Sitting at a stark 15 tracks, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships is a trip — but it’s one that everyone should take. Prophetic, poetic and purposefully self-aware, writing duo Matty Healy and George Daniel excel and have even been compared to a .
The album sets out to tell a story: a story of modern society, drug addiction (pulling from Healy’s own battles), romance and everything in between. The album dives straight in and opens with the recurring “The 1975,” with this version pulling from the laments of Bon Iver. Following the prefacing track, the listeners get a taste of what they’ve already heard. With lead single “Give Yourself A Try” portraying the reality of growing up and then the dance-inducing “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME,” Healy and his cohorts do what they do best.
Arguably, two of the most poignant songs in first half of the album are “Love It If We Made It” and “Be My Mistake.” Politically charged and even , Healy doesn’t hold back in “Love It If We Made It.” If there is any song to describe the current political landscape of America, this would be a top contender. Following the powerhouse of a song, the band pulls a complete 180 and goes acoustic. Being the first blatant acoustic track on the album, “Be My Mistake” pulls on the thoughts of guilt and making mistakes while trying to find yourself in the world. Though not at the lyrical stature of the songs surrounding it, the track is reflective, self-aware and Healy’s vocals are raw and vulnerable.
Hitting the middle of the album, The 1975 takes a risk – but when you reach the level of stardom that they have, you’re allowed to. Narrated by the robotic voice of Siri, “The Man Who Married A Robot / Love Theme” examines the lonely life of a man and his relationship with the Internet. Though seemingly out of left field, it’s arguably the most stark look at modern society on the album. It’s a brutally sad story narrated by, arguably, the peak symbol of what the narrative underlyingly mocks. It’s ironic, a bit satirical and oh so The 1975.
Healy and Daniels excel in their writing abilities throughout the album. Whether it’s the analogous ode to heroin in “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)” or the sickly sweet morbidness of “Inside You Mind,” their words are poetic. Each song stands on its own, yet when pieced together, they create a story.
The same goes for sound in general. If its was its start with indie rock and the sophomore album was its jump to more of a mainstream pop, then A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships stands as a culmination of both of those, and then some. Jumping from odes to SoundCloud rap (“I Like America & America Likes Me”) to thematic Oasis-like anthems (“I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)”) then to a simple jazz standard (“Mine”) seems a bit bizarre, but with The 1975, it just works.
From the imagery and overall aesthetic of the album to the lyrics and genre-bending sounds, it’s almost flawless. Dare I say almost flawless due to a sometimes weird track listing, but it’s not something that deters the album as a whole. The album stands as a culmination of all The 1975 has done before mixed with a bit of boldness and experimentation. It’s the band at its best, with A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships sitting as its best release to date.