Thursday, August 29th, 2019

The 1975 – People

The 1975 you know is gone! THEY’RE HARDCORE NOW!!!


Alex Clifton: As far as the lyrics & delivery go: a truly punk song, a well-needed wakeup call, and Healey’s screaming is how I have felt literally every day for the last four years, which I deeply appreciate. As an actual single: I can listen to this maybe once a month because it’s super dissonant and honestly does not help with my constant anxiety that the world will end shortly.

Kylo Nocom: Rightfully devastated punk that would probably sound a lot better if it didn’t just seem like yet another damned attempt by the 1975 at appeasing the indie crowd through art-y posturing. Really, throw shit at their debut all you want, they knew exactly what they wanted to do and did all of it with near-perfect pop sheen. Their obsession with their own legacy has led to their musical downfall, and now we have to listen to them condescend and uphold it as somehow significant, as if there aren’t artists with significantly more to say than Matty Healy that don’t have the resources to have their voices heard. Eclecticism does not equal talent; Healy’s inanities will not save us.

Alfred Soto: “Syndrums? What syndrums?” Blustering through a rawk number showing little sweat, The 1975 write a Marilyn Manson take on “Love It If We Made It.” It likely portends nothing except increased facility.

Ryo Miyauchi: “People” as just the music is something I can’t resist. Matty strutting to the beat of loud ass rock riffs with the tones bleeding from the seams? The guy singing like a snot-nosed know-it-all jerk in love with the spotlight, audibly kissing the camera? He may not be good at screaming as much as he think he does, but him simply giving himself to the moment sounds good enough. But if he also hopes to say something, and for me to feel like he actually did, well, this isn’t exactly it. I’ve long understood that Matty lives in the same fucked-up world as me — that’s what “Love It If We Made It” made sure to do after all — but I’m honestly exhausted from songs that’s reportage and not much else. I can see the world burn down from my own eyes too! If Matty, or whoever else in pop, wants to say something, I need them to expand upon that blank between “republic’s a banana, ignore if you wanna” and “fuck it, I’m just gonna get food, girls, gear.” Ignoring is easy, I know, but that self-care via self-indulgence can’t do much to help anymore. What exists beyond it when it’s no longer the go-to step? Matty doesn’t have the answer for that here.

Micha Cavaseno: The only man who apparently decided that The (International) Noise Conspiracy was just what the world needed, long after even the actual T(I)NC was dissolved, would naturally be Matty Healy. Plenty of ‘people’ have misattributed this song to sounding like Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People” which is an association I just simply don’t hear at all. Instead I get a lot more of Manic Street Preachers, The Hives, The Blood Brothers, T(I)NC and even their frontman’s prior band Refused’s last moments. When the soon to be released 1975 album was discussed even in the build for last year’s listless and dissatisfying A Brief Inquiry… constant invocations of the band’s past as a journeyman post-hardcore act that probably would’ve died a death in the lower-tier nostalgia bin alongside earthtone9, Devil Sold His Soul, SikTH, Rinoa or The Ocean Fracture. The fodder of so many long gone myspace pages and collections of patches. Now it feels that era is being discussed with a genuine affectionate nostalgia again; and if there’s anything this band loves to key in on, it’s genre nostalgia. Do they land it? Maybeish. Straight Ahead Rock has admittedly felt less capable in The 1975’s hands unless filtered into Glastonbury Festival Anthems a la “Robbers”, so hearing them try to defiantly thrash while remaining groovy is either endearing or slight. Still, I admittedly can’t think of a 1975 album yet where the key single was the leading one, so for now it feels just like a proposition of yet another shape-shifting going down.

