By Rhiannon McGovern
Mid-October saw The 1975 make a comeback with their new album Being Funny In A Foreign Language, solidifying their place in a return to the 2014-tumblresque scene.
The 1975 have picked up their fifth consecutive number-one album with Being Funny In A Foreign Language. The band’s first post-COVID release enlists producer Jack Antonoff, best known for his recent influence on the work of Taylor Swift, Lorde, and Lana Del Rey. Its execution feels like a step forward in a similar direction to the band’s previous work but is more filtered and coherent than the self-produced Notes on A Conditional Form’s 1 hour and 20 minutes runtime.
Equipped with the verbose, tongue-twister lyrics inherent to a 1975 record, “I know some vacinista tote bag chic baristas,” the band no longer dips its toes into the pool of cultural commentary but instead jumps in head first, exploring their identifiable niche of consumerism, relationships and the internet in their usual abstract and satirical manner.
The album’s second single, ‘Happiness,’ is a stand-out, composed of all the pieces of a classic ‘75 song. The guitar riff feels effortlessly groovy, and fans of the band will recognise the song as a kind of glittery ‘If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know).’
The four-piece, who has been making music together since high school, is no stranger to continuing relevance, with many of its fans growing up alongside their albums and embracing them as a sort of coming-of-age soundtrack. “We could still be the most important band of the ‘20s,” frontman Matty Healy – known for his confidence – proclaimed in an interview with NME. Since the release of their first album in 2013, The 1975 has remained prominent in the alternative music sphere, with each of their albums topping the charts in the UK.
The album is equally composed of fun, high-tempo tracks and acoustic slow-burners, with its third track ‘Looking for Somebody (To Love)’ being an ideal arrangement for a jive, whilst later songs ‘All I Need to Hear’ and ‘Human Too’ sport the band’s more vulnerable side, delivering on their goal to be earnest in their songwriting.
In a recent conversation with Zane Lowe for Apple Music, Healy talks about the band’s desire to make authentic and original music since the beginning. “It wasn’t subversive to be a band from Manchester that sounded like a band from Manchester,” Healy explains, commenting on how the success of their hometown predecessors like The Stone Roses and Oasis wasn’t due to their ability to morph themselves into a musical stereotype but rather to create something refreshing that would stand-out for its differences.
The album’s penultimate track ‘About You’ appears to be an early fan favourite, with Healy suggesting that it is a musical continuation of cult-classic ‘Robbers’ from their self-titled debut. Reminiscing on the loss of a past lover – “Do you think I have forgotten about you?” – the production feels ethereal, with its swelling guitars and quietly romantic feel. Despite being one of the shortest songs on the album lyrically, it feels like one of the band’s most mature pieces, combining both where they’ve been and where they’re heading.
An ideal listen for both die-hard fans and those completely unfamiliar with the quartet who are looking for something new, Being Funny in a Foreign Language does not fall short of what is expected of a band with the success and catalogue of The 1975.