Thursday, August 16th, 2018

The 1975 – Love It If We Made It

Get out your popcorn, it’s time for another controversial One Nine Seven Five single…


Will Adams: What? It’s just an ordinary The 1975 s- *reads lyrics* OH MY GOODNESS!

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Matt Healy yelling Hot Takes™ in a wind tunnel as a warmed over INXS track plays is weirdly compelling, but not quite good.

Claire Biddles: If anyone else tried this zeitgeist-quotes lyrical trick (it’s barely a trick!) I would hate it, but a) I’m hugely predisposed to The 1975; and b) their inherent miraculousness somehow makes them the exception to every rule. The lyric tries to hold the enormity of the world and so does the music — each electronic whoosh and whizz is a digital overspill from the heady whole, like even something this maximalist and ambitious isn’t quite enough for them. 

Iain Mew: The sound is a great expansion of the omnivorous approach of the last album. Taking a beautiful twinkle and one shiny happy phrase and setting upon them with echo, reflections and a lot of noise, its sonic trip represents the overload of modernity in the compelling way that the lyrics resolutely don’t. Maybe it’s because I’ve been extremely online since way before The 1975 was a thing, but I’m already familiar with a great stream of context-free sourness and nonsense, and I’d rather not encounter any replications of it. If you’re singing “poison me daddy” and “fuck your feelings” as slogans for satire, you’re still singing “poison me daddy” and “fuck your feelings” as slogans. It’s on a level with someone seeking out the most awful tweets to quote tweet them for clowning purposes, at best.

Alfred Soto: Have these loudmouths gone and interpolated The Blue Nile? Sounds like it. “The Downtown Lights” relied on a steady pulse to put over its lovelorn message; “Love It If We Made It” relies on “The Downtown Lights” to pull a con job on fans born after 1985. I mean, why is this mix so crowded?

Eleanor Graham: The 1975’s music has this quality of dancing around your own mind in the stale air of Tory safe-seat mid-late teenhood in an endless cycle of UCAS and grey skies and girls and boys and club toilets with peeling paint. I don’t expect anyone to be able to relate to that, but please don’t equate my specificity with cosy familiarity. I’m talking about “Robbers” cutting straight to the core of everything that hurts about growing up within its first 30 seconds. Uncomfortable? Oh, god yeah! But when something so closely resembles the inside of your head, it is churlish to deny that you’re a fan. All of this goes to say: I am incapable of being objective about “Love It If We Made It.” Because it is essentially a dystopian “Robbers,” with the same yearning indie thrum and a new urgency; because, well, you know, everything’s decaying; because aren’t we all thinking about the death of the republic on some level at all times, but don’t we also need bangers? Of course, we should be cynical about pop songs that make half-hearted jabs at the administration and reference the deaths of children, which both 1975 singles have now done. In its defence, this one at least makes the statements “I moved on her like a bitch” and “thank you, Kanye, very cool” sound terrifying and surreal enough to remind me that “terrifying” and “surreal” should not have become platitudes. Is it toothless? Is it exploitative? Or will it be read in twenty years simply as addressing the elephant in the room? They’ve thrown the chorus in there — raw, open, pleading, trailing off like a comet in the night sky — to make all of those questions feel inconsequential.

Juan F. Carruyo: A shocker in gloomtown, the song starts with a bang and it never lets up, swallowing everything in its path. The moody production suits the enveloping soundscape and it’s worthy of mentioning how the bass plays against the keys in the refrain. By the time the song ends, it feels like this is the soundtrack for the rapture. 

Edward Okulicz: I’m massively fond of the 1975, but this is puddle-deep where it’s trying to be ~meaningful~ and ~edgy~ and ~zeitgeisty~ and it’s a hookless joy after the previous single’s buzzy earworm. Big-name artists probably think they’ve earned the right to release indulgences, but we shouldn’t pretend singles like this are anything more.

