“You learn a couple of things when you get to my age,” Matty Healy projects in the 1975’s third studio album. Whether or not this was delivered with a bit of cheekiness, the statement is something most people can relate to, especially Healy himself. Following the success of the bands previous album,’ I Like It When You Sleep for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’,  life appears to have been full of ups and downs for the frontman, juggling global success, tour life and a trip to rehab following heroin addiction. Though in Hollywood this would cause a blown-out media frenzy – perhaps some saying his career is on the verge of failing – this wasn’t the case for the twenty-nine year old, in fact, that was the start of a brand new era for the 1975.

Healy and co. have moved on from their sophomore album and brought to the table a record that seeks to make statements in relation to societal issues. The song ‘I Like America & America Likes Me’ almost acts as a ‘fuck you’ to the government. “Kids don’t want rifles, they want supreme,” Healy sings. Similar to Kendrick Lamar who tackled this issue on the track ‘XXX’, the band’s frontman does a Kanye with his use of autotune to make his opinion noted.  ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’ is the musical equivalent to people’s truthful thoughts, opinions that are unedited but inspired by a global mess of ignorance and frustration.

There is something to admire about the record, and it’s not just the connotation of the tracks but the contrast of them that highlights the bands diversity both lyrically and musically. There is true emotion about how it cuts from a controversially infested but equally relevant ‘Love It If We Made It’, to ‘I Couldn’t Be More In Love’, a ballad that you could imagine in a film painting the image of an individual high on love.

The album seeks more than offering a vast variety of songs. The band’s unique songwriting is never afraid to be listener-friendly – the tune of both ‘Give Yourself A Try’ and ‘TooTimeTooTimeTooTime’ is commercially-electric, which contrasts the melody of ’Inside Your Mind’ which is the kind of song that you want to listen to on the bus during a rainy day. That said, ‘Petrichor’ touches upon an energizing sound that they’ve not focused on before. The vocals on the lyrics “Don’t let the internet ruin your time, they can take anything as long as it’s true” mimics a glitch, a techno way of allowing the message to get across.

That’s one thing that is interesting about the tracks on the record, Healy’s vocals vary in tone depending on the issue being explored. The social anthem, ‘Love It If We Made’ is a prime example. “Jesus save us modernity has failed us,” Healy bellows. The song is sung in a manner of both desperation and hope that the volatile aspects of modern society can change, made impactful with its galvanic up-beat sound. But then we have ‘Be My Mistake’, an acoustic ballad that sounds as if Healy is being brutally honest about the life of a rock star, the idea of longing for someone while a herd of women want to have sex with him.

The 1975 are quite bold on ‘A Brief Inquiry’ as in this album goes big on being unconventional in a way of dealing with modern communication and how it’s shaping our society. “You try and mask your pain in the most postmodern way,” Healy sings on ‘Sincerity is Scary’. This is the singers way of becoming an advocate for postmodernism, denouncing the fear of being one’s real self, a way of becoming a spokesman for a generation that has become so invested in social media. It’s sincerely clever and brave, but the band do it in a way that it makes you think more about our roles online.

‘A Brief Inquiry’ is undoubtedly woke, an album both beautiful and arguably educational about online communication. It’s an album that has took a different turn from their first two records, but it’s stronger and more impactful, with their songwriting blossoming once more. Though, at times you may feel confused, it appears Healy’s approach was just that – to reflect the changing society we live in. It has personality, one that’s far from boring with its techno-pop and cinematic-at-times sound. This album is a piece of art that provides a hint of humanity, witty opinions and hope for an online generation.

The 1975: A Brief Enquiry Into Online Relationships – Out Now.

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Natasha Jagger

Journalism student interested in digital and print based publishing. Fleetwood Mac and X-Files obsessed. Entertainment junky.