The 1975 rocks out at a concert and gets fans hyped.
The 1975 rocks out at a concert and gets fans hyped.
Christine Park

The 1975 at their very best

Top picks for the famous pop band in recognition of their 10th anniversary

DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that several lyrics from “The 1975” are specifically for listeners who are aged 18 or older, and contain multiple explicit phrases dealing with complex issues such as drugs and intimacy. Reader discretion is advised.

A decade after their debut in 2013, The 1975 continues to reach new heights with their experimentalist album releases. The diversity of their discography brings together fans over many eras. Here are my personal favorites over the years.

Being Funny in a Foreign Language. Photo courtesy of Dirty Hit website.
Best Album:

Being Foreign in A Funny Language (BFIAFL) hit record stores on Oct. 14, 2023. I remember the release distinctly. Despite the decreased quantity of tracks, the overall quality undoubtedly increased. Jack Antonoff, often credited as the pioneer of modern pop, took on the production of the album. Although each entry in their discography appeals to its audience, this particular piece demonstrates true emotional growth from the angsty atmosphere of earlier songs.

The lead singer and lyricist Matty Healy displays passionate transparency about his fear of sobriety through his diary-like penmanship. He recalls his public journey through a long-battled drug addiction and reveals the harsh realities of the attempt to stay clean even years after a trip to rehab in 2017. The vulnerability in this album reveals a sanguine attitude toward the world and faith in the act of loving.

Being Funny in a Foreign Language. Photo courtesy of Dirty Hit website.
Fan Favorite:

Until recently, I presumed the 2016 release “Paris,” from the album “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it,” would rank highest as the group’s most streamed track of all time. To my shock, I learned that it barely cracked the top 20. Among The 1975 fans, however, “Paris” reigns as an untouched monarch. Even Healy himself, in the song’s Spotify description, announced this record as his favorite of the entire album.

The endearing melody instantly hooks first-time listeners, and the reflective lyrics reel them in. The singer creates a narrative of an unhappy couple who longs to return to the peak of their relationship. Healy named this romantic ideal “Paris”. In this sentimental message, he recognizes the reality of most passionate affairs and the true postscript of happily-ever-afters. The cynic calls out the over-romanticization of love and intimate relationships, captivating his fandom. 

Best Self-Titled:

To this day, the group sticks to their age-old tradition as they label their first track in every album “The 1975”. As the first composition people listen to, it sets the sentiment of the entire anthology. In a 2018 interview with Radio X, Healy said, “What we’re doing is kind of like checking in every time. You open the door, and you see someone you haven’t seen for what — in person. But hey, your hair’s different, you know? That kind of thing.”  

My interpretation of each of the LPs aligns with the theme conveyed in the intro track. For example, the first three albums feature the same opening track “The 1975” produced with three distinct atmospheres. “The 1975” from The 1975 (debut self-titled) gives an intimate, leisurely impression as opposed to the contemporary version from their third studio album. The starting track from this album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, exhibits the first time the band closely explored the genre of electronica.

In “Being Funny In a Foreign Language,” Healy changes the lyrics of “The 1975” for the first time and extends the usually 1-2 minute song to a full 4 minutes. He expresses his sympathy as he talks about his perception of online presence and societal pressures on younger generations. The lyrics are self-referential and sardonic, yet the soulful orchestra performance in the melody brings hope to a new age and inspires an optimistic outlook on the present.

Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America cover. Photo courtesy of Dirty Hit website.
Political Activism Anthem: “Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America”

Number nine on their 2020 composition “Notes on a Conditional Form” depicts the parallel perspectives of teenage neighbors who struggle with the coexistence of their sexuality and faith. The song features the melancholy vocals of Phoebe Bridgers, an artist known for her pensive discography and distinct mellow voice.

Healy used the pandemic portfolio to freely express his political opinions in a divisive period, as seen in the satirical tunes “Roadkill” and “People.” 

Additionally, this release showcased a significant twist to the traditional song, “The 1975.” The production features an excerpt from a monologue delivered by Greta Thunberg, a famous child activist known for her climate change campaign. 

Long-time ally and public atheist Healy sings almost regrettably in this ballad about how he wishes he could believe in a god. The 2016 ode “If I Believe You” also addresses this topic, as he recognizes the longing for a source of faith and belief in a higher power from the perspective of an irreligionist.

“Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America” cover. Photo courtesy of Dirty Hit website.
Harmony of Words:

Healy uses his discography as a personal journal to express his innermost thoughts and captures the difficulty of being gray in a black-and-white world. Through his illustrative lyrics, he depicts the irony he perceives today and characterizes his subconsciousness in a wide array of literal poetic justice.

Mr. Serotonin Man, lend me a gram … Keeping a tab on my health, man you’re putting me up on a shelf.

— Paris

Despite the attractive packaging, the lyrics portray a bleak scene: Healy begging his dealer for a hit of heroin. The ludicrousness of this line displays comedic genius that provides satirical entertainment and simultaneously inspires awe at the ingenuity of delivery. Healy also mentions the pressure of expectations laid on him by his loved ones. He includes a negative undertone and implicates his desire to be liberated from unrealistic prospects.

The smell of your hair reminds me of her feet.

— Be My Mistake

At first glance, this seems to be an insulting observation made towards his significant other, and in some ways, that assumption is true. The connotation implies that the emotional connection he has with “her” cannot compare to the superficial relationship he has with “you.”

He suggests that his current relationship is purely physical in further lyrics. While the subject of the song serves as a release, the woman he compares her to bears a deep connection with him emotionally. Hair and feet are two extremities of a person’s scent, and by comparing the two, this metaphor narrates that his current partner’s “best” part could only equal the “worst” part of his previous lover.

Feeling apathetic after scrolling through hell.

— The 1975 (Being Foreign In a Funny Language)

From their most recent album, Healy employs this lyric to articulate his apprehensions about the reality of social media. He dives deep into the issue of desensitization, a consequence of the continuous consumption of distressful content on the internet. He highlights that an open conversation can, on one side, ameliorate the stigma around a subject, but on the other side, also have adverse effects and cause indifference to the topic. 

The 1975 continues to evolve in sync with its audience as it embarks on a shared journey of emotional growth. They exhibit the complexity of humanity and establish a unique foundation that keeps their fans on the lookout for further artistic progress. 

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About the Contributors
Nadia Woo, Writer
Nadia Woo, a senior at DIS, decides to wrap up her high school career with a final hoorah. The title of Jets Flyover staff writer adds to her legacy. She derives inspiration from a wide variety of her life experiences and hobbies, from live concerts to cozy video games. She delights in meeting people from diverse perspectives across the world and always surges at the chance to overcome her own ignorance. After years of longing for an outlet to express herself, she finally bursts onto the scene, vowing to leave no leaf unturned in her quest to bring people together exploiting the art of journalism.

Christine Park, Illustrator
After years of persuasion from her peers that sparked intrinsic motivation, Christine Park finally enters Journalism as a senior. Chris’s greatest passion revolves around the field of art and anime. Her role as the president of the National Art Honors Society and Visual Arts Club proves the enthusiasm she bears for artistry. As the new illustrator for the Jets Flyover, Chris is eager to dive into journalism and share her artwork and comics with a wider audience.

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