Notes On A Conditional Form (album) by The 1975
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The 1975 bestography
The best album by The 1975 is A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships which is ranked number 982 in the list of all-time albums with a total rank score of 1,869.
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This album has a mean average rating of 72.0/100. The trimmed mean (excluding outliers) is 71.3/100. The standard deviation for this album is 18.1.
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For all the variety, is there any originality? It seems to sweep between genres and decades but never really comes up with anything that makes you say "That's the 1975".
Just a thought... The Greta Thunberg intro and 'People' should've been released completely separate to the album as single a side/b side and replaced with another traditional 'going down' 1975 intro. I think the sound of 'People' is waaaaaay too different to fit on this album and nothing comes close to that same energy which I feel confused a lot of new comers to the album and then turned them off after the next 5 tracks being completely different. Killer track though. Any who, I really like this album. I love that the band are happy to be experimental with more electronic sounds in an accessible way that will grow on old fans and new. It is long, but there is nothing here I dislike, although with a bit more focus I think album could've been dialled down to 10 tracks and been something special.
A good record but with their ambition and talent, it should be a great one. They're so close to doing something brilliant but they just. can't. get. over. that. hump.
Lots of great tracks, lots to think about and dissect, varied tracklist which keeps listeners on their toes. A couple songs fall flat for me ("Roadkill", "What Should I Say"), probably first time in the 1975's discography. Highlights include the rebellious energy of opener "People", the beautifully anxious "Frail State of Mind", "The Birthday Party" for its offbeat approach to addiction recovery, the star-gazed urban night of "Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy)", and the prog-gothic radio rock of "Too Shy." There are a lot of more electronic songs which are generally pretty good. It's a little scattershot and might be comparable in approach to the White Album or even more so "Mellon Collie" by the Smashing Pumpkins. A treasure if you are into the band's approach but probably not the first 1975 album you should listen to.
This album is a hot mess, that there's no doubt. It's too long and unfocused, stylistically all over the place and it doesn't feel that all songs relate to one another. A lot of songs fall flat for me, but the ones that succeed are absolutely incredible tracks. The high highs of this album make up for the drudging to get through the rest. I particularly love the more rootsy songs that they throw on the album. In general, his lyricism is fantastic with wonderful structure and rhyme choices beginning to end on the album.
We're taking this track by track NOTE: I tend to dig way too deep into new records from bands I have I bias to like because they've already connected with me before I tend to feel things in songs that might not actually be there. That being said these songs still made me feel certain ways that I have to give the album props for, even if I imagined some of the personal connections I made in my listening journey.
The 1975: I think the idea of starting the album this way is genius but it's just way too long. However, ending it with "It's time to rebel" gives me chills
People: The uncomfortable nature Nine Inch Nails meets the banging guitars and drums of a Nu-metal track, it took guts to make this track, the juxtaposition of this as the opener compared to Give Yourself a Try is amazing, I REALLY wanna hear more of this from the band on a later release because for better or worse it's not here
The End: It's an interlude with an interesting sinister tone to it (that's a word you'll be hearing more from me)
Frail State of Mind: A great representation of how crippling yet nonchalant a mental illness can be at the same time if that makes any sense. Something as scary as dreading going outside followed by "seems unlikely" shows how double-sided these feelings can be. Also it sounds like if tootime was better
Streaming: another short interlude
Birthday Party: This song is too long for its own good once again, if your song is gonna be 5+ minutes you need a climax, in my opinion. This song is just meandering and frankly boring. Lyrics are also decent at best
Yeah I Know: This is one of the first songs on the album that to me that feels like a mental breakdown, and I think that's actually really an interesting concept they keep playing with on the record. It feels like growing tired of the people around you in combination due to what they say just not leaving in impact on you as well as you don't think you deserve to be around them.
