The 1975 arrived in 2013 under the perfect storm with anything else almost surely not allowing their perplexing popularity to take place. The British public had decided that after four albums of game-changing, lyrically dexterous and truly dynamic Artic Monkeys records that the one that would spiral them into being the biggest British band since Oasis was…AM. Despite lacking everything that made the first four Arctic Monkeys albums great, the lyrics, rhythms and (most importanty) the grounded subject matter that allowed many to empathise and sympathise with them AM towered above these albums in terms of popularity. On the coattails of the Arctic Monkeys infatuation with being from anywhere but Britain came the 1975, clad in the same leather and having even less of the lyrical and musical ability of the boys from San FranSheffield. A strange universe that allows this to be the case is also the same universe in which the 1975 can become popular.
The 1975’s main conversation point is sex. It’s the title of their first EP and the subject matter of pretty much the entirety of their first album. And like a teenager in a 90s chick flick I don’t think I believe it. That was always the main problem with the 1975 for me. They just sound like pure bullshitters and their songs blatantly aren’t that sexy.
This opinion was not the minority and the 1975 were one of the critical jokes of the year. Even places that saw AM as genius saw through their weak spectacle. Yet the 1975 are back and their first single, Love Me, received praise from many of the establishments which had shunned them.
And as easy as it is to criticise them it is hard to disagree why. Musically this song is catchy, infectious and properly good. This is proper radio material, from its first instant those chords and hooks grab your attention and they are good for it the whole way through. Even the chorus has a groove to it that is undeniable and great.
However, the message of this song is so cheap, lazy and abysmal that the first time you look at the lyrics or especially, when you view the video which is one of the most shameless attention grabbing things I’ve seen all year you are forced to view the song for what it is. The 1975 trying to get back into everyone’s good books by bashing the easiest targets in the world, popular music. This is not a new tactic with people like Jake Bugg, Catfish and the Bottlemen and most especially Oasis making a career out of appealing to the kind of people that are actually angered when someone listens to pop music. For this reason and this reason alone I cannot recommend this song as this practise is laughable and every band which tries and fuels the “popular music is terrible” cliché needs to have a long hard look at themselves, especially a band which exist only on the back of one of the biggest popular bands in Britain.
The second single from The 1975 on this record does again enter new territory and admitting that they aren’t actually sex gods with lyrics like “I don't have the capacity for fucking” showing that The 1975 do have a bit of self awareness. The rest of the song adds little. Although again some of the musical elements please, especially the electronic blips at the beginning but the song’s story doesn’t interest me at all and they show again for the second time a lyrical weakness. Musically however this song does prove that whoever is making up these riffs and beats actually does have a lot of talent and I can genuinely see The 1975 growing up into being a genuinely good band.
For now though they will be lucky to gain the same knee jerk applause that people like NME get whenever a band has something negative to say about pop and this album will likely come and go with The 1975 continuing to be that band your sister likes.
Don’t bother. Really.