The 1975 - A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships
A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships
A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships opens with a song just titled "The 1975". The song swells with Matty Healy's electronic vocals exploding and receding into your ears. He murmurs some of the bands classic lines over the delicate yet powerful intro. This album shouldn't be very good, the band have had runaway success being seemingly only themselves. They dare to go for it, take a big swing just to see what happens. The fact is more often than not their instincts are right. "How To Draw / Petrichor" begins as this almost Disney song with distant bells and sparkly notes, yet then Healy's voice comes thrusting in, filling the space with electronic fuzzy and inviting the song to shift into this pop dance beat. He lulls you with this shoegaze fuzz then breaks through it all with a punching synth and electronic drums. The 1975, and their front man especially inhabit this space where they are super rock stars in one moment then average people in another. They live bombastic lives, but then are ashamed of them. It is this idea of living one life online and another in the real world where this record springs from. Healy writes from a place where he knows how isolation exists at both end of the spectrum. We all feel the same emotions, have the same desires and are far more alike than we are different, but that's not what we see in the world. On "Love it if We Made it" they ask what it's going to take for us all to get past this bickering shit and made it through, not giving an solution or trying to solve anything, just voicing the frustration of it all. The way ABIIOR bounces about and swirls it's way through genre after genre is mezmerizing. One moment Healy will be singing over a dance beat while at others full gospel choirs are backing him up.
Though the group started playing together as teenagers in an emo band, they never feel locked into one style of music. Emo always lives in the heart of the music they make, this unfiltered heart laid bare, but instead of pure emotional release they find a slicker way of delivering their message. On "I Like America & America Likes Me" Haely's voice comes in at some it's most autotuned and the beat feels something Kanye, Francis and the Lights and Bon Iver might produce. It's a magical track that Healy has said was designed to pay some kind of homage to Soundcloud rap and the state of American pop music as a whole. "The Man Who Married a Robot / Love Theme" is a spoken word track narrated by Siri about a man named "snowflakesmasher86" who falls in love with the internet. He is able to look to the internet every time He was sad and the internet would provide him something to make him happy. The man eventually dies, alone in his house, only a Facebook page left to remember him. It's a haunting track about the loss of human connection, but one that doesn't discount the temporary happiness the internet can provide. This album so brilliantly summarizes what it means to be alive and exist on the internet, and does it better than anything that has come before. ABIIOR is a tremendous record that dives into the issues that are really affecting the world today. The 1975 aren't relying on old tropes or banking on nostalgia, they are looking forward and making pop for tomorrow. It's awesome.
9.4 out of 10