“We’re not a pop band,” Matt Healy, frontman of The 1975, insisted in the music video for the group’s single “Girls,” which was released in 2013.
Healy might be eating his words after the release of The 1975’s long-anticipated sophomore album I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It.
The first single from the new album, “Love Me,” was released in October. The bright riffs from the guitar open the song to match the upbeat lyrics — a new sound that can be compared to that of ’80s pop and boy bands such as Duran Duran.
Fans got a taste of some more pop-inspired tracks when the band began playing them while on tour prior to the album’s release. Fans were able to view videos of live performances of songs like “She’s American” and “The Sound.”
“UGH!” was the second single released from the album and was also thought to be inspired by ’80s pop. The energy in the song, along with the ones performed live, is beyond anything the band has done previously and reflects the band’s clear change in aesthetic from its first album.
However, the album in its entirety can hardly be classified strictly as pop. “If I Believe You” is a powerful six-and-a-half-minute ballad about Healy’s lack of faith in a higher power. It features a gospel choir and smooth trumpet solo behind Healy’s soulful vocals — a major contrast from previous tracks.
“Please Be Naked” and “I like it when you sleep…” are soft instrumental pieces, similar to The 1975 we are used to hearing on its debut album. “Loving Someone” is a rap-like, harsh response to the softer track before it, “Somebody Else.”
The album is concluded with three songs that have slower tempos and quite somber themes. “Paris” is a sad tune with a cool mesh of bass and guitar played under lyrics about a girl with a fascination for drugs. “Nana” is a tear-jerking acoustic number about Healy’s deceased grandmother and another confrontation with his faith. “She Lays Down” is also simple in its acoustics and just as tearful as the previous song, as the lyrics describe another girl who’s a bit too friendly with drugs and the idea of dying.
I Like It When… is an album no one could have expected. After a turbulent few years of touring and a 24-hour social media hiatus, fans were given the surprise of their dreams with the release of the album. It’s a perfect showcase of Healy’s lyrical ingenuity, the musical talents of drummer George Daniel, bassist Ross MacDonald and guitarist Adam Hann. It keeps the band’s overall versatility and ability to leap from genre to genre. While the album is not always easy to listen to from beginning to end and can sometimes give listeners a feeling of musical whiplash, it is undeniably brilliant and original. The 1975 will, without a doubt, continue to grow in popularity in the United States and globally as the group continues to give fans a variety of music unlike anyone else.