In anticipation of ‘Notes on a Conditional Form’, join me as I review track-by-track the first album of the ‘Music for Cars’ era.
The 1975 have been on the rise since their self-titled debut album was released in 2013. This album was followed by ‘I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It’ (probably the longest album title ever) in 2016. Their second album ranked highly in ‘album of the year lists’ by NME and so forth. It’s time to see how well their third effort holds up…
Playing with the air
Breathing in your hair
The 1975’s third album begins in the traditional fashion: the self-titled opening track. Like the previous two versions, the lyrics are the same. However this version is much more sparse and jarring, with heavily distorted vocals; setting the tone of the internet theme of the album…
Give Yourself a Try
And you’ll make a lot of money, and it’s funny
‘Cause you’ll move somewhere sunny and get addicted to drugs
And spend obscene amounts on f**king seeds and beans online
The first single from the album. The lyrics take a reflective approach to the life of being in the music industry, as shown by the music video; where Healy is in a therapy session (bizarrely enough with a teddy bear as his therapist). The song has a repeating guitar riff throughout, which some have criticised it as sounding too much like ‘Disorder’ by Joy Division. Despite this I think this song due to its large amount of energy. It is a great way to kick off the album.
I only called her one time, maybe it was two times
Don’t think it was three times, can’t be more than four times
After the indie-rock style of the first track, the album moves onto this electro-pop song. I personally find this song insanely catchy- I think I’ve listened to this song most days since its release! It’s honestly hard not to sing this song back whenever you hear it played. Whilst I’m not the biggest fan of auto-tune, it’s blatant use really complements the song.
How to Draw / Petrichor
Write a letter to your future self who won’t change
Don’t let the internet ruin your time
The album’s first semi-instrumental track starts of with relaxing musical box chimes. Similar to the opening track, there are heavily distorted vocals, that increasingly becomes more jarring. The second part of the song turns into dubstep. Whilst not the most exciting song on the album, it certainly fits the internet premise of the album as a whole.
Love It If We Made It
Truth is only hearsay
We’re just left to decay
Modernity has failed us
This heavy protest song really must be heard to be believed. With the pounding electro beats and Healy’s booming voice; this really makes for a powerful song; about the state of the world in the 21st Century. The lyrics reference a wide range of issues on the world today, such as Trump and the Syrian Refugee Crisis.
Be My Mistake
And don’t wait outside my hotel room
Just wait ’til I give you a sign
‘Cause I get lonesome sometimes
In another case of juxtaposition, the album takes a much more softer, acoustic tone. I certainly feel was needed after the intensity of the previous track. Overall, I really like this track, its pretty relaxing to listen to.
Sincerity Is Scary
Why can’t we be friends, when we are lovers?
‘Cause it always ends with us hating each other
Well the album really is getting interesting now! The 1975 have now also decided to try out jazz! Admittedly, when I first heard this song, I was not so sure about the large departure from their sound. That being said this song has really grown on me, due to it’s sheer brilliance! It has very catchy lyrics and brilliant instrumentation.
I Like America & America Likes Me
My skin is fire
It’s so desired
No gun required
Or will this help me lay down?
One of my favourites off the album. A unique and bizarre song (I can’t quite place what genre it is!) that is themed around gun violence and the fear of death.These themes make for a really powerful, emotionally charged song. It has a lot of energy and even more auto-tune; which like ‘TOOTIME’ really compliment the song.
The Man Who Married a Robot / Love Theme
And then he died in his lonely house, on the lonely street, in that lonely part of the world
You can go on his Facebook
A very unique spoken word track, narrated by Siri. The story that this track tells is a tragic tale of loneliness and internet dependence. Really hits you hard.
Inside Your Mind
Dreaming things I have the right to see
Lately you are dreaming you’re in love with me
The only option left, is look and see inside your mind
This song is very much a dark-horse of the album. With the powerful piano chords and vocals. My own interpretation of this love song is Healy thinking about the possibility of a lover becoming his wife. This lyrical theme really fits the intstrumentation, which very much has the feeling of a wedding song.
It’s Not Living (If It’s Not with You)
And all I do is sit and think about you
If I knew what you’d do
Collapse my veins wearing beautiful shoes
It’s not living if it’s not with you
I would definitley make a case of this being the best song that the band has even written. Much like ‘TOOTIME’, this song is very catchy. With the choral choruses; this song very much feels like a sequel to ‘This Must Be My Dream’ from the band’s second album. At first glance, the lyrics seem to refer to a lover, but after a couple of listens you soon release that the song instead deals with the pitfalls of drug addiction. That being said, I think I would struggle to find a drug more addictive than this song.
Surrounded by Heads and Bodies
She wears it like a dress
I think this song isn’t the band’s best and in many ways does feel like a filler. I just really do not know what to think of it, I want to like it as the rest of the album is so great. However the sparse instrumentation and repetitive vocals just make for a pretty dull track, if I am honest.
There comes a time in a young man’s life
He should settle down and find himself a wife
But I’m just fine ’cause I know that you’re mine
After the slight disappointment of the last track, the band has brought it back with this, beautiful, soft jazz track, again really showing how diverse The 1975 can be. I find this song a more relaxing version ‘Sincerity is Scary’; with beautiful piano and trumpet solo. Brilliant!
I Couldn’t Be More in Love
And you said you had enough
What about these feelings I’ve got?
I couldn’t be more in love
This song has grown on me massively since the album’s release. The song is an 80’s style ballad. In this sense, perhaps it would be better suited to the band’s second album: ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’ due to very much 80’s sounding style of that album. All the same, this is an excellent song, with the guitar solo being the icing on the cake.
I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)
On the video, living room for small
If you can’t survive, just try
A Britpop style ballad. Starts of with just acoustic guitar and builds up to a full band plus ochestra ballad. Lyrically, the song deals with mental health. I find the orchestral arrangement of this the perfect way to end the album; it almost feels like the end of a blockbuster movie! A perfect ending to not just an album, but a musical journey. Bring on ‘Notes on a Conditional Form’ in 2020!