The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships
By the time you read this, you undoubtedly will have read countless reviews, tweets, and Facebook hot takes on the 3rd official full length from everyone’s favorite new-new-wave pop act, The 1975.
Like the two records before it, ABIIOR is long and expansive—full of catchy earworms and left turns alike. But you expected that.
The rollout and prelude to the release was extensive. It’s hard to believe that this album is going to form the soundtrack to my holiday season when I was blasting “Give Yourself A Try” as a bit of a summer anthem. Some friends of mine decried that song as being lazy, but I enjoyed it for what it was. I wondered if the rest of the album would follow suit in a similarly polarizing fashion. As soon as I heard the driving “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME” I knew that would not be the case.
Suffice it to say that this album makes me feel a lot of different things. I went into this looking for big hooks to dance to and epic contemplative moments like the shoegaze-influeced “Lostmyhead” on their previous release. This album is actually full of a lot more quiet moments than I expected. Yet they somehow manage to be cutting edge and nostalgic in several different ways at the same time!
Everyone seems to be bringing up the album closer, “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes),” as the crowd favorite. I saw a tweet from pop artist Phangs that said that song is “more third eye blind than current third eye blind.” The vibe is definitely a throwback to 90s alt rock, putting on 3EB and even bits of Goo Goo Dolls. And… this might offend some people… I get very slight vibes of Anberlin’s “(*fin)” on the track. I think it might be the key it’s sung in. But two era-defining album closers? Sure. I’ll take it!
As I mentioned earlier the album doesn’t shy away from the slow burners. But there are a lot of different ways they travel in this lane. From the mildly shoegaze-influenced power balled, “Inside Your Mind,” to the less is more acoustic driven Radiohead-esque “Surrounded By Heads and Bodies” to the jazzy “Mine,” there’s a little something for everyone here (pardon the cliche phrase). The band manages to be both sweet and disquieting at once. Sometimes you have moments like “I Couldn’t Be More in Love” where this might as well be a power ballad plucked straight out of the 80s.
You might say that The 1975 is a band of pleasing juxtapositions.
The bigger thing to consider in this record is the inspiration behind the title. We’re quickly approaching a time of reckoning with how time online is shaping our psyche. The interlude, “The Man Who Married a Robot,” isn’t going to be a go-to track for me, but the commentary expressed in the metaphor is pretty obvious: we still don’t know what we’re getting into with our approach to online interactions, so we should be cautious and not let interpersonal interactions fall by the wayside. Matt even pulls up a familiar quote from Christ, “man does not live by bread alone,” to illustrate his point.
I could keep going, but it would likely add unnecessary elements to the echo chamber that already exists around this band. How is this album affecting you?