A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

“I’m making pop records,” The 1975 frontman Matty Healy told Beats 1 host Matt Wilkinson. “When I say we’re a pop band, what I’m really saying is we’re not a rock band. Please stop calling us a rock band—’cause I think that’s the only music we don’t make.” It’s a fair comment: Thanks to their eclecticism and adventure, attempting to label The 1975 has been as easy as serving tea in a sieve. On their third album, the Cheshire four-piece are, once again, many things, including jazz crooners, 2-step experimentalists and yearning balladeers. What’s most impressive is their ability to wrangle all these ideas into coherent music—their outsize ambition never makes the songs feel cluttered. “I hate prog, I hate double albums, I hate indulgence,” said Healy. “I hate it when the world goes, ‘Hey, you’ve got our attention!’ and someone goes, ‘Right, well, if I’ve got your attention, how many guitar solos…’” Crucially, Healy’s lyrics add extra substance to—and bind together—the kaleidoscope of styles. On the neo-jazz of “Sincerity Is Scary,” he rails against a modern aversion to emotional expression. Broadly an album about love in the digital age, A Brief Inquiry… offers compelling insights into Healy’s own life. “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)” provides an unvarnished account of his heroin addiction, while “Surrounded By Heads and Bodies” draws on his experiences in rehab and “Be My Mistake” examines guilt and compulsion. “Honestly, you can look at your work and be like, ‘What did I do there that someone likes?’” he said. “Me, when I’m, like, really personal or really inward, really honest, that’s when I get the best reaction.” Introspection needn’t breed a somber mood though. From the tropical pop of “Tootimetootimetootime” to the spry electro-indie of “Give Yourself a Try,” this is an album full of uplifting, melodic rushes. “My favorite records are about life,” said Healy. “It may be a bit of a big thing to say, but I like the all-encompassing aspect of life: You can have these bits, the sad bits, but don’t leave the dancing out, you know what I mean?”

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