Arts & Culture

The 1975 releases aesthetically risky breakup album

Somber undertones, religious influences pervade group’s second studio album

By
Arts & Culture Editor
Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The 1975 released its latest album, “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it” Feb. 26, combining a sense of the old, the new and the unusual. The album starts with the band’s customary sound of frustrated lyrics mixed with an upbeat tune and purposeful, innovative instrumentals.

In two of the album’s first three songs, “Love Me” and “UGH!,” frontman Matt Healy sings about the complications of a relationship that he knows is destined to fail.

“Love Me” centers on a relationship with a famous singer who will not commit to loving him, but her own lyrics ask her music fans to love her work. Healy belts out the lyrics in a frustrated manner, angered by the girl’s ironic inability to love.

“UGH!” talks about a relationship in which Healy was not given the freedom to pursue his own interests outside the shared experiences of his relationship. The title of the song encompasses all the expressions of annoyance and hurt surging through the song in one exclamatory word. While the title is simple, it is both powerful and evocative.

Both of these songs are deep and personal, but they are the most upbeat and positive songs of the album. The rest of the playlist takes on a somber, even depressing tone. A darkness pervades the music and seeps into the body of the listener.

The change is immediate within the first few notes of the fourth song, “A Change of Heart.” The song documents the realization that your partner is cold-hearted and can no longer be loved. Healy sings of “having a change of heart” and breaking off the relationship but still feeling the repercussions of his choice. He slides into a depressive state in which he only wants to take a break from the world and go on the road for an undefined journey.

“She’s American” piggybacks off “A Change of Heart” by moving on from this toxic relationship while remaining cautious about falling in love again. Healy sings of looking out for certain characteristics of his ex that will impede his efforts to find somebody new.

“If I Believe You” is the most emotional track of the album, because Healy slowly sings of his fragile state of mind and his inability to forget his breakup. The song has undertones of religious influence: The background singers invoke gospel-like vocals, and the lyrics mention Healy’s strong belief in Evangelism despite his ex’s desire to change him into an atheist. The most powerful moment is when Healy moans, “And I’m broken and bleeding / And begging for help / And I’m asking you, Jesus, show yourself.” This lyric is vulnerable, beautiful and tragic, so much so that whether the listener is religious or not is beside the point. Healy cries for help in this deep depressive state, and his line appeals to the kindness of humanity to support him in some capacity.

The next three songs, “Please Be Naked,” “Lostmyhead” and “The Ballad of Me and My Brain” are about Healy’s lowest of the low moments. He has “lost his head” and does not even know who he is anymore. “Please Be Naked” is an instrumental, an unusual track to include in the band’s album as they have not included instrumental tracks on previous albums. The other two songs have minimal lyrics, another unique component of the playlist.

The overall aesthetic and lyrical innovation of The 1975’s latest album allows the listener to gain a sense of understanding about the band and grip the harsh reality of breakups and toxic relationships. Healy’s voice is authentic, and his lyrics express the true emotions of a person going through a breakup. He does not pretend that these matters are simple. The words he sings to his listeners are thoughtful and precise.

This album is the greatest work of The 1975’s career. The band members take musical risks and expand both their style and scope of material. “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet unaware of it” is a line for listeners who turn to music for thought-provoking lyrics, which the 1975 delivers in its most recent album.

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