Playing with the air
Breathing in your hair
Step into your skin
I’d rather jump in your bones
Taking up your mouth, so you breathe through your nose
The 1975 are an English pop rock band originating from Manchester, England born out of the friendship of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Matty Healy, lead guitarist Adam Hann, bassist Ross MacDonald, and drummer George Daniel. “The 1975” is also The 1975’s recurring theme song. Present at the top of every album so far, the song listed above is, in its own right, short but powerful.
Whether you’re listening to this at the top of their first self-titled, their second eclectic I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, or going through the open and honest A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, the musicality of the song lays out in front of you what the record is about to sound like as if it were a floor plan and you’re about to step onto holy ground. The ironic opposition of “Playing with the air,” and “Breathing in your hair,” gives you only the smallest glimpse into Matty Healy’s world of writing.
What knocks me off my feet though, is just how insanely progressive and increasingly better the lyrics get as you go through each of these band’s albums. Off their very first debut record, the song after their opening is “The City,” and the first lyric is, “Don’t call it a fight when you know it’s a war.” Just let that sink in for a second … He could have said, “We had a really really really bad argument,” but he didn’t. Start your records with poetry like that – with George Daniel on the drums like that – and I’m in.
I think sometimes I struggle with taking direct compliments on the craft of things because it’s not really that thought out. You just have to learn to like, trust your instinct, and sometimes just your instinct is kind of what your art is.
– Matty Healy –
A few years ago, I met Matty Healy at a record store. I told him that I like his poetry, and he replied, “Oh.”
I think somewhere along the line he had said, “Thank you,” but it makes me laugh because the way he said it was like he might have been surprised, as if it was something people didn’t really say to him, which I find hard to believe. However, the quote above really explains why he might have replied to me the way that he did, which is still cool. It makes me laugh. He says he doesn’t think these things out – which is insane – but I will still be referring to him as “lyrical genius.” I’m here to show you how insane his brain really is if his writing is “not really that thought out.” I guess geniuses don’t revel in their genius. Well, I guess that’s okay because that’s my job.
The 1975 – 2013
So, listen. The 1975 are a funny bunch of amazing artists, and I don’t have time to go through every song – even though we probably could – so I picked a few of my favorites, and as always, leave it open to your own interpretation. I could talk about what I think of them, but I know you don’t care anyway so I’ll just point out the lines I think deserve attention. Got The 1975 cued up?
“Passing grammatical mistakes.
Totally wrecked and polemic in the way he talks.
Vocal sabbatical, delayed by churning out the same.”
I left an un-rewarding message telling you to come on.
Over dramatic, automatically assume I’ll stay the same.”
Pressure, She Way Out, Menswear, Intro / Set 3
A lot can be said about the eclectic four-piece band as they bounce between pop, electronica of the purest kind, and straight up rock and roll, but whatever it is seems to always come from a stance of either amazement or surprise because The 1975 are so unafraid to experiment.
I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It – 2016
“A big town,
Synthetic apparitions of not being lonely.
There’s no more water in this city.
Be careful or you’ll drown.”
I think these lines are actually my ultimate favorite The 1975 lyrics and here’s why. When the song was released, we knew it was written about Los Angeles. Southern California was going through a drought at the time and that was something very real to my city. The fact that Healy openly says the water’s gone, but you’re still gonna drown implies the place carries other things that are just as suffocating and toxic as drowning. Po. Et. Ic. Brilliance. He could have said, “I hate LA,” but he didn’t, and thank god he didn’t because that version of the song might have sucked.
“I said, ‘Hey kids, we’re all just the same,”
Just an important line I wanted to point out.
“It’s not about reciprocation it’s just all about me.
A sycophantic, prophetic, Socratic junkie wannabe.
There’s so much skin to see.
A simple Epicurean Philosophy.”
OKAY IF YOU’RE TOO LAZY TO LOOK IT UP … EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY IS BASED ON THE TEACHINGS OF ANCIENT GREEK EPICUREUS WHO SAID THAT IT IS THE GREATEST GOOD TO SEEK OUT HAPPINESS. MAKE IT YOUR LIFE MISSION TO FIND HAPPINESS. HEALY’S IRONY IN SAYING THAT IT’S SIMPLE TO DO THAT MAKES ME SCREAM. I’M SCREAMING. IT’S SO GOOD. CAPS LOCK BROKEN.
– My favorites off I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It –
The Ballad of Me and My Brain, Ugh, She’s American, The Ballad of Me and My Brain, The Sound, This Must Be My Dream, Paris, and The Ballad of Me and My Brain
A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships – 2018
I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)
“Your memories are sceneries for things you said but never really meant.”
Look at Matty Healy taking my job and saying “Erica, why do you have a music blog in the first place? The information you need is literally right here.” It’s such a beautiful song that carries a lot of weight. Please look it up. You’ll cry.
Culture is to blame
You try and mask your pain in the most postmodern way
You lack substance when you say
Something like, “Oh, what a shame”
It’s just a self-referential way
That stops you havin’ to be human
I’m assumin’ you’ll balloon
When you remove the dirty spoon
And start consumin’ like a human
That’s what I am assumin’
I’m sure that you’re gonna say that that I was sexist
I feel like you’re runnin’ out
Of all the things I liked you for
‘Cause it always ends with us hating each other
Instead of calling me out you should be pulling me in
I’ve just got one more thing to say
When at you’re best you’re intermediately versed in your own feelings?
Keep on putting off conceiving
It’s only you that you’re deceiving
Oh, don’t have a child, don’t cramp your style, I’ll leave it.”
– My favorites of A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships –
Sincerity Is Scary, I Like America & America Likes Me, I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)
Guys. The real truth is this … A blog post does not even begin to prove justice for this band’s creativity. It’s just me yelling about it. I have not even scratched the surface of their storytelling, their progressivism, their influence and inspiration. They have songs that have the power to change minds and save the world from “Loving Someone” to “I Like America & America Likes Me” to “Love It If We Made It.” Songs that have already saved hundreds of lives. That’s artistry at work. That’s artist to fan love. That’s what keeps the music world turning. Healy’s ability of turning his painful stories into a musical feeling of joy is the equivalent of taking a wand, casting a spell, and spilling magic over the world. That’s artistry, and that’s why this band is worth your time.
One of my favorite things about listening to The 1975 is the way they use their lyrics to weave into stories from other songs and adding extra layers of meaning to the lyrics that were already there. Once you listen to the band’s discography, you’ll be able to notice it, and I think it is literally one of the greatest pleasures in the world. Brilliance in the form of sound.
San Francisco, CA on April 22, 2019.
The Ivor Novello Awards are the awards given for songwriting and composing presented each year in London by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors. The award for Songwriters Of The Year went to Adam Hann, Ross MacDonald, George Daniel, and Matty Healy of The 1975 for their music this year, making them the first band to win the award since 2007. All I’m gonna say about that is that they deserve it. All four of them are quality musicians, writers, and producers – I swear on the universe – and if you appreciate poetry, you’ll appreciate their music because they actually care about making it.
To all you The 1975 fans, drop your favorite lyrics and songs in the comments below. If you wanna write to me your stories about how a The 1975 saved you or helped you or healed you or made you wanna jump on your bed until your brain fell out, then type away because I wanna know. Let’s cry together. Happy First June.
Sincerity Is Scary by The 1975 2019