Will Rivitz: Leave it to The 1975 to build off an earth-shatteringly good teaser single with a follow-up nearly as bad as the first was good. Look, I’m all for politically conscious songwriting, but these lyrics could have been written by any of the interchangeable and smugly ineffective liberal Facebook pages my high school friends repost material from. I can overlook the awful lyricism of “Give Yourself A Try” (“Like context in a modern debate, I just took it out,” eurgh) because a) it’s only occasional and b) is utterly drowned out by an ecstasy of electric guitars, but here Matty Healy’s slacktivist garbage piles are given main billing. One point for the Lil Peep shoutout, one point for the glorious jangles after the second chorus reined in too soon in favor of a bridge that is somehow worse than the verses, and absolutely nothing else.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: I have to give credit where credit is due: this is an evil song that utilizes its structure as a means to elevate and justify its conceptual gambit. Matt Healy reads off a list of provocative phrases that act as a simulacrum of the discouraging news headlines, ironic shitposts and self-impressed hot takes that crowd numerous corners of the internet. The pulsating beat and claustrophobic mix amplify that particular dread, and the swirling harp is the only sound that feels unstuck from it all. It hints at a hope that is later projected in the chorus, but it turns out to be nothing more than a red herring. I don’t expect Healy to provide answers — I’d argue that he took the more effective route in providing a moment of release over anything concrete — but I don’t believe him at all when he says he’d “love it if we made it.” This is the sort of dude who finds joy in crassly exploiting the tragedy of others for the sake of art, and it finds its roots in how he decided on the band’s name. When the chorus finally breaks free from the monotony, his voice has a smugly arrogant tone that snaps everything into place: Healy is eager to be the source of relief for the trigger warning-necessary lyrics that he doled out in the first place. He can only be a savior for the bullshit he pushes on you, and he’ll cover it up by touting we instead of I. As a political statement, this has virtually no worth. As a piece of music, the bridge makes exceedingly clear that this is just an edgy “We Didn’t Start The Fire.” As a depiction of narcissistic manipulation, this is excellent — perhaps the best of the year.

Vikram Joseph: Even without the viral billboard advertising campaign, “Love It If We Made It” is much larger than life, but offsets its pretensions with self-aware hyperbole and a streak of pitch-black humour. The genuine venom towards a society that permits Donald Trump and “a beach of drowning three year olds” is undercut by an awareness that we’re all tied up in this mess — they can get away with railing against modern existence without sounding aloof or curmudgeonly, because they’re so self-evidently part of it, and, to some extent, in love with it too. The chorus is equal parts earnest optimism and grim humour, which just about epitomises their brand. There have been a lot of “We Didn’t Start The Fire” comparisons, but it actually makes me think more of a half-speed, tongue-in-cheek “Ignoreland”; The 1975 feel better having screamed, don’t you?

Lauren Gilbert: See, I wrote an entire blurb about how this is “New Americana” v. 2018, and then promptly deleted it to write about what it means for modernity to have failed us. Spoiler alert: Modernity has not failed us, but the specific iteration of modernity of which Healy writes is certainly Not Great. Capital M Modernity is more (and less) than drugs and borders and Trump. At the risk of sounding like the pedantic graduate student I am, modernity is characterized by industrialization, market economies, nation states, individuality, and secularism (surely not the “Jesus save us!” Healy mentions). Healy’s Modernity-as-characterized-by-this-song is not that. He’s writing about the dissatisfactions of a left-leaning person in the Trump/May/dear-god-why-is-Boris-Johnson-still-around era, a modernity grounded in the specific sociocultural norms and events that shaped how certain rich English-speaking countries experienced in 2018. And if we consider that particular experience of modernity as the only possibility we have, it’s pretty easy to conclude “modernity has failed us” and write a “We Didn’t Start The Fire” of terrible things. And I’ll give Healy some credit; “Love It If We Made It” does sound and feel like living in twenty-fucking-eighteen. But modernity the concept does not imply that we must live in our specific instance of modernity; we do not have to accept Trump and income inequality and in-the-future-everyone-will-be-famous-for-fifteen-minutes Modernity.  And more than that, that specific (miserable) modernity is not even the only modernity happening right now. Around the world, people are living longer, healthier lives; fewer people live in extreme poverty; there are fewer wars. Healy’s Modernity may feel like a prison, where we are trapped forever in endless cars on endless roads to places we don’t want to go, but it is not the only game in town.  I (and many others) am alive today because of modern(ity) medicine & honestly, I’ll take Donald Trump and Brexit and “thank you, Kanye, very cool” as the price of being alive. Perhaps it’s too much to ask for a band known for its cynicism to consider a fuller context, and the very real positives in the world we live in, but hey, why give themselves a try?

Reader average: [7.55] (27 votes)

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12 Responses to “The 1975 – Love It If We Made It”

  1. this is so sad alexa play we didn’t start the fire

  2. Joshua is otm.

  3. eleanor vikram and juan my only friends on this website

  4. the real analogue i hear is less billy joel and more third eye blind’s “non-dairy creamer”, the one that ends by chanting gw bush’s “mission accomplished”. like stephan jenkins, matty healy is narcissistic and awful, like jenkins he’s constantly both indulging and interrogating those qualities, and like jenkins where you land on the result works like a sort of projective test imo.

  5. ^^^^ damn, otm

  6. father john misty and matty healy are the same person

  7. So, so far we’ve got a song that reminds me why I really love like 33 minutes worth of the last album, and another song that reminds me why I ONLY love like 33 minutes worth of the last album. This is not the first song.

  8. excuse me i do not believe FJM could even recognize a banger, much less write one

  9. would’ve [10]’d this fwiw

  10. neither can matty healy, tbf

  11. The moral of the story is that male artists are bad.

  12. Will you be covering “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME?”