop song done flawlessly. The lyrics tell a story, it’s bouncy, and it’s nice to see some lyrical references to “Woman” off their first album. If this song doesn’t make you want to get up and dance your ass off, you might need to talk to a specialist and get that checked out. This is The 1975 at its best!
“I only called her one time, maybe it was two times.”
Not as fun as “Give Yourself A Try” but still a harmless track to put you in positive spirits. It’s breezy, it’s calming, it’s standard. Wouldn’t be surprised if this one became a radio hit. Weirdly though, if we take a closer looks at the lyrics, it is yet ANOTHER song about cheating — or at least a boyfriend who is chatting it up with other ladies and his girlfriend is not having it. It’s weird because the music is all about diversity and inclusive love, yet the lyrics don’t quite match up. Hmm.
“How To Draw / Petrichor” -
“I’ve not learned how to draw.”
YES! Matthew Healey, you’re killing it with this one. It’s insanely creative and whimsical, it’s innocent, it’s fun, it is exactly the kind of music we need because it will almost instantly boost your mood.
When I first saw what the song was called, I groaned a little, because the word “petrichor” is a term I refused to use in my creative writing after the age of sixteen simply because I thought it was too pretentious of a word. Well Matt Heals, yah proved me wrong! What an excellent song that I will never get bored of because it’s just that epic. So far, these songs seem much more airy and joyful compared to the moodiness of their first album and the cloy nature of their second.
“Love It If We Made It” -
“We’re fucking in a car shooting heroin, saying controversial things just for the hell of it.”
An angsty jam. It’s pretty fun! The lyrics are really dark though considering the listenership is mostly teenage girls, but that’s a whole other conversation for another article. The song is energetic, it’s lively, and it has no shame in its trouble-maker “greaser chic” demeanor.
“Be My Mistake” -
“You make me hard, but she makes me weak”
Hem hem. What? What girl would ever want to hear those words? We are heading back to that arrogant version of Healy from album #2 and I am not digging it!
Here is a song that I find extremely conflicting. While the melody is just lovely, the lyrics are pretty damn insulting, making me wonder yet again who Healey is serving his music to. It’s another song about cheating, what a huge surprise. Yet at least in the song “Sex” from their first album about infidelity, there’s a feeling of longing and heartache on Healey’s part.
In “Be My Mistake” he sings about having zero affection for this girl, but hey, at least she makes him hard! I mean I guess it’s good that Matty feels as though he can sing whatever is on his mind rather than writing lyrics that will serve his audience, so I’ll give him that, but it just feels… odd. “The smell of your hair reminds me of her feet”??? Really? I can’t help but be creeped out by that lyric. It just sucks that the melody of “Be My Mistake” is so sincere. Why can’t the lyrics match up Matty? Why?
“The Man Who Married The Internet” -
“Internet, do you love me?”
This song is just plain funny. Hilarious, really. Very creative to infuse this into the album. Yet even though it’s meant to be funny, it’s also pretty sad. It shows how lonely our society is becoming because of our adoration and addiction to technology over social interactions. Also, the username “Snowflake_smasher_86” is hilarious. Props to this one.
“Inside Your Mind” -
“Marry me, I will wait until you’re fast asleep”
Hell yes! This song goes back to The 1975’s roots of the slow and sorrow atmosphere of their first album. It’s really a beautiful song, the instruments do a lovely job in creating a romantic feeling that no band does better than this one. When The1975 gets a song right, it does a brilliant job. Just because it’s so reminiscent to the first album and unapologetically burning in emotions with the instrumentals alone, I think it’s gonna be the one I feel the most for. This is The 1975 at its iconic best.
“Surrounded by Heads and Bodies” — “I see her in my sleep, Angela.” Another truly beautiful song. The most lovely off the album quite possibly. It’s so pure, no one is cheating on anyone, so that’s always a plus. Really unsure what it’s about, but I don’t think that matters. It sounds gorgeous, so you can interpret it however you choose to.
“Mine” — “Looking back in 2009 when people said it was raining all the time.” I started this song surprised. Was this going to be Healy’s first monogamous love ballad about a seemingly healthy relationship between boyfriend and girlfriend? Yes, he’s sung about love before, but in almost all the “love songs” they would either involve unrequited feelings (fallingforyou/Sex/Menswear), drug addiction (chocolate), or infatuation with a prostitute (Woman). Oh, there it is. “I just can’t say I do.” Boy can’t commit to a person to save his life! He should really consider the world of polyamory.
Overall, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships is a solid album. Yes, there are some faults, but you can’t say they don’t make the album interesting at the very least. If Healy was simply singing all the time about perfect sunny drama-free relationships all the time, his tunes might not be as significant or memorable. Healy takes an artistic risk in all of his songs, he isn’t looking to please anyone but himself as it seems which in itself is respectable.
Their new album maintains some of the gray-filtered glamourization of a poverty-chic lifestyle that their first album boasts, along with the neon pink bubblegum feels of their second.
It’s an interesting mix, one that makes The 1975 shamelessly The 1975. I think it is worth a listen and I truly connect to Healy’s music despite the abundance of flaws the band offers. Perhaps this unconditional love the world has for the band is what keeps them so damn interesting.