In their third studio album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, The 1975 tackle issues surrounding the internet in an original and experimental way in A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. The band’s exploration across different genres is prevalent, from acoustic numbers like ‘Be My Mistake’ to the floor filling hip hop of ‘tootimetootimetootime’. This album combines their most unique styles, a long way from their inaugural self-titled album’s reliance on guitars and teenage angst.
The trajectory of the band’s career shows their growth over time, lending their musical talents to different subject matters and eclectic genres of music. This reflects the band’s wish to experiment with each album as they believe we listen to a wide variety of non-exclusive genres and demand more than insipid lyrics of little meaning. A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships breaches the issues of addiction, social media and even suicide which are prevalent issues in today’s culture and shows the importance of de-stigmatising them. The fact that this has reached the number one album in the UK shows the reliability of their lyrics and their rising popularity. The album’s message hinges on songs such as ‘The Man Who Married A Robot/Love Theme’ which appears midway through the album; the robotic voice describes our dependence on a disembodied internet instead of those around us. Some of the lyrics show our modern reliance on social media and shows how nearly all relationships depend on the internet in some way. ‘Sincerity Is Scary’ shows how these relationships are fraught with irony online, it is much harder to be vulnerable online with the judging eyes of everyone watching.
In one of the breakthrough singles ‘Love it if We Made It’ the band addresses some of the most pressing issues of our time with a relentless beat, the frenetic vocals of frontman Matty Healy demanding that we urgently need to pay attention with lyrics like ‘ Selling melanin and then suffocate the black men’ and ‘A beach of drowning three-year-olds’. The pretension that may come with artistic creation is destroyed with songs like ‘I Couldn’t Be More In Love’ as it is impossible not to hear the desperation behind it as the key change heightens the emotion of this ballad.
It could be argued that the album lacks cohesion and is disparate in its album order, but I would argue that the fact that this band’ genuineness when creating and raising such important issues outweighs its occasional clumsiness. These thought-provoking tracks culminate in the final track ‘I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)’ as my clear stand out song. This song truly delivers as with its melancholic lyrics it speaks with universality about the struggle of human existence. The ending instrumental continues after we expect it to end, reinforcing the key theme of hope throughout the album, that you should ‘give yourself a try’. With fifteen songs it is impossible to discuss at length each song but when regarding their full body of work, the evolution of their style is developing and the step that this album takes is firmly in the right direction and I am truly excited for their next upcoming album Notes On A Conditional Form.