From the mystifying intro (“The 1975”) to the slow, quiet conclusion (“Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You”), The 1975’s debut album pulls you into their black-and-white world of mystery, love, sex and troubled youth.
The Manchester England quartet (Matthew Healy-vocals; guitar-Adam Hann-guitar; George Daniel-drums; Ross MacDonald-bass) had been noticed in the alternative/indie scene as early as 2012 with their single “Chocolate” and have been rising to the spotlight ever since. With this release of their first full-length album, I’d say they are well on their way to international fame.
In this review I will be highlighting some of my favorite tracks and summarizing the album as a whole.
Track 1, “The 1975.” With the first few haunting sounds, this intro sets the scene for what’s to come. This album wears its heart on its sleeve. Matthew Healy’s lead vocals show off his Manchester slang (as he does through the whole album) and leave you begging for more. I wish this track were longer!
Track 2, “The City.” This song really jumps starts the album. The drums go into a full intro as Healy’s vocals start their beautiful assault of accented lyrics “Don’t call it fight when you know it’s a war//with nothin’ but your t-shirt on.” The guitar riff starts and the song just seems to take you away from there.
Track 5, “Sex.” This is one of the more powerful and gritty songs of the album, which was also a demo released on one of their early EPs. I feel it is at the heart of the album, covering the major themes of the album-rebellion, troubled youth, and sex. It is beautifully crafted musically, with haunting guitar as the verses are sung. The words stick with you — “She’s got a boyfriend anyway” — painting a picture of how today’s generation so easily engages in sexual behavior with each other, even if they’re involved with someone else.
Track 8, “Heart Out.” This is a fun, flirty, synth-powered song that just wants to have a good time. I really like the ’80s vibe you get from the synth and sax sounds.
Track 9, “Settle Down” A wonderful mid-tempo song with a wonderful guitar riff and lyrics. Healy’s voice is so smooth and chill at the bridge.
Track 10, “Robbers.” This is by far, to me, the best song on the album. The guitar line is beautiful and the lyrics are haunting (especially with Healy’s emotional vocals). “She had a face straight outta’ magazine//God only knows you’ll never leave her.” This song really shapes the mood and theme of the album. The song seems to describe a troubled girl a guy is in a relationship with. He wants to leave her, but finds it hard to. We hear the theme of troubled youth and rebellion.
Track 11 “Girls.” This song picks up the pace again with a quick little guitar riff and cheeky lyrics, talking about the troubles with being involved with young rebellious girls.
To sum it up, The 1975’s debut album is a piece of art. From the mysterious and gritty black-and-white album cover, to the haunting sounds of the electric guitar and synth-driven music, poetic lyrics, and intriguing vocals, it just pulls you in from start to finish. It strives to be different and experiment with different sounds, meshing genres like pop and R&B together with traditional alternative rock. Also, this album has two instrumental interludes that compliment two songs, the first one being Track 7 (“An Encounter”) that complements “Robbers”, and “12” which intros Track 13, “She Way Out.” This further proves that this album is more than a list of songs. It seems it was carefully planned to be a listening experience.
So if you want to experience something different in music, I suggest you pick up a copy of “The 1975” and lose yourself in their colorless but nonetheless vivid world.