matty healy

Being Funny in a Foreign Language: Album Review

About a week ago I returned from a 6 week run of festivals. It was one of my longest and most challenging runs since I started working in the industry. I’m pleased to say it went so well and I’m so grateful for all of the experiences I had this fall. Alternatively, about a week and a half ago, the 1975 released their newest record Being Funny in a Foreign Language. It’s their fifth full length album since 2013’s self-titled debut album and their latest since 2020’s Notes on a Conditional Form. Unlike some bands, the 1975 never toured in support of their 2020 release, but instead went back in the studio to produce an entirely new catalog of music.

Being Funny in a Foreign Language is the perfect fall/early winter album, with a few songs referencing winter or Christmas (“Wintering” and “When We Are Together”). The first song titled “The 1975”, like every first song on every album they’ve ever released, even gives LCD Soundsystem “All My Friends” vibes. The album as a whole is so focused on love in such a happy way. It’s unique to other 1975 albums in this regard. The band partnered with famed producer Jack Antonoff on the album. I feel like when artists work with Jack their albums could be hit or miss for me. Lorde was a hard miss, whereas Lana Del Rey was a hit. The 1975 is definitely a hit as well. Despite the cliché love focused lyricism, the album is filled with a mix of indie pop ballads and bops, reminiscent of other 1975 records. That being said the album has a more pop feel than other records as well, but still stays true to the band’s sound that can be heard on their earliest hits like “Chocolate”, “Girls”, and “Heart Out”.

The 1975 kicks off the tour for their new record on November 3rd. I’ve seen the 1975 play 4 times. Each time I’ve seen them at a festival I worked. This is the first time I’ll be catching them on tour and actually paying for a ticket. I cannot wait! I’ve slowly developed a love for these guys that didn’t exist when my friends saw them play a show in 2014 at a small venue about an hour away from here. I didn’t quite get it then, but sometimes that stuff takes time. Now I’m a fan and ready to see Matty Healy and company tear through this excellent new record while playing all their hits from past albums especially the ones we all missed in 2020. If you’re a fan of the 1975, you’re likely going to like Being Funny in a Foreign Language just as much as you’ve liked past records. It’s definitely something different from the British indie rockers, but never strays too far from what you’re used to.

Notes On A Conditional Form: Album Review

In a time where there’s not much in the immediate future to look forward to, we thankfully still have music. New albums and songs are still being released. Some releases may have been delayed, but they’re still happening this year. For an industry that’s been crushed by this world wide crisis, it offers a glimmer of hope and an abundance of jams.

Today, The 1975 dropped their highly anticipated fourth album, Notes On A Conditional Form. The album release was twice delayed already this year, but every few weeks a new single from the album was released in the lead up to this weekend’s official release. To me, this feels like The 1975’s most ambitious album to date. Stylistically, it crosses genres, yet still maintains the indie/synth pop sound well associated with The 1975.

An inkling of this genre breach happened when the band dropped one of the new album’s first songs, “People.” The track sounds more like a punk rock/hardcore anthem than anything you’ve ever heard from The 1975 in the past. I remember being pleasantly surprised with the vibe of the new song as someone who grew up listening to punk and hardcore music, but I still questioned where the band was going with it. As more songs were released, I was assured that their new album would be full of stylistic surprises.

In early April, The 1975 released the song “Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America,” which features indie folk rock artist, Phoebe Bridgers, who was supposed to join the band on their 2020 tour until it was inevitably postponed. The song is a testament to Bridgers’ folk rock style. The only thing that gives it away is Matty Healy’s vocals, but even Healy’s sound succumbs to the song style. “Playing on My Mind” also has that indie folk feel.

“Roadkill,” which wasn’t released prior to the full album, sounds like it could’ve come off a Sam Hunt record. It’s got an unmistakable country twang. Despite the country vibe, it still feels like a 1975 indie pop song. I kind of love it. There’s also a few interlude tracks on the record that bridge into another genre as well. These songs take the standard synth pop sound of the band into a more electronic sound. “Shiny Collarbone” and about halfway through “Having No Head” are those dance tracks.

The album is full of songs that sound like what you would expect from The 1975 too. There’s several bangers like “Me & You Together Song”, “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)”, and “Frail State of Mind” and smooth rock ballads like “Guys”, “The Birthday Party”, “Don’t Worry”, and “Nothing Revealed/Everything Denied.” It’s honestly such a great mix of music.

Like I said, this album feels different than what we’re used to from The 1975, but it blends genres remarkably well and still gives us the sound that we’re looking for. It may have taken me an album to actually get into The 1975 (I really got into them after “The Sound” from I like it when you sleep…), but I’ve been a fan ever since. I’ve always really been into their hits. “The Sound” (obviously), “Sex”, “Heart Out”, “Chocolate”, and “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)” are a few of my favorites. This new album feels different in a good way though and even the songs I don’t typically fall for, I love. I think if you’re an indie music fan or a music fan in general, you can find something on this record that you’ll like. It’s got something for everyone. But really, you might just love it all, it’s that good. So give it a shot. If you don’t find it appealing, my solution is that maybe you would like it better if you took off your clothes. (Of course, that one is my favorite!)