Following a two-year hiatus, The 1975 have returned. Their brand new album, “Being Funny In A Foreign Language,” embraces the soft-rock genre and pulls listeners into a roller coaster of various emotions, tones and moods.
As depicted by the album’s distinct, black-and-white cover, lead vocalist and guitarist Matthew Healy stands on top of a broken down and vandalized car on the coast. The image was a stylistic choice, as it gives insight into what vibes listeners can expect from the album. The majority of its upbeat and lighthearted tones are reflected by the beach background and by the care-free stance Healy takes on the car. Most notably, the various drawings and scribbles displayed all around the car represent the fluctuations between the calm and chaos in each individual song.
Unlike the more harmonious self-titled opening tracks from previous albums, “The 1975” has a greater feeling of chaos as well as a storyline. The song reflects on Healy’s early career and his reckless behavior during his 20s. He conveys his personal growth to listeners by admitting “[he] had a tendency of thinkin’ about it after [he] spoke.”
The combination of the fast-paced piano and uneasy, sporadic notes from the violin that continue throughout the song create an organized chaos to frame the lyrics. This helps to mirror the scattered mindset Healy has regarding his journey through personal and career-oriented maturity.
“Happiness” offers listeners a much-needed, upbeat mood shift. This time, the combination of guitar, piano, drums and even the addition of trumpets and chimes contribute to an almost disco-esque vibe. I feel that this song in particular exemplifies The 1975’s trademark sound.
It’s a track that tells a story about finding a new love – how this relationship feels like living in a forever-lasting honeymoon phase. Listening to this song will make you feel like you’re at a music festival singing your heart out with your partner – a wholesome act to pair with a wholesome song.
“All I Need To Hear” brings yet another sharp turn in the album. Depending on the listener, one may find it to be incredibly relatable or just feel pity for those who do. The somber piano that opens the track is immediately followed by an extremely mellow guitar and drum beat, which set the mood quickly. Healy sings about his only need of reassurance from someone he loves in order to get through the day. He discloses that he doesn’t care whether or not the person he is talking to is sincere in telling him they love him. He’s reached a point where all he needs is the words, not even the intention.
Though a rollercoaster of emotions, “Being Funny In A Foreign Language” has something for everyone. Even if you don’t find any of the songs necessarily relatable, its variation keeps the album entertaining.
The 1975 explains that this album is definitely more mature, personal and heavier compared to their past work. Healy highlights that like the rest of the world, COVID-19 caused him and the rest of the band to experience a period of reflection and mental development that contributed to such a shift in their music. Although different, “Being Funny In A Foreign Language” is ultimately The 1975’s way of being truly authentic.