When I first heard the bubblegum pop notes of The 1975’s sophomore album’s leading single, “Love Me,” I cringed. I was shocked at how one of my favorite mellow, indie pop bands had sold out to the mainstream music industry and would begin to produce the same, boring records as everyone else. After listening to the album as a whole, I am happy I was mistaken. While I still do not love the lead single, The 1975 has created a beautiful, divergent sophomore album titled “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it.” It is the longest album title I have seen, but the music speaks for itself.
The band consists of singer Matt Healy, guitarist Adam Hann, bassist Ross MacDonald and drummer George Daniel. The 1975 was formed in 2002 and gained momentum with the release of four EPs, but they did not become popular until the release of their self-titled debut album in 2013. Personally, it is one of my favorite albums, and I fell in love with the visual aesthetics that accompanied it, which is seen in their black and white music videos. Their debut is described as alternative and synth rock while also being favorable to any indie music lovers. As each song flows together, one is left laying in an ’80s haze and the desire to drive all night.
After two years of touring, the band dropped “Love Me,” the leading single for their new album. It sounds like a typical Top 40 track and appeals to more mainstream audiences. I refused to listen to it and worried about the rest of the album. However, their next single, “Ugh,” was much better. While it still could be categorized as pop, I felt that I could once again see the band I had fallen in love with. Finally, after hearing their third single, “The Sound,” I was confident that this album had the potential to be just as great as the first.
Along with other artists such as Marina and the Diamonds, The 1975 creates a visual world to coincide with their albums. While their debut relied heavily on black and white imagery, “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it” is filled with bright pink and white visuals. The first album felt like a heartbreak album, but this record sounds more like an in your face, pop retrospective. Whether it be through the questioning of the pop industry in “Love Me,” or the gaudy glorification of drugs in “Ugh,” each song is distinctive and tells a different story.
The new direction on the sophomore album invokes a bright, love-filled world, which may not necessarily be a bad thing. Instead of crying about your relationship troubles with their debut album, “I like it when…” is 75 minutes of post-modern, unabashed pop that can make even the most morose person fall in love. Also, the lyrics are just as good and haunting as their debut.
One of my favorite aspects of the album is its opener, titled “The 1975.” While the debut album also has an opener with the same name, this intro is darker while also serving as a remembrance to their past. As I listened at 12:25 a.m. the night the album dropped, I got goosebumps.
Following “Ugh,” which details Healy’s drug addiction, “The Sound” is one of the faster tracks on the record. It is perfect for blasting in your car and not caring about anything. It has one of my favorite lyrics on the album, “It’s not about reciprocation, it’s just all about me. A sycophantic, prophetic, Socratic junkie wannabe.” Healy, like Socrates, is not afraid to question others, whether it be the narcissism of fame or the music industry as a whole.
The final track before the album’s release was “A Change of Heart.” It is the slowest single on the album and one of my favorites. The lyrics describe the fragility and changing emotions of a relationship.
Arguably the best track on the album is “Someone Else.” Crammed into the middle of the album, the track is about knowing that a past lover has moved on and found somebody else. The song has some of the best lyrics on the album, and every time I listen I cannot help but feel the deep emotions that Healy brings out. Healy admits, “I don’t want your body but I hate to think about you with somebody else. Our love has gone cold; you’re intertwining your soul with somebody else.” While Healy knows he cannot save the relationship, he doesn’t want her to move on.
The rest of the album is filled with long instrumentals and pauses that make The 1975 the unique band they are. The almost seven-minute “I like it when…” has several different sections that are completely different yet come together to form a memorable song. Ballads such as “She Lays Down” and “The Ballad of Me and My Brain” bring the listener back to the first album as you try to choke the tears back. Other highlights include “Loving Someone” and “She’s American,” which help divide the album between the upbeat and playful compared to the more somber, brooding tracks the band is known for.
The 1975’s sophomore album, “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it” has quickly become one of my favorite albums. Each song is so different, yet they all come together and brilliantly flow under this love-infested, bubblegum aesthetic.