Like many great relationships, it began with “Sex." When The 1975 released that single in 2012, it quickly became popular with teenagers and gave the Manchester band attention that their prior releases had not. With the song’s dynamic drum beat under the aggressive narration of a vapid girl explaining how she's using the lead singer, Matty Healy, to cheat on her boyfriend, how could it not? It perfectly captured the sad–but–satisfied emotional themes that colored the teen ethos of the time, when we all reblogged pictures of cigarettes and our favorite John Green quotes onto each other’s Tumblr dashboards. The group consists of four members: Healy on vocals, lead guitarist Adam Hann, bassist Ross MacDonald, and drummer George Daniel. With a band name originating from a Jack Kerouac scribbling, The 1975—in all of their grunge glory—arrived at the perfect time.
After the success of their first self–titled album, everyone was hanging onto each syllable that Healy sang. The tracks equated chocolate to cocaine and lyrics detailed problematic underage girls. A particularly intimate piece about falling in love with a prostitute sent us back into Holden Caulfield’s troubled brain. Little by little, the band seemed to be stealing our innocence. Their sophomore project, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It conveys an entirely different atmosphere than its predecessor. Singles like “Love Me” and “UGH!” are much more vibrant than they are angsty. Even the gentler moments, like the closing track “She Lays Down," which describes a lost battle against depression, are more sad than dark. The revelation of the band’s new style proved that they didn't need to depend on their initial gloomy and moody image to take up space in the music world.
The band’s third and most recent project, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, has their audience singing less about the tragedy of love and more about the tragedy of modern society. Following his rehabilitation from heroin, Healy realized that their third project should speak more about the path our world is going down. Throughout the album, he sings about the romanticization of drug use, with lines such as “Distract my brain from the terrible news / It’s not living if it’s not with you.” In what Genius hailed “a social anthem”, the song “Love It If We Made It” shines a small beacon of hope in a world that feels all too dark. The band displays their witticism through more than just ballads and songs to dance to—they call our attention to phone addiction, our shortening attention spans, and the terror of getting older and no longer being relevant. They push us to listen closer than ever before.
What’s next for the ever–evolving group? A series of tweets from the band’s manager Jamie Oborne revealed that a fourth album, Notes on A Conditional Form, is scheduled to be released sometime this year, hopefully in the summer. It’s what Healy describes to be a “nighttime record” and is meant to complement A Brief Inquiry, touching on subjects and sounds that the prior album did not have space for. With The 1975, it is perhaps best to expect the unexpected, and look forward to a side of them we haven't seen before. The group made their mark on the music industry seven years ago and continue to change it with each new project. But still, as we continue to blast “Sex” long after the era of reblogs and skater skirts, The 1975 is here to grow with us.