Reviewing The 1975’s A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

Reviewing The 1975's A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

Dirty Hit, Polydor Records, and Interscope Records

This is an hour of time well spent. The entirety of The 1975’s third full-length album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, is full of the band’s unique sound. True to its title, the songs each have a snazzy take on the connection between relationships or romance and the age of the interwebs.

The 1975

This song is the first found on each of the band’s full-length albums. A namesake and a keepsake, it’s a low and shot song combining everything that the band is: quirky sounding and slightly confusing, but with relatable lyrics. With each new album, they’ve used the same lyrics with a revamped sound. In this version, there is high contrast between the heavily stacked and manipulated vocals and and the soft piano. This is the perfect introduction given the familiarity of the song itself, and it introduces the entirety of the album: the interaction between humanity and technology is oddly perfect.

Give Yourself A Try

This was the first single released from this particular album. It is a complete turn around from the first track, with an upbeat, quick, strong flow, though the same quirkiness is still present. The strong message of being yourself fits this generation because social masks are used online and in real life. In this particular song, there are many references to how this person feels old, almost out of date with this new generation, but they’re fine with that fact. Change is natural, so it you want to change to fit the times, that’s okay, but so is staying “out of date”. The only judge in your life is yourself, and the 1975 found a great, unformulated way to share this message.

TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME

Another single, another upbeat song, and another strong message. There is unfaithfulness in relationships, but add the different communication methods provided with the digital age and you’ve got an even bigger mess. The song’s light beat makes me feel like I should sing along, but it’s about the line between regular, social interactions and infidelity. Interestingly enough, it’s lyrically sound, creating the argument that unfaithfulness is hard to measure, but easy to accuse someone of in this technologically dependent world. In general, TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME is the sing along anthem of the album.

How To Draw / Petrichor

Not going to lie, this song is dense in computerized sounds. Parts of both the intro and outro sound as if they were recorded from computer error messages, typing, and whatever sound a fax machine happens to make. The way they were stacked together though, gave the song a worthy beat. How To Draw / Petrichor is a synthesized retake on a bonus track from the second album i like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful, yet it fits the script of this album nonetheless. It’s the longest track, but the lyrics stand in about a fourth of the songs entirety. The track shouts about loving yourself first without the distraction of the internet is a good path to take, fitting the album’s reputation.

Love It If We Made It

The second single released is a personal favorite of mine. It sings out the absolute truth of modern society, something that isn’t common for musicians to do. Lyrically, it’s not the most appropriate song on the album, but it is truthful in the same sense that the rest of the album has. The crescendo in the introduction of the song is not let down by the rest of it. There’s a strong sense of making life more than just the path to death. In tune with the rest of the songs, it’s about hope, not just for love and the relationship, but for themselves when, in these times, it’s possible to die any second.

Be My Mistake

A sweet, sick love song. A person is trying to figure out what they really want, particularly in another person. It’s the point where the relationship in question stands in the grey area of life. It’s probably  the best song, lyrically, but it steps outside of the tempo of the other tracks. It misses the heavy technological input of many of the songs on this album, but the preceding songs feel as if they almost led to this song. I really love this song because I get to listen to Healy on vocals and on acoustic guitar, and, for me, that’s the best combination. To be blunt, this is the song I’ll listen to on repeat out of the entirety of the album.

Sincerity Is Scary

The 1975 put a groove into this song. I felt a little personally attacked listening to it because it was so true. Most of this album makes me feel attacked, but the commentary on interactions were “calling me out”, but the song itself still pulled me in. Facades are more common than truthfulness because caring means that you could get hurt, but not caring means that you’re a butt without emotions. No one wants to get hurt, but no one wants to be made a butt. It’s the most truthful song on this album, no denying it, but you’d definitely feel attacked on some level listening to it.

I Like America & America Likes Me

This song is a rather funky take on gun violence. It is a shout to be heard, and it will be listened to. The chorus expresses how the message must be heard, and it’s from the perspective of a young adult dealing with the gun violence. It takes a strong stance on how guns should not be so available in the U.S. It’s intense and eye-opening in both the sound of Mat Healy’s  increasingly dense, layered voice, as well as lyrical content. If you listen to just one song on this album, I Like America & America Likes Me is the one because it combines the sound of the 1975, quality lyrical content, and applicable messages.

The Man Who Married A Robot / Love Theme

This is hardly a song, to be honest. It’s a story, told by Siri against an oddity of an instrumentals. I couldn’t stop humming with the familiar sounding non-lyrical portion, until I started listening to the story itself. It was the oddest way for a story of a hermit to be told, especially when his only “real” friend is the Internet. It fits the theme of the album (online relationships are super weird), but if you were expecting to listen to the sweet melody of Mr. Matt Healy, you went to the wrong track on the album. It’s the oddity of the album which, in itself, is saying a lot.

Inside Your Mind

All I can say is the piano. It edges into a harsh, yet pleasing guitar, fitting the grotesque, romantic-ish act of getting inside someone’s mind. Some of the lyrics are “The back of your head is at the front of mine / Soon I’ll crack it open just to see what’s inside your mind” which I guess is totally romantic if you just want to better the relationship with the information you get from cracking open your significant other’s head. The alright, right? This is one of those songs I would be down to listen to if I was in a frustrating situation, in general, with someone else.

It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)

You got me at the smooth guitar riff. This was the final single, released about a month and a half before the album was put out. The guitar enraptured me and the upbeat sound made me want to move, but the lines had me rethinking my life. Technically speaking, It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You,) is about the struggles of heroin addiction and keeping a relationship. You can’t be okay if you can’t think straight, and that’s important. If you need someone else to live, that’s not okay either because they can disappear from your life in a snap. This is one for the “chill” or “sad” playlist is you look at what Healy sings, but if you just need the beat, go head and set it in whatever upbeat playlists you have.

Surrounded By Heads And Bodies

When this song plays, I have a need to focus solely on listening to it. It’s composed of three verses and no chorus, and that makes the song sound more powerful and raw. To follow It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You), it fulfills the story. It’s about someone struggling with addiction watching someone else struggle with addiction when they are both attempting to sober up. It hurts to comprehend this song, so I usually sit when it comes on my queue, just to get through it, and I spend some time reflecting.

Mine

I feel like I’m floating upon the water of a really slowly whirlpool. Not a jazz fan, but this was… interesting. The first 45 seconds are just instrumental. Songs that take a while to start drive me a little mental, but, in this case, I rather appreciated the chill time. Given the two songs that it follows, I feel like I needed this type of song. The “necessity” of relationships is discussed, but it feels less intense. Again, there’s no chorus, but if there was, it would feel like it’s too much. This felt like more of a “future reference” song than anything else.

I Couldn’t Be More In Love

Woah. The beat makes the song feel like it’s a love song, and, then, you listen to Healy and the band’s harmonies and it hits you. The relationship in question has come to the point where there is no effort being put in. The juxtaposition of the familiarity of a formulated love and the message of just being done hit me. I can barely tolerate the song only because it’s one that makes me feel sad about a relationship I don’t have, but it truly is quality content.

I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)

Okay, why does the guitar introduction sound like it was sampled from a love song from a Disney Channel Movie? It’s probably just me hearing that, though. In itself, it has a pretty good, thought out composition, and one can’t deny that this is top three from this album. It composes how everyone was feeling in 2018. Trying to live had seemed a lot harder than ever, and this song, with just the chorus, expresses that. It’s a chill sounding song, but it also chills you to the bone. It’s a song I listen to with caution.

Great

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