by Rose Bostwick
After multiple setbacks and an aesthetic makeover, The 1975 released their much-awaited—and pretentiously-titled—sophomore album, I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it on Feb. 27.
At around 74 minutes, the album is about as unnecessarily long as its title, which is apparently a line that frontman Matty Healy actually once said to a girlfriend. Unlike its predecessor album The 1975, which was standard alternative pop with somewhat emo lyrics, I like it… has a sprawling mix of influences from Peter Gabriel to A$AP Rocky and features multiple lengthy ambient tracks.
Much of the album’s appeal can be attributed to Healy, who in one song describes himself as “a sycophantic, prophetic, Socratic junkie wannabe.” He is self-conscious, arrogant, pretentious, and witty, and his lyrics reflect this. In the album’s first single “Love Me,” he sings, “You’ve been reading about yourself / On a plane, fame for a change / Caught up in fashion / Karcrashian panache,” which are fun, albeit ridiculous, lines centering around the pitfalls of fame, one of the band’s favorite topics.
After a hiatus from social media, the band returned to reveal a revamped aesthetic, swapping out the black-and-white theme of their debut album for neon lights, flowers, guyliner, and the color pink. The 1975’s aesthetic is almost as much a part of the band as the music itself: it is a recognizable trademark for their merchandise, social media, and music videos, as well as an identifier of the album. Indeed, the change was fitting to their change in sound.
Some of the best parts of the album are showcased on the third single “UGH!,” a brilliant song about Healy’s cocaine addiction. Despite having a somewhat dark theme, the song works without coming off as self-pitying or overly wordy, and is instead a catchy 80’s inspired-tune with the chorus “And you’re the only thing going on in my mind / Taking over my life a second time.”
Although it is somewhat of an overreaching mess that includes radio-friendly One Direction-esque songs such as “The Sound” and “She’s American” as well as rambling six-minute long ambient songs like the title track, it’s no surprise I like it… was an instant success. Having debuted at number one in both the United Kingdom and the United States, it is sure to be one of the most creative and awesome pop albums of the year.
Highlights: UGH!, A Change of Heart, The Sound, The Ballad of Me and My Brain