Oliver Maier: Post-hardcore with traces of 13-era Blur could have been the key to finally converting me to the church of the 1975, but this still isn’t doing it for me. I don’t doubt that Matty Healy is concerned about *vague hand gesture* the state of things, but for a band so aware that sincerity is indeed scary, I always feel as though their ventures into new sonic territory are the product of a desire to impress rather than earnestly communicate, that they might dip their toes into afrobeats or flirt with trap drums only because people don’t expect them to. Which isn’t a crime! But the punk signifiers here feel like just that: signifiers, gesturing at a genre that’s all about urgency in an attempt to reverse-engineer that same quality, but capturing none of its essential recklessness. I prefer the unhinged vocal here to Healy’s usual crooning, but paired with lyrics that modulate between the generic, the outright dreadful and the word “fuck” a whole bunch, it’s just not enough to dispel the impression of a calculated facsimile of protest music. I could see myself softening on this if the rest of Notes on a Conditional Form sticks to the same sound, which might suggest some real commitment rather than the sense that the 1975 are still just trying on new masks and expecting an A for effort. But I’m not holding my breath.

Rachel Bowles: I was lucky enough to hear this song for the first time live and witness the crowd erupt with infectious anger and joy- somehow knowing every single word of this days old song. There was something truly palpable, political and vital there, Healy has told the press he’s never felt more like he’s in a punk band and experiencing ‘People’ live, it’s not hard to hear why. At the time I described it as “a Marilyn Manson meets Glassjaw-esque punk screed with enough F-bombs to satisfy even the most discerning teenage contrarian… an anthem that screams with the rage of billions of millennial and Gen Z 99 percenters, powerlessly watching the world burn (literally) as Donald Trump and Boris Johnson pat themselves on the back.”Had I not clearly seen Healy & co in front of me, I would never have pegged ‘People’ as a 1975 song- this new venture into raw punk, however impressive, is just another string in the bow of band that is constantly reinventing themselves.

Hannah Jocelyn: Let’s unpack the worst line in “People”!  Part 1: “My generation wanna fuck Barack Obama”: A decade ago this might have been a reference to “Crush on Obama,” but now any given Gen Z socialist will tell you that Obama wasn’t progressive enough, that he was a neoliberal centrist, etc etc. So it’s more like fuck Barack Obama. Double meanings! Part 2: “living in a sauna”: Could be a climate change reference, but with the next line it’s more likely to be a hotbox joke. More double meanings! Except the idea that Earth is itself a hotbox is both funnier and more evocative. Part 3:Legal marijuana”: Both a long-delayed Halsey comeback for that one line in “Colors” and a catalyst for even more double meanings! there’s the aforementioned hotbox joke, or it’s the ever-ubiquitous “using drugs to numb the pain” thing.  Conclusion: This line both says a lot of things and says absolutely nothing, which is what anyone who hates this song will think it does. Oh right, there’s a song attached. And it’s fantastic. The mix of a gritty aesthetic with bright, clean guitar tones. The ability to make a tuneless song sound as catchy as “Chocolate” but inexplicably less anoying. This is everything I’ve wanted the 1975 to do, or anyone to do when everything in all genres sounds so listless and geared towards Playlists. Even Idles pandered with the whole ‘ten points to Griffyndor’ thing. The 1975 is virtually only pandering to emo kids with this one. And edgelords, hopefully putting them on a path to salvation instead of hatred. Or not. Whoever it’s for, I’m glad it exists.

Edward Okulicz: Honestly, I know that throwing reductionist comments at male pop stars stepping outside their apparent lane isn’t a curative against how such things have been levelled at women over the years, but my initial, and second, and third, and fourth reaction to this song is “omg Matty Healy just shut up and be a pop star, you know, something you’re really good at.” I’ll be over here in sensitivity training if you need me.

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4 Responses to “The 1975 – People”

  1. this reference to The (International) Noise Conspiracy means a lot to me maxwell

  2. I was talking to Copperman about this just today and I was like omg looooool at that T(I)NC reference but in all honesty their third album was really kinda great

  3. The Noise Conspiracy reference alone made my day. Dennis Lyxzén seems like an interesting model to Matty recently, but it doesn’t seem to fit him as well as Michael Hutchence in 2016.

  4. I think I read somewhere that people tried to return vinyls of My Bloody Valetnine’s Loveless when it first came out in the 1990s because this innovative sound seemed to be warped and broken on their turntables. Except here, the New Matt Healy isn’t really heralding in a new genre; it’s ACTUALLY warped and broken. Maybe 2019 has a better return policy?