The 1975 - Being Funny in a Foreign Language Music Album Reviews

The 1975 - Being Funny in a Foreign Language Music Album Reviews
Matty Healy taps Jack Antonoff to help produce a concise, meaningful, pop-focused album about love. It’s cliché, it’s obvious, it’s slyly profound—it’s the 1975.

Beneath the 1975’s brilliant sheen lies a sense of doom. Look around you—can’t you sense it, too? Millions of us scrolling through social media with glazed eyes and fragile psyches, unable to find connection beyond the confines of our bedrooms, snorting Adderall and watching porn just to register a pulse. You know, we live in society. On past records, frontman Matty Healy explored these maladies with a comic, clumsy edge, stuffing his lyrics with Donald Trump tweets, writing songs about FaceTime sex, and opening an 80-minute album with a speech from climate activist Greta Thunberg. The 1975 aspire toward sincerity and radicality, to make music that’s actually meaningful. Then they look in the mirror and chafe at their own reflection.

Unlike 2018’s A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships and 2020’s Notes on a Conditional Form, both of which attempted to capture the hyperactivity of thumbing through tabs, the 1975’s latest album, Being Funny in a Foreign Language, tames the group’s taste for excess and plays up their fundamentals: goopy ’80s guitars, pumping drums, schmaltzy saxophones, and infuriatingly good hooks. With production help from Jack Antonoff, at 44 minutes, it’s the band’s shortest and most focused album yet, one that perpetuates a simple message: Love will save us. It’s cliché, it’s obvious, it’s slyly profound—it’s the 1975.

And if any contemporary pop star is prepared for the eye rolls and scorn that an album-wide cliché as trite as love will save us inspire, it’s Matty Healy. Call him what you will—a satirist, a postmodernist, a tacky romantic, an “ironically woke…post-coke, average skinny bloke calling his ego imagination,” per “Part of the Band”—but he’s speaking from the heart. “One could criticize me for loads of things, but you can’t criticize me for being insincere,” he recently told The New York Times. “Annoying, whatever. But I’m not insincere.” Being Funny is as sincere as the 1975 have ever sounded, and also as hopeful. Without the thematic discursions and stylistic detours of past records, Healy’s glamorous love songs finally take center stage, their message as convincing as ever: Maybe love, clichés and all, is the answer.

Earnestness offset with humor, sociocultural critiques bookended by dick jokes—the 1975’s raison d’être is on full display on the album’s eponymous opener, an epic orchestral number whose doubled pianos and billowy vocals pay homage to LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends.” Healy sings of surviving in the digital age, of wading through targeted advertisements and pharmaceutical addictions and political identities, rattling off a string of lines like “I’m feeling apathetic after scrolling through hell/I think I’ve got a boner, but I can’t really tell,” and, “You’re making an aesthetic out of not doing well and mining all the bits of you you think you can sell.” By positioning our cultural ills as urgent, life-threatening predicaments, Healy offers a useful framework for interpreting the rollicking pop-rock fervor to come. Here’s a way forward, he seems to be saying, winking at us, one that feels good; one that sustains.

Being Funny presents this fervor with renewed force, replacing the band’s computerized production with natural studio instrumentation. (Their ground rule when making the record was to “play it and record it. Real instruments.”) The songs pop when they erupt with energy, when the band’s joy and zeal are palpable. Take “Happiness,” a glistening, limber, and exceptional proof-of-concept. It was originally conceived during a jam session where the band performed their parts with “locked eyes,” per Healy, who gives an astounding vocal performance. “In case you didn’t notice/I would go blind just to see you,” he sings, boiling with desperation. The towering dance groove on “Oh Caroline”—the one that blends Bruce Hornsby and Carly Rae Jepsen—could likely be a hit at any point in the past 40 years. It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s magnificent in its breadth—it makes you believe, however reservedly, that you, too, can “find [yourself] in the moonlight.”

Even when their songs reek of camp, Healy has enough moxie to elevate a potentially horrible idea into an eloquent exclamation point. How many bands could pull off “I’m in Love With You,” a song designed for wedding dancefloors and roadside make-outs? It’s silly, sure, but it’s also a pristine, precise celebration of commitment and in-person infatuation amid pop music’s “Texts Go Green” era. “Looking for Somebody (To Love)” boasts the physicality of a Bruce Springsteen song, its colorful guitars, pulsing synths, and massive drums slashing like lightning around Healy’s hound dog voice. At first the song seems like just another rumbling good time, but then Healy’s writing deepens: “Maybe we’re lacking in desire/Maybe it’s just all fucked/But the boy with ‘the plan’ and the gun in his hand was looking for somebody to love.” Throughout the record, the 1975 repeatedly suggest that human connection can lift us out of loneliness, reestablish our place in the world, and separate us from our screens. According to Healy, the stakes for doing so have never been higher.

In Being Funny’s quieter moments, the group treads somewhat new territory. Antonoff lends his soft hand to guitar-centric folk rock songs, like “Wintering,” whose chorus feels like the theme song for a bad ’90s sitcom, or “When We Are Together,” which boasts all the inoffensive flourishes native to an Antonoff-assisted track. But the standout ballads come when Healy channels his R&B chops. The stunning “Human Too” features a falsetto reminiscent of Justin Vernon, while the pop standard “All I Need to Hear” sounds like a song every American Idol contestant would’ve clamored to perform in 2007. It’s simple but inimitable, general but specific—in a word, it’s honest, an elusive quality that separates the 1975 from their mainstream rock contemporaries.

In the music video for “All I Need to Hear,” Healy walks around a wooded area in a trench coat, staring into the sky, then a pond; he’s quick to point out a swan that enters his periphery. Speaking into his phone, he monologues about capital A-Art, identity, the façade of reality—the usual Matty Healy talking points. We don’t hear what questions he’s being asked, just snippets of his answers. “It sounds like a pretentious thing to say, but there’s a lot of figuring stuff out on this record: musically, philosophically, emotionally,” he says as the camera catches him paddling a canoe. As always, the 1975 are his vessel to seek and not to know; to risk cringiness for the sake of sincerity; to crack a joke at the wrong time; to grab someone by the shoulders and say that you love them. This is what they live for.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
The 1975 - Being Funny in a Foreign Language Music Album Reviews The 1975 - Being Funny in a Foreign Language Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on October 21, 2022 Rating: 5


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