Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
pinkiscool – The 1975, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships (2018)
For me, I think the 1975’s A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships is one of the most musically versatile, generationally relatable and authentic records in this modern era. Borrowing nostalgia from 70’s and 80’s pop and rock, The 1975 have crafted a memorable snapshot of time, developed further by Matty Healy’s lyrics, which, depict the highs and lows of modern relationships and communication. While also touching on themes of mortality and politics. The use of humour and self-reference create an incredibly entertaining and unique lyrical landscape, open to interoperation on a number of different levels.
The entirely self-produced project totals just under an hour in length, also being representative of our increasingly diminishing attention span as a society – often referenced in the songs. The use of organic textures, live strings, harps and ethereal production creates an emotional listening experience throughout the entire 58 minutes, and, if you haven’t yet, I would highly recommend listening to the album in its entirety, in order.
One of the many things I love about this record is the constantly conflicting ideas. Songs such as ‘Too Time’ and ‘Give Yourself A Try’ centralise around confidence and finding peace and understanding despite the constant challenges of the world. Then there’s a song like ‘Sincerity is Scary’, which is, as the title suggests, a take on modern relationships and how our generation is increasingly afraid to honestly communicate, preferring to internalise our feelings whenever there is confrontation.
Throughout the record, there are two different interludes, one being ‘How to Draw / Petrichor’ and the other ‘The Man Who Married A Robot/ Love Theme’. These are incredible examples of The 1975’s musicianship and sense of production while being quite minimal – echoing the artwork of the project, they encapsulate an indescribable feeling of blissful apathy and crushing anxiety at the same time. These interludes use humour (especially in the second interlude) to subvert the modern experience and things we do to seemingly make ourselves happy, then, abruptly confront us with the nature of mortality, finishing the story with “you can go on his Facebook”. I found it an incredibly clever way to artistically communicate fear of death and an even greater fear of somehow doing life wrong before we get to the end.
As previously mentioned the band is extremely politically conscious, that being one of the many reasons I love what they do. ‘Love It If We Made It’ is a great example of this. The band, over a few years, take every major news headline and newspaper style cutting them into the lyrics of a song with an important message. The 1975 has always been politically and environmentally conscious with recent work being done with the amazing eco-activist Greta Thunberg.
This record, however, does not come without its dark sides. ‘Be My Mistake’ is a self-confrontational ballad about Healy’s cheating and misdemeanours in the past. The peaceful instrumental and Healy’s restrained tone on this song is, in a way, quite darkly beautiful. This brings me to one of my favourite songs ever, let alone on this record, ‘I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)’.
Another modern take on mortality and the cyclical nature of life. One of my favourite lyrics ever in this song is: “Your death, it won’t happen to you, it happens to your family and your friends”.
Such a beautifully morbid but honest line, I think it really shows the authenticity of the lyrics across The 1975’s projects.
All in all, this Record is a fun but confronting journey, with deeply thought out lyrics and expertly constructed production and songwriting. Definitely, the type of album to take on a night drive in the rain and listen through the whole thing to fully experience the emotion.
The 1975 is a constant influence on my own music and I’m excited to see what they do next.