Friday, March 11th, 2016

The 1975 – The Sound

So we liked this “sound.”


Josh Langhoff: Like Taylor Swift, these young epicurators were born at the tail end of a decade they think they understand better than their parents — and maybe they’re right! “I know the sound of your heart” suggests ol’ Hutchence-hair was conceived to Boy Meets Girl singing “In my arms baby yeah,” a phrase that could flash in neon across the storefront of the ’80s — witness its elegiac use at the end of 1990’s Three Men and a Little Lady, where our bachelors kiss bachelorhood goodbye and brace themselves for the decade of Friends and Becker and So I Married an Axe Murderer. (“Steve Gutenberg was seen less during the 1990s,” mocks Wikipedia.) “It’s not about reciprocation, it’s just all about me,” Matty sings, nailing the era where heedless extravagance and wistful nostalgia learned to feed off one another like those two Neverending Story snakes. We haven’t escaped them yet.

Crystal Leww: “The Sound” is the most conventional of the 1975’s recent singles with Healy singing this in a much more straightforward way and the music feeling like it’s aiming for Coldplay’s style of everything as percussion. It’s perfectly capable, but it fails to stand out from the swath of rock-leaning pop that’s been put out by Brits in the last 9843084324 years. 

Micha Cavaseno: Despite being the only rock band of their generation worth a listen, The 1975’s sophomore album confounds me. Songs reach for D’Angelo’s echoed stridency or the narcolepsy of Slowdive, and like early Talk Talk treat hooks like Jack The Ripper on their subjects. That cruelty is apt, as Matt Healy has a nasty streak, no matter how jubilant he strives to be. Here’s a rare thing: a rock band playing the disposable house-pop pervading England but whose singer knows nothing about the unifying powers of these singles. Beneath the uplift he seems petty and evasive, petrified by the sound of his subject the way one might feel oncoming dread at the rumble of thunder.

Cassy Gress: Matty’s accent on the vowels is a liiiiittle weird (maybe it’s just the Mancunian thing), but there’s an exhilaration in the singalong chorus, and I smiled when I realized there was a guitar solo that late in the song, I was hoping the vocals wouldn’t come back in and it would just end like that.  Also, whoever wrote the line “We left things to protect my mental health / But you call me when you’re bored and you’re playing with yourself” knows some shit.

Alfred Soto: Fuck right off, Adam Levine & the Marooners, here’s dance pop ’16: house piano over the stinking remains of funk-inflected power balladry. Written and recorded by Brits. With bad hair. Market this, motherfuckers.

Claire Biddles: Everything about this song — everything about The 1975 — is vulgar and ridiculous and too fucking much. It’s everything: gospel choirs and rave piano and leather jackets from a dressing up box and pink and neon and tattoos and heavy-handed references to Situationism and base pop and deathly pretension. It’s hard for me to be subjective about this, because I’m breathlessly enamored with The 1975. “The Sound” is ridiculous, and it feels like a huge hit. Previous songs had bass lines preempting a saxophone line three minutes later, or the guitar line is the vocal line in the verse, but it’s always fragmentary, barely holding it together, a few lost notes that become a microcosm of the group. So the way that Matty Healy’s voice and the piano line join on the ‘lie to you’ part of the bridge feels like a fleeting climax, a second of conventional perfection before everything falls apart again. “The Sound” is vulgar and ridiculous. It’s perfect.

Megan Harrington: The chorus dates, obviously, to the 1975’s debut: a blunt force line toeing metonymy: I know when you’re around because I know the sound of your heart. You are your heart, Matty Healy almost suggests. When he begs off, it’s not from the cliffs of triteness to solid ground but plunging through thin air to certain death. The dishonest wish fulfillment of the chorus is met with the brutal self-annihilation of the verses. Healy’s lyrics prance and pose, an ethereal composite of his bodily showmanship. Like his deliberately off-kilter dance moves, lines like “You say I’m such a cliché/ I can’t see the difference in it either way” and “I said ‘I love you’/ what does it matter if I lie to you?” see defeat as more than a certain outcome — defeat is the goal. “The Sound” is the saddest song I desperately want to be happy. I want to reflect on my own life and think “That was fine. All of it was fine. Because it happened and I can’t change it so it’s fine.” When I listen to “The Sound,” I delight in the charm of bad behavior, but by the searing guitar solo I’m chafing so badly I want to rip my skin off and start over. Matty Healy isn’t setting himself on fire to keep anyonewarm. His greatest love affair is with his own burning flesh.

