After rising to fame with songs such as “Chocolate” and “Girls,” The 1975 is back with its sophomore album that emulates 80s pop, while adding its own unique and alternative sound that was established in its first album.
The 1975 Album Cover.
Although ridiculously titled “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it,” this album showcases the versatility of the band’s sound with songs ranging from bubblegum pop, to choir-like gospel songs, to raw acoustic sounds, proving that genre does not limit them.
The English quartet led by charismatic front man Matty Healy is known for their use of an iconic glowing rectangle image (popularized by their first album’s cover art) and their black and white music videos; however, this album sees the band entering a new era of color as they have rebranded their image to a pink rectangle. The music on this album reflects this change with vibrant, upbeat rhythms and catchy, yet meaningful lyrics.
The album starts with grandiose choral sounds on the track “The 1975,” which takes the opening song from their first album and amplifies it with distorted guitar. The result is a sense of anticipation for the rest of the album. But the sound also stays true to the band’s musical roots, which were planted in their first album.
Strong pop beats on the singles “Love Me,” and “UGH!,” sound like songs straight out of the 80s. “Love Me,” is pure pop with a funky twist that laments the superficiality surrounding fame.
This album heavily revolves around Healy’s mental state following an onstage breakdown in late 2014 and an admitted addiction to drugs. The phrase “I’ve lost my head,” is heard on multiple tracks on the album, culminating to the song “Lostmyhead.” This sentiment is also heard on the “The Ballad of Me and My Brain,” which is a fun, upbeat song with dark undertones that take the listener on a journey with Healy as he searches for his missing brain.
The best song on the album is “She’s American,” which mixes guitar riffs with melodious saxophone. The result is a catchy song about an affair with an American girl who likes Healy because he is British. Healy’s poetic sensibilities shine through, as the song ominously imparts a piece of advice: “Don’t fall in love with the moment and think you’re in love with the girl.”
Instrumental interludes such as “Please Be Naked,” and “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it,” are hit or miss. While quietly beautiful in their own ways, the songs tend to drag on and feel unnecessary to the album as a whole.
Healy also takes a fun play on lyrics from the previous album on the track “A Change of Heart,” showing how he has changed over the past three years since he wrote those lyrics. He recants earlier statements about finding love in cities, singing “I never found love in the city, I just sat in self-pity and cried in the car.” Healy’s vocals are full of emotion in the last minute of the song when he starts passionately singing “I just had a change of heart,” over and over.
“The Sound” is, ironically, a whole new sound for the band. Strong electronic piano beats make this song hard not to dance to. Echoing sentiments from “Love Me,” the track touches on the narcissism and fakeness seen in fame, as Healy sings “It’s not about reciprocation, it’s just all about me!” This recurring theme shows how the band has struggled to adapt to their new-found fame.
One of the more heartfelt songs on the album, “Nana,” is an understated masterpiece as Healy’s vocals perfectly complement a simple acoustic guitar. The song is solemn and serious relative to the rest of the album, and deals with the passing of Healy’s grandmother. The lyrics are heartbreaking, as Healy shows how everything is different now that she is gone. While questioning God’s existence, he still hopes for an afterlife where she exists, singing “I know that God doesn’t exist and all of the palaver surrounding it, but I like to think you hear me sometimes.”
The band surpasses expectations with this album by taking an entirely new direction with their sound and owning it, which is why I give “I like it when you sleep” 4 out 5 stars. The album’s lyrics do not disappoint and are in keeping with the genuine, heartfelt lyrics of the previous album. This isn’t the same The 1975 heard on songs like “Chocolate,” as they have rid themselves of the black and white confines of any one genre in order to explore a more colorful sound that is all their own.
Callie may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org