ALBUM REVIEW: The 1975 // A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships




Recommended Tracks: It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You), I Couldn’t Be More in Love, I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)
Artists You May Like: COIN, Pale Waves, Bleachers

A little over a year and a half ago, as The 1975 were winding down the tour for their second album, fans began to prep for what they thought would be the next album from the boys:  Music for Cars.  However, this past summer, The 1975 surprised everyone when they announced that Music for Cars wasn’t going to be the name of the next album–it would be the name of the next era.  This next era includes not one, but TWO albums:  A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships and Notes On A Conditional Form, which is due out next year.

We begin this new era with A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships.  As one has learned to expect from The 1975, this album contains all kinds of genres.  It opens with their traditional beginning track, “The 1975,” which has been altered, once again, to represent what is in store on the album.  The album then proceeds with the already released singles, “Give Yourself A Try” and “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME,” before going into a track that fans might be surprised to hear, “How To Draw / Petrichor.”  This track was a bonus track on their last album, but has now been enhanced for its official debut.  It sounds tranquil for a while, but then takes on a dance persona similar to  “I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it,” which is also from the band’s previous album.

The next two tracks on the album are the more “creative” tracks, as they showcase the band’s ability to hone in on a certain style.  While “Sincerity Is Scary” was also released as a single earlier this year, it taps into a new genre that we had not heard from the band:  neo-jazz.  There are parts of the song that tap into the jazz genre, but the band has contorted parts of the genre to make the song sound more like an experimental jazz piece.  We then have the track, “I Like America & America Likes Me,” which has been described in several reviews and interviews as the “Kanye” style song.  Due to its use of auto-tune and the way that Matty recites the lyrics, I can now understand the reference.  It is definitely a standout.

A pivotal moment on the album is not actually a song, but a story.  The main character in the story is a man whose best friend is the internet and it is told in a way that a parent might recite a bedtime story to children.  The narrator’s indifference makes the audience think it actually is a tale of fiction, however, there are loads of people out there who have created special relationships with computers.  While the story is not there to criticize or call out any one thing, as is often the focus of a song by The 1975, it is there to draw attention to this modern world that we live in and some of the things that have been cultivated by society.

The rest of the album has a strong shift in mood, as the songs are a lot more straightforward.  While it is nice to have the fun songs with all of the special effects and upbeat rhythms, it is also refreshing to take a break from that and just hear a song at its worth.  These tracks, such as “Inside Your Mind” and “I Couldn’t Be More In Love,” are very reserved and show a side of Matty that we have not really seen.  The themes are a little more mature, as “Mine” deals with coming to terms with getting older and settling into adulthood.  The last song, “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes),” is very affecting and has one of my favorite lyrics on the album:  “If you can’t survive; just try.”

When I first heard the title of this album, I thought that the album would explore the idea of people and the internet.  However, the only track that literally depicts that notion is the story of the man and his computer.  Online relationships are explored, but also are relationships that people have with themselves, with other people, and with the world.  We hear about life that goes on “out there,” as well as the feelings and the situations that people face once they are inside and away from all of the noise.  This is not just “the album of 2018;” it is 2018.

You can stream A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships on sites like Apple Music and Spotify.

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