On Oct. 14, The 1975 released their fifth studio album, “Being Funny In A Foreign Language.” The album is dedicated to a variety of interpersonal relationships and full of introspection and soul-searching.
The electropop and funk-rock band incorporates pop culture references in each song’s lyrics while integrating eclectic and acoustic sounds throughout the album. The more upbeat songs such as “I’m In Love With You” suit driving down the highway with the windows down, whereas songs like “Human Too” can be paired with a warm cup of coffee on a rainy day.
The 1975 officially formed in 2002 and has been releasing albums together since 2013. The Manchester-based band consists of lead vocalist and guitarist Matthew “Matty” Healy, bassist Ross MacDonald, guitarist Adam Hann and drummer George Daniel.
The band members were brought together by a council worker in Wilmslow, Cheshire, who found music opportunities for high schoolers like themselves. After testing out an assortment of names, they decided on The 1975, which Healy found written on the back of a Jack Kerouac poetry book. They released a series of EPs together, including “Facedown” and “Sex,” and dropped their first self-titled album in 2013. Now, they have a Spotify following of over 15,000,000 monthly listeners and an expansive discography.
In advance of the album, The 1975 released their lead single “Part Of The Band.” Healy uses the song as a way to make fun of his ego and be vulnerable about his past with substance abuse, as shown through the lyrics: “So many cringes and heroin binges / I was coming off the hinges, living on the fringes / Of my, my, my imagination.”
The album opens with “The 1975,” which is the title of every opening song on each of their studio albums — except for “Notes on a Conditional Form,” which begins with a speech by the young climate activist Greta Thunberg.
In an interview with Genius, Healy said the opener is a new rendition of the same song that is repeated on each album. In this album’s version, Healy sings about his past mistakes while he questions trends in modern-day society.
The song closes with the line “I’m sorry if you’re living and you’re seventeen,” which he shared the meaning of in an interview with The New York Times:
“I just feel sorry for kids that are drowning in whatever: self-hatred, the burdens of social media, even wokeness,” Healy said. The opener for the album prepares the listener for a musical journey of introspection and a glimpse into the imperfections of society.
The album grew in popularity after “About You,” the 10th song on the tracklist, gained traction on TikTok. Fans emotionally reacted to featured artist and Hann’s wife Carly Holt’s verse of the song, where she sang a heartfelt verse with airy vocals.
A fan on TikTok, @tootimetanya, said “This song really encapsulates the feeling of your heart being torn from your chest every time you think about them wanting nothing to do with you, but you still think about them anyway.”
Many fans connected to the song, sharing that it has a similar haunting sound to the band’s 2013 song “Robbers.” They came up with a theory that “About You” is a continuation of “Robbers.”
The rest of the album is a combination of melancholic tunes and happy melodies, complimenting one another and contributing to the album’s balance.
“This is [the band’s] collection of polaroids,” Healy said. Electronic influence, fast-paced piano and thoughtful lyrics are an expected combination for The 1975, but it is unique to their group.
The album closes with “When We Are Together,” a slower, more solemn song. In a song explanation from Genius, Healy said the track is about his past relationships and was difficult to listen to after recording.
Like other songs, it is filled with references and implicit messages. “You ask about the cows, wearin’ my sweater / It’s somethin’ about the weather that makes them lie down” is in reference to an England legend that explains how cows laying down indicates rain, but annotation contributors from Genius suspect it is about appreciating the little things in a relationship.
The 1975 began their album tour in the U.S. in October and will be performing in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco in late November. The band will continue onto the international portions of the tour in January — making stops in Europe, South America, Asia and Australia.