The 1975 channel Talking Heads' 'Stop Making Sense' concert in surreal new music video for ‘It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)'
After unveiling their stunning new album 'A Brief inquiry Into Online Relationships' last week, The 1975 have now dropped a meta and referential new music video for one of the album's highlights, 'It's Not Living (If It's Not With You)'.
As with any music video from one of indie pop's most promising bands, the extended 7-minute clip is chock full of pop culture references and meta references. But there's something quite special about this one.
Penned by frontman Matty Healy and directed by Warren Fu, the visuals for the 80s pop-flavored track — which discusses Healy's recovery from heroin addiction — is a surreal tribute to Talking Heads’ 1984 concert film 'Stop Making Sense.'
Healy emulates Talking Heads frontman David Byrne by sporting a similar attire that Byrne wore during the live performance and practicisng his signature moves, especially during the song 'Life During Wartime'.
Complete with similar looking backing dancers, The 1975 burst into dance as a tribute to the tightly choreographed stage antics of the Jonathan Demme-directed Talking Heads concert.
But there's a nightmarish, Inception-like twist to the whole thing as Healy finds himself constantly waking up in different realities, unable to escape the dream loops as he's stuck in the production sets of 'Stop Making Sense'.
Taking their usual meta-narrative a step further, midway through the video, Healy walks out of a door only to re-appear on the sets of the previously released music video for 'Sincerity Is Scary'. Throughout the clip, the many awakenings of Healy interrupt the track and the recursive, catchy riff of the song pours in over and over again. The clip also features appearances from The 1975’s Dirty Hit labelmates No Rome and The Japanese House’s Amber Bain.
It's no secret that Talking Heads and David Byrne, in particular, are a huge influence on Healy. He even met Byrne once and as he told NME in a 2016 interview, he "completely messed it up" by "doing that thing of hanging out by the door of the dressing room, which nobody does unless you’re trying to bump into someone."
The fanboy's tribute is surely not in bad taste, because one can easily draw parallels between the experimental and genre-blending style of Talking Heads and The 1975. (Interesting stats: The Talking Heads formed in 1975)
'A Brief Inquiry' saw The 1975 take that genre-blending to whole new levels as they flitted between groovy jazz, ironical auto-tune pop, piano-centered ballads, spoken word, electronica, almost rap-like poetry and more without missing a beat at any given moment.
In MEAWW's five-star review of the album, we said that "The 1975 have proved their mettle as the flagbearers of experimental pop yet again".
'Stop Making Sense' is considered the zenith of the Talking Heads' career and was directed by the legendary Demme, who went on to direct modern classics like 'The Silence Of The Lambs' and 'Philadelphia'. Almost 35 years after it first released, it still remains one of the most iconic concert films of all time.
Capturing Byrne's daring and unconventional approach to theatrics, Demme employed then-novel filming styles to capture the essence of the Talking Heads' vibrant shows. He abandoned the usual approach to concert films by often placing hismelf and the camera within the crowd, giving audiences an immersive experience of the performance. Demme passed away in April 2017 due to complications from esophageal cancer and heart disease, but his legacy lives on, not only through his award-winning body of work, but also through tasteful tributes like The 1975's most recent effort.
“Jonathan’s skill was to see the show almost as a theatrical ensemble piece, in which the characters and their quirks would be introduced to the audience, and you’d get to know the band as people, each with their distinct personalities,” David Byrne said in a eulogy posted after Demme’s death. “They became your friends, in a sense.”
The 1975's tribute is especially reminiscent of Talking Heads' unforgettable rendition of their hit song 'Life During Wartime' at Hollywood's Pantages Theater, LA, which served as the location for the shooting of 'Stop Making Sense'. Check out the performance below and see the similarities with The 1975's homage for yourself: