The 1975 are...
Lots of words and letters but mostly sounds and notions
Sometimes, the thought of writing about something I’m very fond of/passionate about overwhelms me. Not in a bad way, but in a way that I feel the subconscious need to justify my love and further elaborate on said love in a convincing or eloquent manner. I also believe the idea/logical recounting of love is messy and subjective anyways so like, what? It sounds ridiculous, but I suppose anyone who’s ever loved anything—a person, place or thing—has their reasons for feeling strongly and that’s that so like… me @ me: it’s not that deep.
I’m sharing a bit of the prior thought pattern with you because I’ve been struggling with how to begin the thought bubble(s) I have in regards to a band I’ve grown up with and have held close to my heart for over a decade now—that band being The 1975.
In order to stop procrastinating the “overwhelming” feeling I feel when trying to start this essay of sorts, I’m resorting to what I would like to call my path of passion i.e. a method that involves seeing where my thoughts take me first.
I fucking love this band.
Musically speaking, when thinking of a favorite artist of mine that wasn’t directly derived from my parent’s musical influences or older brother’s iTunes account (all of which spanned several kinds of genres), The 1975 was one of the first artists I discovered on my own, and felt connected to in more ways than one from the start. After discovering Tumblr in 2011, a blogging platform one could follow other users and have different kinds of content (text posts, images, videos etc.) recommended to them based on their interests, I started to see a few EP’s pop up from this band with obscure-ish black and white cover art and seemingly mundane song titles to match.
I was hooked. At the time, I didn’t know what that thing was in particular that had me hooked—but something about the tone of the EP’s from an instrumental and lyrical standpoint had me wanting, and actively waiting for more. Flash forward to a 2014 concert and two records later, a project I did during college in 2019 that explored the typographic expressiveness of the bands then discography from a conceptual standpoint, and the release of their latest record, Being Funny in a Foreign Language earlier this month—I’ve been feeling more reflective than usual.
In my opinion, from one album to another, The 1975 are constantly evolving and experimenting with their meaning, songwriting, instrumentals and connection. Within that connection, there’s disconnection, distortion and the constant pursuit of simply being. This ever changing and rearranging notion of being was the particular thing I realized I connected with from the first time I heard them; the way they’ve unfolded and continued to explore this notion musically is something I’ll never get tired of gushing over.
Around two in the morning last Saturday, I started wondering about the marketing behind the band to date and the evolution of a musician, generally speaking, from one record to another. Too tired to write out my thoughts, I decided to record a bit of them—do listen below.
In short, if you didn’t listen (no worries—I’m not offended—I yawned a lot anyways), I started questioning the more official “hype” their most recent album has received in comparison to their album prior. Their most recent album being their fifth, Being Funny in a Foreign Language, has received so much buzz in a matter of two weeks that I just… it’s not that I wasn’t expecting it because it’s well deserved and such, but I just wonder what was said or done in particular before this release, behind the scenes(?), that made the promo and release feel so different from their fourth studio album, Notes on a Conditional Form, which is just as strong in nature as their latest record.
As I questioned in my voice note, it truly could just come down to the fact Notes on a Conditional Form was far more experimental production and concept wise than their albums prior—potentially catching some listeners off guard—and was released during 2020 when the world was curling in. The three albums prior to NOACF all followed a loosely similar structure of visuals and easter eggs. Their third album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, despite being different from the first two albums conceptually, felt more like a gradual evolution of the band’s craft and provided prevalent commentary on that electronic brick most of us hold in our hands daily. NOACF presented a 180° to a fanbase during a world of events 360° so… who knows what the buzz would’ve looked like otherwise.
I think a lot of how and when a musician has their “moment” in today’s climate has to do with the media and mixed perceptions at large. Marketing is a powerful tool, especially in the arts, as is fostering a dedicated fanbase. I think The 1975, in conjunction with their evolving talent and record label, Dirty Hit, have learned how to marry these valuable aspects in an artful and genuine way.
Pro’s and con’s aside, I’ve loved every album this band has put out at the time of its release for a plethora of reasons, and said reasons have transformed overtime just as the essence of a musician’s career does. I also know I really love something when I have the ability to criticize it because no one is perfect, obviously. If you love digging into instrumentals, lyrics, influences, concepts and the like, The 1975 will not disappoint. With every album they’ve produced, there’s a narrative, a visual and an absurdity to it all that’s too real yet too ridiculous to deny.
Candidly, to revisit what I said at the top of this block of text, I’m happy I went down my path of passion when unpacking this topic. I’m not sure what it is that sometimes holds me back from feeling like I need more information or facts to justify my strong interest in something—which then makes me go down a silent rabbit hole of procrastination because “OH, how ever will I accurately describe my love for this thing to people?!?” but like, who cares. I care, but I think it’s because I care about how I choose to relay thoughts and information, subjective or objective, so—it makes sense. The mental block I experience is all a preconceived feeling I’ll probably write an essay on soon—it’s kind of like the “name three songs then” meme when wearing a musician’s T-shirt like… again… love what you wanna love, but it’s not that deep <3
Thank you for reading.
Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work :)