Then Because She Goes: I get an overwhelming sense of one-way feelings from this song. Matty sings about wanting the best for this girl as well as becoming extremely sad when she leaves, and they only thing we hear about this mystery woman is that she has to leave at half-past 8, and Matty says "please stay" which gives me very anxious feelings of this girl not wanting to be there longer than she has to (once again I could be reading too much into it but that doesn't matter because this is the first thing that came to my mind when listening to it). The instrumentation adds to these feelings as well with the sad drowning guitars that make me feel like something's slipping away. Also the reverbed, autotuned "I love you" that keeps repeating shows a sort of desperation. This song breaks my heart and I love it
Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America- I really loved this song when I first heard Matty play a solo acoustic version of it over a year ago. Matty telling a story of a boy who has feelings for another boy but wanting to hide that feeling due to his love for god is heartbreaking. The next verse I figured to be about the same boy forcing himself to have service level feelings for a girl also was originally really sad, until the studio version swapped out that verse for a female singer. In my eyes that makes a huge portion of the songs depressing nature go out the window in exchange for a less satisfying, "I'm a girl and I'm gay too" Nothing wrong with that really but I loved how depressing the original story was and now it's gone, oh well I still enjoy the tune with my own little head cannon.
Roadkill: It sounds like a Pinegrove song which I'm assuming is intentional due to the reference to the band in The Birthday Party. This song feels like a slice of life anime in the sense that it just captures a blissful moment in a day, nothing really happens in the story but you just can see yourself walking around town with your bros and catching a glimpse of a beautiful woman that you're too shy to talk to but you fantasize about what could be.
Me & You Together Song: This song sort of builds on Roadkill's feeling of bliss, it's just recounting how you met a girl and how you got to be in your current Honeymoon phase. I also heard someone say this song reminds them of Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind and I think that's perfect, it's just a bit more British and 2000's. Third Eye Blind +Oasis+Slice of Life Anime
I Think There's Something You Should Know: It just sounds like if someone was told they have to copy Frail State of Mind, so it's not bad but I literally just listened to this song with better lyrics eight tracks ago
Nothing Revealed / Everything Denied: It's the third in the line of amazing gospel 1975 songs with a new twist each time. The original, If I Believe, was a straight gospel song that ironically was about how unspiritual Maty is and how he envies the faithful. The sequel Sincerity is Scary, a more jazz-gospel song dissects why people are afraid to be themselves and let down the facade of a personality that everyone seems to have, whether it be just from hiding online to actually be two-faced in real life. Then the conclusion on this album features gospel and r&b/ hip hop influences and is appropriately enough about Matty letting down his own facade that he has sort of created through his own past lyrics. Rather than explaining it here are the best examples "Life feels like a lie, I need something to be true, is there anybody out there" "Apathy for me is an issue, you see I just talk about the things upsetting me" also the guitars are beautifully growing once again on this track.
Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy): Opening with more gospel influences helps transition from the last song. While a hint of gospel is in the whole song this track is more accurately funk, and it's funky as heck. Yet as you could maybe guess this is not a happy song, the guitars are on the brink of bright and heartbreaking. The once again drowning guitars in combination with the high pitched Kanye-esque backing vocals show a sort of downward spiral as Matty wishes he could be with a girl even though he "effed up royally"
Shiny Collarbone: This song continues the album's hardcore downward spiral into sinister sounds. The chanting vocals sound like you're being attacked. Then the soundscape of synths and drum tracks feels like you're questioning your own reality. This song is when you start seeing the code in the Matrix, but on my second listen I noticed the code all over the album. What some people would write off as a meaningless interlude I'd say is one of the most important tracks in the overarching theme.
If You're Too Shy Let Me Know: This almost feels like a break in the album, but not quite. It's a 80's throwback which is always a surefire hit for the 1975 and this one might actually be my favorite song of theirs (Paris is close) I say It's like a break because it doesn't continue the sinister nature of a mental breakdown that seems to be happening at this point in the album. It seems to be a more inward song about Matty having an odd relationship with a girl, and he has no idea if it's gonna go anywhere. Yet it's so fun he has a hard time questioning it. Which is a really good parallel to how this fits on the album. You don't know how it's gonna thematically elevate anything but gosh dang it's so catching and anthemic that you have to jam out to it.
Playing On My Mind: It a fairly simple song that is quite literally Matty spilling his brain on things that he's been thinking about it. Am I okay with living as a rockstar forever? Is it bad I'm always on my phone? Will I get in a divorce? Why do I call you when I have nothing to say? (that's right because I'm in love with someone who doesn't feel the same way) or the age-old question, why am I always cold? One thing this songs shows really well that the rest of the album also does is that it doesn't really give any answers. All of these songs are just questions left for the audience to answer if they chose. This song is just an extreme showcase of that. So I respect it lyrically even if the acoustic backdrop is forgettable.
