Would it be crazy to think my introduction to The 1975 spurred my devotion to the musically unusual? They seem like a typical lot, but they’ve wooed every streamlined perception into submission. They’re a bunch of misfits with thoughts to express. Their control of emotions and sound made their debut EP a living example of their talent. The band appeared to be in pursuit of their perfect art.
However, their self-titled debut album turns that art into something unrecognizable. They seem to have gotten so comfortable with being uniquely weird that their experiments have suffered. They’ve gone over the realm.
I should start with examples, otherwise my rant may continue unverified. The introduction to the album, “The 1975”, includes super sexy lyrics but takes a bland approach musically. It’s short and fails to inspire a better tone for the album. “M.O.N.E.Y.” starts off pretty funky, but also sounds generic. A constant synthesizer-type beat plagues, never becoming anything more. There’s incorporated elements that attempt to add, like a quirky little guitar rift somewhere in the middle, but they aren’t extremely helpful. Although I do appreciate the song’s content, which focuses on hard substance abuse. Lyrics like, “A broken half a glass has opened up his chin/He thinks he’s hard, a powdered mouth that tastes of gin/He’s just been barred for that blues he was smoking” really capture an epidemic and add life to this band as individualistic people. It’s a shame they couldn’t match the lyrical intensity with the sound.
They attempt several times to utilize an ’80s theme, adding keytar-sounding instruments in a couple different places. “Heart Out” starts this trend, and to be honest, it’s not the worst. The chorus eventually turns into a modern thing, with just drums and guitar. The whole electronic thing is saved for the transitions. And the lyrics are pretty catchy:”It’s just you and I tonight/why don’t you figure my heart out,” is sung over and over. However, “Robbers” and “Pressure” take entirely too long to start and never gain momentum. The melody never improves and it sounds like a rushed attempt for content.
There are elements I do enjoy, believe it or not. I’m a huge fan of “Chocolate” and “The City”, with my favorite song being “Sex”. But those songs are familiar to me, and only really account for the grander idea of the album. In general, it’s the individual songs that matter.
This album is the first step in a long process. The 1975 carry a full scale of skills, but are only just starting to use their potential to manifest strangeness. I have quarrels with most of this album, but everybody gets one, right? It’s really only the beginning.