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THE 1975 A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships gets 8.5/10


The 1975
A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships
Dirty Hit

8.5/10

The 1975 used to suck. They made pop music that pretended to be something else. They aren’t pretending anymore, and they are becoming impossible to ignore. Their third album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, is a pop masterpiece that analyses and comments on modern life, and starts a nuanced conversation. Frontman Matty Healy’s observations are smart, thought through, sometimes scary, and above all else, honest. They aren’t ‘just another pop band’ anymore. They have something important to say.

This becomes apparent on the album’s first single (and second track), Give Yourself A Try. Frantic sounding guitars repeat for the entire track, while Healy almost pleads with the listener to “give yourself a try,” an important message in a time where so many people struggle with self-doubt and anxiety. This track is very easy to love.

Another moment that really says something important, and perhaps says the most out of all the album’s tracks, is Love It If We Made It. The band instantly grab your attention with the line “fucking in a car, shooting heroin,” and they hold it for the entire four minutes and thirteen seconds. A lot of the lines in the song come from real news headlines, which is definitely worrying, but the line which really hits home is, “modernity has failed us.” It is such a powerful and such a bold statement. Despite the heavy lyrical content, Love It If We Made It is such a jam, thanks to the band’s machine-like and industrial sounding instrumentation behind the vocals.

The Siri-narrated The Man Who Married A Robot / Love Theme is, in fact, a brief inquiry into the relationship that we have with the world of online, telling the story of a lonely man who befriends the internet. The slightly uncomfortable sound of the British male Siri’s voice is backed by a beautiful instrumental track, which makes it actually enjoyable. The last line, however, is incredibly jarring. “You can go on his Facebook,” really makes you think about your own relationship with the internet.

The lyrical heaviness on the album is contrasted aptly with tracks like TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME, How To Draw / Petrichor and I Like America & America Likes Me. The first is such a fun track, and here Healy isn’t afraid to sing about something less significant. It sounds very much like a Drake release, but this just makes it a great pop song. How To Draw / Petrichor starts off slow, but transforms into a UK dance style track, thanks to drummer and producer George Daniel working his magic. I Like America & America Likes Me is Healy’s tribute to SoundCloud rap, and his take on what is popular at the moment. It doesn’t quite fit in on the album, but since when do The 1975 make albums that flow?

Inside Your Mind is a slightly gruesome, yet still somehow beautiful, love song. The production on this track is, once again, top quality. The way the violins quietly hum in the background, while the guitar riff swells up before the chorus is just wonderful. Another highlight of the album is Mine, a jazz style track reminiscent of sitting in a bar with a piano at 3am with smoke all around and some whisky. Its only fault is that the addition of strings takes a little away from the jazz effect, but it includes more excellent lines such as, “I fight crime online sometimes.”

The album ends on the brilliantly titled (and brilliant track), I Always Want To Die (Sometimes). Sounding like it belongs in a movie, it is an absolutely perfect pop song, complete with lyrics that hit perhaps a little too close to home. This is Healy saying, “I get you.” It transforms nicely from an acoustic-style, piano and voice verse into a huge, stadium singalong chorus, with big guitars and strings. It transforms yet again at the track’s conclusion into an orchestral instrumental that just reinforces its filmic credentials.

A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships showcases Matty Healy’s best lyrical content yet, and is George Daniel’s production masterpiece. The sound on this album is second to none. The social commentary is sure to make this album unforgettable, and relevant even in the future. If you hated The 1975, this album will teach you to love them, or at least like them.

KIERRA POLLOCK

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