Anthony Easton: Pop for people who like the idea of pop itself more than the product itself (sort of like Jack Antonoff). It’s not that it’s shiny and exquisite and plastic — those are virtues. It’s that snobbish trying to persuade listeners that plasticity is more artful than other kinds of shiny. This leads to a text so well constructed that it functions as a formalist soporific. 

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: Go at it, soundcloud producers; make that bouncy extended house remix that will earn you a repost. Everything you need — The excess, the celebration, the scorching guitar solo– is right there. You can tweak it however you like, but whatever you do, keep the piano, always keep the piano. 

Josh Winters: Is this even real? People are really still making music like this? They’re essentially making ’90s Fire Island beach bangers! There’s no pretense in this music at all! This band thinks it has a charismatic singer… they are right! Aurally satisfying vocals over soulful Balearic beats, kiss-your-TV irresistible, totally having the WOW factor, magnificent arena synth-pop, genuinely likable. I mean, I only heard “Chocolate” once and I loved it.

Thomas Inskeep: Oh, this is the other song they performed on Saturday Night Live last month! I can’t think, offhand, of another musical right turn as dramatic as the 1975’s, from the blah Britrock of their debut to the color- and light-infused ebullient pop of their sophomore album. This is damned near straight-up house, reminiscent of the DOR that the Klaxons nailed so expertly on their first album. This is how you make the kids dance.

Jonathan Bradley: The sound of “The Sound” is a vivant swirl, a moebius strip of a chorus that could stretch for eternity after the song has moved on. Matt Healy, house piano in hand, pushes his band into ever greater heights of 1975-ness — here, a guitar solo is the newest frontier in this band’s realization of pop as aural distillation of a shimmy, a head-toss, a smoldering look. The lyric is a treat: Healy has still not tired of transforming his sexual encounters into little one-act plays, and here his loquacity results in dialogue like “I’ve got a problem with your shoes and your tunes, but I might move in” and an entire verse that tops with figurative masturbation (“It’s not reciprocation…”) and tails with the literal act. “You say I’m such a cliché” is in there too, and the great thing about this band is that although they’re not they’re so self-assured that they don’t mind risking the possibility.

Katherine St Asaph: A hypercompressed High School Musical version of Outasight, at the tempo of hammering on your apartment walls.

Will Adams: The chorus is a dart that hits you in the chest, exploding in hearts and pumping piano and crowd racket. The verses twist into that terrifying space between confidence and self-erasure. The contrast between the two emphasize that push-pull dynamic, and it reminds me all too well of those moments socializing where I can’t decide to jump around to the music or shrink into a corner.

Edward Okulicz: Did Matt Healy just fire his band and replace them with Alphabeat and think we wouldn’t notice? Lashing at house-pop with the same swagger as Brit-rock, the 1975 have well and truly found their calling here, and crafted a perfect chorus of the meaningless in theory but profound in practice variety. When I play this, it feels like the dark streets flash in neon before my eyes.

Jonathan Bogart: I stopped being able to relate to, or even seriously consider, rock lyrics ten years ago. Fortunately, I don’t need to care about the lyrics (which are banal when they aren’t embarrassing) in order to thrill to the sounds of this song, none of which are new: hopped-up synthpop meets flat-footed funk in 1987 and gets far more eyeliner earnest than 1987 ever did (I understood when eyeliner meant irony; now it doesn’t and I feel old). Mirko Limoni piano stabs and Elliot Easton guitar solos trigger amygdalic responses; everything past that is wardrobe and advertising.

Brad Shoup: There is, evidently, a market for the marriage of ’80s bubblefunk with Red Hot Chili Peppers lyrics. If it’s the sound of anything, it’s Carly Rae Jepsen turning heel.

Reader average: [6.61] (13 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

12 Responses to “The 1975 – The Sound”

  1. y’know, in the 1975’s world, a [1] is just an inverse [9]

  2. i missed out on getting a blurb but it’s okay because i see all these [8]s and [10]s and i’m like ‘heck yeah’

  3. Edward, can Matty Healy as frontman for Alphabeat be a real thing? Because that sounds like the best thing ever.

  4. Drink thaat fucking Kool-Aid, assholes ;)

  5. every blurb and score is somehow equally correct

  6. true, i somehow agree with both the 10’s and the 1’s, for some reason.

  7. queen josh of jukeboxia, on March 11th, 2016 at 8:07 am Said:

    y’know, in the 1975’s world, a [1] is just an inverse [9]

    crystal knew this which is why she gave this a [5]

  8. Josh’s blurb is the best thing I’ve read so far all year.

  9. high five, Winters!

  10. are you guys gonna cover “somebody else”

  11. amnesty *prayer hands emoji*

  12. can we cover “Somebody Else” pleaaase