The 1975 'A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships' (Album Review)
Oscar Rendon | St. Louis, MO | December 4th, 2018
‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’ marks the third album in The 1975’s catalog of music. Having released several singles in promotion for the album the band deliver us one of their most ambitious and intimate albums to date. The 1975 is comprised of frontman Matty Healy, Adam Hann, Ross MacDonald, and George Daniel. After a brief hiatus from their previous record ‘I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it’ (2016) the band has been quiet and writing for their third album. Matt Healy has been open about his addiction to drugs and recent recovery, but it does not define him or the music released November 30th, 2018. Read our review of ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’ below.
The album begins with a jazzy piano of the ever evolving intro to their albums with “The 1975”. A majority of the vocals are distorted but makes it easy to make out the lyrics. “Give Yourself A Try” really picks up the beat and sets the tone for the album, the song seems to be commentary on posts, tweets, and photos we upload on social media and more on how we use it and what it is we use it for. “Won’t you give yourself a try” speaks to the universal “be yourself” and don’t get so wrapped up on who people perceive you to be online. The guitar from the beginning gives it this kinetic energy that wraps this song up in a nice pop tune. “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME” has a very dance-pop feel. The synths give it that bopping energy that is sure to be a crowd pleaser on the dance floor. Even though Matty’s voice is masked in a little auto-tune it doesn’t disguise his voice entirely and fits the tone of the song. “How To Draw/ Petrichor” feels very atmospheric, almost like you’re standing outside as snow begins to fall. The music is beautiful, almost from a music box. Just with “The 1975” the vocals are distorted but you can just make out the name of the song “how to draw” in the song. The song has about 3 transformations within itself with a very electro-beat added midway through the song. “Love It If We Made It” is one of the singles released and it’s the most talked about for very good reason. The song is blunt with it’s political and social overtones. The lyrics are profound and very in tune with what is going on in the world right now. Although much of the verses are these darker themes, the chorus does have an ounce of hope as the song exclaims “I’d love it if we made it”. “Be My Mistake” gives us our first listen to a stripped down instrumentation with Matty and a guitar as he softly sings. It feels personal to the core as he sings about someone being his mistake and how he is feeling when he’s alone. The inner conflict reads from the first listen of this song. “Sincerity Is Scary” is the love song that isn’t trying to be but just is, the horns and jazzy tone give it this romantic vibe you can play when you’re feeling those feelings. “Why cant we be friends, when we are lovers, this thing always ends, with us hating each other” is the base of the lyrical content. The fact that it’s a question is also a great layer and something for listeners to answer when relationships end. The drums give it that croon undertone along with the added elements of the horns and piano. “I Like America & America Likes Me” is a tricky song talk about, once again the vocals are heavily distorted with auto-tune but reading the lyrical content it’s more about the values people hold now in America, our priorities and how well the band highlight this moment in time with the song. One lyric that really best describes this is “Is that designer? Is that on fire? Am I a liar?”. “The Man Who Married A Robot/Love Theme” is nicely written musically with the instrumentation. The story is about our relationship with the internet and how we are dependent on it every day. It paints a really sad picture and yet it’s something that we need to hear when you think of it in the grand scheme of things. “Inside Your Mind” is a very straight forward song lyrically of just wanting to know what someone you’re with is thinking of, he sounds a little confused or curious and he’s trying to figure them out. Just reading the lyrics alone it’s pretty dark but in context with the song and how it’s sung it’s more of an exploration. “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)” returns to a very classic pop sound, and plays into the idea of simulations (like The Matrix). It explores of the themes of separation and obsession. “Surrounded by Heads and Bodies” opens up slow with a nice guitar and sticks with the acoustic sound. The lyrics are simple and clear. “Mine” has a nice piano open that continues that is soothing and haunting at the same time. The jazz influence is strong in this one and it really is a nice love song of the more classic standards. “I Couldn’t Be More In Love” feels like an 80’s ballad in all the great ways possible. The sense of Whitney Houston and the lingering guitars take you back to that time especially with the choir in the background during the later chorus. The final song “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)” has this finality to it that ties the album perfectly and you hear an OASIS influence with the melody and how the chorus is vocalized. Overall, the album from start to finish is an easy listen, you don’t want to skip songs but enjoy them. The 1975 really show us a mature and evolving sound as they continue to create unique and out of the box songs that make them stand out.