The 1975 has a “Change of Heart” with new sound

Julia James, Staff Writer

I found The 1975 on Pandora. “Chocolate” started to play through my crappy, overused Apple earphones, and I thought, “This is interesting”. I think it first played on a Justin Timberlake station, but I remember switching back and forth from listening to “TKO” to “Chocolate” on YouTube.

At first I wasn’t sure what to make of the band or their music. The music video for “Chocolate” was of four guys driving around in a car on a rainy day, all of whom were in black jeans, leather jackets and sporting cool hairstyles. The whole video was in black and white. They all looked edgy and different and mysterious and I loved it. The 1975 didn’t sound like bubblegum pop music, and yet they were not all the way into the alternative/indie scene, but I was intrigued because they sounded different, and I liked that.

It was only until later that I found out that the metaphor that was “Chocolate” was actually weed, and the ‘boys in blue’ that Matthew Healy (the lead singer) crooned on about hiding from were the cops. Despite my dislike for drugs and breaking the law, something about the way that story was told was cool. The song was catchy. And I was hooked. The story telling, picture building and at times allegorical lyrics continued throughout the album.

The band covered a range of topics: drugs, girls, love. Often in their songs, instruments were the back up to the heavy use of synthesizers, but it worked, and everything came together in a very chill, unaggressive manner. Nothing seemed forced or random, but layered on top of each other, in a way that created full, interesting, thought-provoking music.  

The band described their first album as being a soundtrack for an ‘80s movie. It’s quite easy to hear that much of the band’s influences come from 80’s pop music. But the band, at that time and in that album, never took on the title or sound of a generic, revived ‘80s pop band.

The 1975 plans to release their second 17-track album in February 2016. I’m afraid that long gone are their days of the all-black, dark clothes-wearing, mysterious and moody looking band. They’ve gone through a revival, I’d say, and that makes me nervous. Everything is bright now. Their former iconic black rectangle is now pink, and everything on the band’s Instagram has color. What does that mean for their sound?

“Love Me”, their new song from their second album, was released a few months ago and it sounds like a hardcore ‘80s pop song. Matty sings (and screams) about this new technology-driven, fame-seeking generation that we’re living in. He’s critiquing it but in an extravagant, pop-sounding way. The old 1975 was not a pop band, but just based on “Love Me”, it sounds as though they are transitioning into becoming one. The 1975 began as understated and layered, but not forced. Based on their evolution in look and the sound of  “Love Me”, I’d say they’ve gone a complete 180. I don’t know what to make of that yet. The old 1975 was brilliant and I’m sure they will continue being so, but we’ll just have to wait and see.