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Album Review: The 1975’s A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

December 4, 2018

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Album Review: The 1975’s A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

Image © Dirty Hit Records

Image © Dirty Hit Records

Image © Dirty Hit Records

Image © Dirty Hit Records

With their third studio album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, the 1975 found a way to embrace the youth of this generation and give them a voice during a time where it seems that many are without one.

Arriving after their self-titled debut album in 2013 and the follow up I like it when you are asleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, ABIIOR clearly progresses the band’s sound but, at the same time, holds the same emotional roots that their previous work established. With social commentary from everything about politics, human relationships with technology and the general struggle of life that is so conversationally relevant in today’s internet age, ABIIOR’s strengths lie in the messages, both in the personal reveals as well as the social gripes the band is trying to deliver.

Beginning as their previous albums did, the intro track “The 1975” has become a staple and anticipated surprise with the release of each album. In this third adaptation, even the same simple lines still hit, albeit with a welcoming sonic sound that serves as a prelude to the new style ahead. The last lines, “Step into your skin? I’d rather jump into your bones/Taking up your mouth so you breathe through your nose,” are delivered by frontman Matty Healy with a synthy, autotuned heave that sets the tone for the emotional ups and downs the next 14 tracks hold.

Last May, the band released the first single off this album, “Give Yourself A Try”, which was the first time fans got to experience the new direction the 1975 was headed in.

As with much of their music, hidden within these upbeat guitar riffs and synthy drum beats are knocks on the current state of society (“Like context in a modern debate, I just took it out”), a stab at how hard newfound fame is (“and it’s funny ‘cause you’ll move somewhere sunny and get addicted to drugs”), this track represents the 1975 in full force.

Another single off the album, the mega-hit “Love It If We Made It” takes these same commentaries and ramps it up about ten notches. Every word spoken on this track feels powerful, almost to the point where meaning is felt in every line. Whether its discussing humanity’s almost unnatural reliance on technology (“And we can find out the information/Access all the applications/That are hardening positions based on miscommunications,”), bringing new light to tragedy and injustice such as the drowning of three-year old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi, to Colin Kaepernick’s mistreatment by the NFL to President Donald Trump’s endless plethora of nonsensical tweets, “Love It If We Made It” is as much an optimism for this generation hoping to simply survive to the next year as it is a willingness for the individual to make it in today’s trying times.

On brand with the band’s aesthetic is the intermission track “The Man Who Married A Robot/Love Theme.” Part loving interlude, part damning indictment on the impact the internet has on people, every word on this track was narrated by Siri, an unnerving, yet fitting, technique for such a song. The interlude tells the story of a man and his dependence on the internet as “his friend, you could say his best friend,” and the instrumental section that comprises the second half of the track is a throwback to some of the more beautifully comprised instrumentals, such as “An Encounter,” “12” and “Please Be Naked,” where piano keys melodically play over a variety of strings as it comes to a close.

And finally, the magnum opus piece of this album, “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes),” is a fitting ending to the album, as well as a climactic anthem for all of 2018. This song sounds reminiscent of older hits rife with isolated and lonely emotions that have been present throughout the album. Lines like, “But your death it won’t happen to you/It happens to your family and your friends,” and “Your memories are sceneries for things you said/But never really meant,” echo a resonant mood for most people in 2018.

Overall, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships is a huge step forward for the 1975. Just when it seemed as if they had peaked and couldn’t get much higher, this album reshapes the way their music is processed and heard while at the same time evolving, adapting and changing with the times. Everyone’s favorite band is here to stay, and they aren’t even close to being done.

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