‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’: What to expect from The 1975’s new album
Everything we know so far and what to expect from the highly-anticipated third album from the Manchester indie pop heroes
Manchester-based indie-pop breakthrough artists The 1975 stunned fans and critics with their sophomore album in 2016. The wordily titled 'I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It' topped both U.S. and U.K. charts, landed them a Brit Award for Best British Group and put them on the shortlist for the highly coveted Mercury Prize.
Two years have passed since then and The 1975 are looking to ride the wave as the release date of their highly anticipated third studio LP, 'A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships' approaches shortly. Will the band successfully push the bar higher and outdo themselves yet again? Will the Mercury Prize nomination translate into a win in 2019? What's going to be different this time around? Here's a breakdown of everything we know so far about the album and what to expect.
When is it out?
'A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships' drops Friday, November 30, via The Dirty Hit and Polydor records.
What does it sound like?
The 1975 have previewed the album with five singles out of a total of 15 that will feature on the album. The first to drop was 'Give Yourself A Try', followed by 'Love It If We Made It', 'TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME', 'It's Not Living (If It's Not Without You)' and finally, 'Sincerity Is Scary'.
The five singles continue to display the band's classic pop sensibilities, further fleshing out their signature sound - a jubilant combination of merry melodies and dark themes, delivered through frontman Matt Healy's typically ironical and witty lyricism, via metanarratives and self-referential lines. The hooks are catchy as ever and tracks like 'Give Yourself a Try' and 'Love It If We Made It' showcase friendly, instantly addictive choruses.
We can expect yet another cohesive record that doesn't pull too many surprises at least sonically. No collaborations have been revealed to feature on the album so it's going to be 100% The 1975. Interestingly, the album is also the first to not be produced by the band's regular go-to guy, Mike Crossey, known for his work with Arctic Monkeys, Foals, Jake Bugg, Two Door Cinema Club, The Black Keys and Twenty One Pilots. Stepping in for Crossey are Healy and drummer George Daniel.
The album is also slightly shorter than their previous one, which spanned 17 tracks and clocked in at 73 minutes. 'A Brief Inquiry...' meanwhile, comes in at 58 minutes, spanning 15 tracks. It's still pretty long for an LP so expect a lot of depth and a deliberate pace across the record.
Straight from the horse's mouth
Healy revealed earlier the first three 1975 albums would take us through the journey of his own story. The writing, as always, is deeply confessional and we can expect more of the story to unfold. While their 2013 self-titled debut spoke about his teenage years as an aspiring musician in Manchester, U.K., 2016’s, ‘I Like It When You Sleep...' reflected on his rise to stardom.
The conclusion to the saga was supposed to arrive with the third release, which was originally titled 'Music For Cars'. But after a seeming change of heart, the release was split into two efforts. The first will arrive in the form of 'A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships' and the conclusion will arrive next year in the form of 'Notes On A Conditional Form'.
The opening lines of 'Love It If We Made It' gives us a glimpse of the themes in the album. From heroin addiction to rehab, to the underrated existential crises rockstars are often riddled with, Healy addresses many heavy themes. "We're f**king in a car, shooting heroin / Saying controversial things just for the hell of it," the track opens. It can't get any more confessional than that!
But, there's more to the song than just that. The previewed singles are also chock-full of pop-culture references and even get political at times, dropping references to the brief love affair between Kanye West and Donald Trump and the MAGA hat. "It’s me looking out," Healy said of the track. "It’s an interesting one cause there’s not a lot of context and a lot of the things I say in that are direct quotes from people or they’re headlines that I’ve read.”
On the neo-jazz number 'Sincerity Is Scary', Healy takes a critical look at one’s tendencies to put up a facade out of insecurity and anxiety, with the realization that this type of illusory behavior will tend to breed confusion and conflict in relationships with others. He addresses his heroin addiction again (Healy struggled with the drug until he checked into rehab last year) and also talks about the "callout culture" on the internet among other things.
"‘Sincerity Is Scary’ is about me trying to denounce all of that postmodern fear of like being real, you know? Like irony first, irony first. Make sure you’re ironic because then you can’t be judged on being a person," Healy said of the song to Zane Lowe during the track's premiere on Beats 1 Radio.
"And I’ve become so aware of the stick that exists within my kind of lyrical narrative, as well, because obviously, I love everything that I’ve done previously, but now as I got older I see these kinds of defense mechanisms whether they be jokes or being slightly sardonic, or like he is the big emotional bit of the song, but I’m not going to be really emotional," he further elaborated. "All those kind of things, I think on this record it’s slightly more, it’s just a bit more open, and a bit easier, and genuinely sincere."
01. The 1975
02.Give Yourself a Try
04. How to Draw / Petrichor
05. Love It If We Made It
06. Be My Mistake
07. Sincerity Is Scary
08. I Like America & America Likes Me
09. The Man Who Married a Robot / Love Theme
10. Inside Your Mind
11. It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)
12. Surrounded by Heads and Bodies
14. I Couldn’t Be More in Love
15. I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)