Opening with what sounds like a choral excerpt from “The Life of Pablo” that was deemed too pretentious for even Kanye, the album is instantly too grandiose for its own good. Things take a nose dive as the album segues awkwardly into “Love Me”, on which Healy displays his ability to be putrid pretty excellently. Lines like “you’ve got a beautiful face but nothing to say”, really make you wonder what kind of ego he’s sporting, especially given the subject matter of the song being as hypocritical and desperate as they come. This latest attempt by a pseudo indie band to tap into the “real music wanker” mentality has managed to even transcend music, and finds Healy railing against just pop-culture in general, in an attempt to make himself seem like the talented and astute outsider, but falls flat in almost every self-satisfied line. The instrumental for “UGH” doesn’t help his case by being about as basic as pop music comes.
“A Change of Heart” contains some of the most ham-fisted and jarringly awkward lyricism I’ve ever heard. “Was it your breasts from the start? They played a part.” Smooth Healy. Smooth. He later seemingly justifies a break up with the line, “You used to have, a face straight out of a magazine, now you just look like anyone.” “She’s American” has a pretty infectious groove to it, and is actually probably the highlight of the album, given that the lyrics are basically functional. Healy’s vocals are slightly grating at times, but that’s essentially unavoidable.
For the most part, my issues with the album lie as much in the pseudo visionary instrumentals as the lyrics. “Please be naked” is one such piece of drawling ambient pop that leave the album feeling bloated and more than a bit pompous. “Lostmyhead” may as well fall into this category as well given the lack of remotely interesting or substantial lyrics.
In fact, the approach to every song past the halfway point on this album seems to have been how can it be made as needlessly long and bland as possible. “Somebody Else” and the title track are as meandering and directionless as any pop song I’ve heard this year, and the former has some of that classic Healy narcissism. Things get somewhat back on track with another of the passable songs “The Sound”, on which the catchy instrumental does just enough to hold my attention until the end of the album, despite the closing end being as dreadful as the beginning.
If the laughable sexual posturing of their debut wasn’t for you, then, like me, you probably don’t need any more reason to dislike this band. If you totally bought that Matt Healy was an androgynous sex icon, then stop reading this review and go away. I’m surprised you’re even still here.