The 1975 strikes again with their most sincere, hopeful album yet


Photo by Samuel Bradley

Emma Caires

The 1975, a British alternative-rock band, is back with their fifth studio album, “Being Funny In A Foreign Language.” Containing 11 songs, this record is packed with 43 minutes and 32 seconds of wide-ranging vocal and instrumental techniques, resulting in intense emotions and deep themes within their satirical lyrics. 

The band sticks to tradition and opens their record with a track titled “The 1975” — this name has been given to the opening track on all five of their albums. The opener is a fast-paced, piano-focused song that commentates on the struggles of growing up and figuring out how to manage modern-day life. 

“You’re makin’ an aesthetic out of not doin’ well and mining all the bits of you you think you can sell,” is an acknowledgment to the degrading impact social media can have on people, specifically young audiences.

Similarly, “Looking For Somebody (To Love)” initially sounds like a light-hearted and fun ’80s inspired track. However, on a closer listen, it is clear that the lyrics are referring to how school shootings are an unfortunate constant when living in America.

“A supreme gentleman with a gun in his hand looking for somebody to love,” is certainly a  jarring line to hear while enjoying the cheerful-sounding song, but it represents how the band tries to uncover the justification or reasoning behind prevalent and pressing issues such as gun violence. 

Disguising real-world matters in lyrical banter or catchy tunes is a staple of what this band is known for, and this album does not fall short.

There are, however, several tracks that are straightforward and to the point — most of which are about love. “Oh Caroline,” “I’m In Love With You” and “Happiness” are all upbeat, captivating songs that illustrate the giddy feeling often felt at the beginning of a relationship.

If you want an artist that produces happy love songs then abruptly turns around to sing about deeply-rooted societal problems, The 1975 is practically the poster child for this throughout all five of their albums. This juxtaposition in their records is what makes them so special and continues to draw listeners back in at every stage of their career. 

Throughout the album, there are bits and pieces that reference, or simply sound very similar to, the band’s past albums and songs. “Happiness” opens with a hook that sounds like a softer version of The 1975’s older song, “Love Me.”

Some may initially think similar production and vocal sounds may get repetitive or boring, but even after five studio albums, the songs never strike as too similar or overused. Anytime the band re-uses aspects of past tracks, it is done to purposefully draw the listener to reflect on the message of whichever song is being sampled. 

Despite some subtle repeated production techniques and similar-sounding instrumental patterns, “Being Funny In A Foreign Language” does not disappoint and the band still produces a refreshing, unique sound. 

“All I Need To Hear,” the first slow song on the album, still carries the record’s persistent theme of love, but its overall production strays from the rest. The vocals are raw and loving, but the soft piano, violin and drums add a heaviness to the song — creating an almost longing, lonely feeling. 

Similarly, the slow, sensitive sound is apparent in the album’s ninth track, “Human Too.” With lyrics like “I’m someone that I wish I could change,” this track focuses on the natural human act of making mistakes. 

The slower ballads on the record add another level of authenticity to the album that is hard to create with more upbeat, danceable songs. These two heartfelt tracks remind the listener that feelings of longing, agony, heartache and pain can surface at any time, but that does not mean the emotions are inherently bad.

Additionally, the band challenges its listeners to have empathy, not only toward others, but also toward themselves — “don’t you know that I’m a human too? You know that you’re a human too? Darling, that’s what humans do.” 

The penultimate track, “About you” is said to be a continuation of The 1975’s most popular song, “Robbers.” “About You” is a fan favorite because of its nostalgic feeling, resulting from transcendent instruments and a hazy, euphoric vocal performance.

By combining themes and tones from their four previous albums, The 1975 masterfully constructs an album that balances their familiar sound with satirical and thought-provoking lyrics that entrances both fans and first-time listeners. 

Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars