Record of the week: “The 1975” – The 1975

A misunderstood masterpiece of modern indie-pop music

More stories from Parker Reed


It is easy to write off an album as “generic pop music” or “manufactured record label garbage” purely by judging it off the few singles you hear on mainstream pop radio. In the case of this record, these labels are completely unjustified once you dive deeper into the eclectic layers of emotion present on this album.

The 1975’s self-titled debut album dropped Sep. 2, 2013 on Dirty Hit Records and was met with immediate critical and commercial success in the United Kingdom. It debuted atop the UK Albums chart with 32,538 copies sold. A big factor of the immediate success in their native country is the fact that their promotional singles before the record were already dominating the charts.

An album is often remembered for the biggest song that it produced, and this is the case for The 1975’s first full length. Singles such as, “The City”, “Chocolate”, “Girls”, “Robbers” and “Sex” all achieved commercial acclaim both in the UK, the United States and internationally.

These songs all possess familiar chord structures, catchy choruses/refrains and song topics that would make any teenage girl swoon. Those songs aside, the rest of the album goes much deeper than the casual fan might see upon their initial surface reaction to the band.

The album opens up with a swelling introduction simply dubbed, “The 1975” and the track leads into one of the album’s centerpieces, “The City.”

“The City,” takes a romantic look at life in the big city and how it can lead to finding love. During the song’s refrain, Healy instructs the listener to simply look toward the city to find love. However, he does not make the mistake of saying that love will last, although the intense stylistic roller coaster ride the album takes you on does.

After the electronic based, “M.O.N.E.Y.”, the ironic track, “Talk!” and the avalanche of radio hits that follow, the album takes a left turn when it hits the song, “Menswear.”

“Menswear” is subtle, it is honest, and it thought provoking. Instead of thrusting the meaning of the song into the listener’s ear, it leaves the meaning somewhat ambiguous. The lyrics lean towards the melody, implying the subject of the song parties too much. However, they could easily be translated to imply jealousy and a self-deprecating personality.

“Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You”, a tender piano ballad written by lead singer Matthew Healy, ends the album in a somber, almost shaken fashion. The sentimental track is written as a symbolic outstretched hand to Healy’s younger brother, with whom he has limited contact due to the relentless schedule he partakes in as a touring musician. It is a harsh reminder of some of what musicians must give up in order to be successful.

All of these tracks obscure the notion that The 1975’s self-titled debut is a surface level bubble gum pop effort. Yes, it has some melodies that lend themselves more towards BBC Radio than a dingy indie rock club, but it also features lyrics and styles that help thrust it outside of the typical consumer-created indie-pop box.

“The 1975” is suitable for dancing, bopping your head, comforting yourself after a breakup or simply being a little bit introspective. I highly recommend you check out the album as a whole, not judge it purely on the singles that have shrouded its artistic integrity.