Having No Head: Welcome back to the emotional breakdown. I think it's another testament to the relation of mental health that we had two one incredibly upbeat song right after our previous mental breakdown. Then we started asking a lot of questions and think about our life and we're back to an emotional breakdown. This one is less violent than Shiny Collarbone though. It starts with a feeling of sobbing in a corner than slowly remembering some heartwarming things that have happened in your past that lead to a sort of wave of sadness that the past is gone, yet you're happy at the same time of the idea that the future may be even better. Yet there are brief moments in the songs that encapsulate the fear that it never will get better.
What Should I Say: Sounds a bit too Khalid-esque for my liking but the ideas of questioning your stance with another person to an obsessive level are a bit moving, not a great sounding track though. Maybe if there wasn't so much autotune it'd work better for me. A decent track that only overstays it's welcome a tiny bit.
Bagsy Not In Net: I don't really know what this song is trying to accomplish, the strings are as good sounding as always but I just get nothing out of this song.
Don't Worry: This one reminds me a lot of Mine from their previous record in the sense that it's a soft sort of tune that is all about putting someone else's feelings before you. It also shares the feeling that Matty is actually happy from caring about this person so much instead of other tracks where it seems that when he puts this much heart into someone it just hurts him. It's important that this song is at the end of the album as well just because it helps the listener feel that Matty has gotten better even through hard stuff he's had to deal with. He's in love with someone and he's at ease. Which brings us to our final track
Guys: Not only is Matty happy with whatever he's decided with women, he's acknowledged that all that he's ever needed has been there all along, his bandmates, his guys. This song also draws a big parallel to the closer on the last album, I always wanna die sometimes. That track wrapped up the thesis of the whole album by saying part of being alive is wishing you weren't sometimes and celebrating that fact. Guys further says that whatever you go through there will be people there for you, even if you can't see it at the moment. Or even if things aren't the best right now there have been good times, there have been great times! And there will be more, you just have to be strong enough to make it there, and you are.
To conclude I really don't know how to rate this album. I love this band to death. While some choices on this album were questionable, it's so rare that an album even gives me this much to talk about and dissect. For that alone I have so much respect for this project and I will definitely listen to it a ton, wether my love will grow or shrink for it as time passes who knows, but at this moment I am satisfied and happy with this release. Some tracks will not get as listened to as others for me but the highs here are too high to pass up.
I think it's too long and has too much filler to be considered good. There are standouts (If You're Too Shy is a masterpiece), but they're buried beneath inconsequential instrumentals and boring songs that are far too mellow to be memorable. I give them props for the experiment, but probably a shorter and more cohesive album would've been much better
Overall I think I will give it a few more listens to see if another song jumps off on me, but it's not an album that's easy to listen to. Which is a shame, because when it's good it's really good
Best songs: If You're too Shy, Roadkill, Me & You Together Song, Guys, Then Because She Goes
I think maxjelbart said it best. It's sprawling and meandering. To my ears it tries to be stylistically adventurous for the sake of being adventurous. And the greta thurnberg intro really rubbed me the wrong way - not that I'm a climate denier or anything just the moral posturing / virtue signalling super set the wrong tone for me to enjoy this album.
But that said, there is a lot of good stuff on here and even the mediocre filler material was okay and good to put on as background music. If it were trimmed down to a 40 minute album I could see myself getting a lot more into it and giving it more repeat listens.... but I'll probably give it a couple more listens to see if anything jumps out at me and then revisit various individual tracks I enjoyed in the future.
Man, this is gonna take a long time for me to wrap my head around. I don't find this album to have any natural flow on first listen. However, there are so many songs I'm going to play the shit out of over the next few months. Really excited to see how this grows on me.
it's one big, fantastic mess. but it's damn near impossible not to admire this. the 1975 aren't concise, and that's never been clearer than here. sure, there are detours here that might not work for everyone - but the sum total of these 22 tracks is so big, so brash, so confident and so toe-curlingly confessional that it kinda works.
i really like that it's not concerned with being internally consistent or too big of a meal to gorge on. it's its own worst critic. matty has such bright, incredible flashes of brilliance here. by and large, the singles are really strong. and man the production is damn-near perfect.