The 1975, a British alternative rock band, are back with their fifth studio album, “Being Funny In A Foreign Language”. Containing 11 songs, this disc features 43 minutes and 32 seconds of sweeping vocal and instrumental techniques, driving intense emotions and deep themes in their satirical lyrics.
The band stick to tradition and open their record with a track called “The 1975” – this name was given to the opening track of their five albums. The opener is a fast-paced, piano-driven song that comments on the struggles of growing up and figuring out how to handle modern life.
“You make an aesthetic by not doing well and extracting all the pieces of yourself that you think you can sell,” is an acknowledgment of the degrading impact that social media can have on people, especially young audiences.
Likewise, “Looking For Somebody (To Love)” initially sounds like an 80s-inspired track that’s light and fun. However, upon closer listening, it’s clear that the lyrics reference how school shootings are an unfortunate constant when living in America.
“A supreme gentleman with a gun in his hand looking for someone to love” is certainly a discordant phrase to hear while enjoying the happy-sounding song, but it represents how the band tries to uncover vindication or the reasoning behind common and pressing issues. like gun violence.
Disguising real-world issues in lyrical banter or catchy tunes is an essential part of what this band is known for, and this album has no shortage of that.
There are, however, several simple and straightforward leads, most of which relate to love. “Oh Caroline”, “I’m In Love With You” and “Happiness” are all upbeat and uplifting songs that exemplify the giddy often felt at the start of a relationship.
If you want an artist who churns out happy love songs and then abruptly turns around to sing about deep-rooted societal issues, The 1975 is pretty much the poster child for that across their five albums. This juxtaposition in their records is what makes them so special and continues to attract listeners at every stage of their career.
Throughout the album, there are tracks that reference the band’s past albums and songs, or just sound very similar to them. “Happiness” opens with a hook that sounds like a softer version of The 1975’s old song, “Love Me.”
Some may at first think that similar production and vocal sounds can get repetitive or boring, but even after five studio albums, the songs never seem too similar or overused. Whenever the band reuses aspects of past tracks, it is done to deliberately get the listener to think about the message of the sampled song.
Despite some subtle repeated production techniques and similar instrumental patterns, “Being Funny In A Foreign Language” does not disappoint and the band still produces a refreshingly unique sound.
“All I Need To Hear”, the album’s first slow track, still carries the record’s lingering love theme, but its overall production deviates from the rest. The vocals are raw and loving, but the soft piano, violin and drums add heaviness to the song, creating an almost nostalgic feeling of loneliness.
Likewise, the slow, sensitive sound is apparent in the album’s ninth track, “Human Too”. With lyrics like “I’m someone I wish I could change”, this track focuses on the natural human act of making mistakes.
The record’s slower ballads add another level of authenticity to the album that is difficult to create with more upbeat, danceable songs. These two heartfelt tracks remind the listener that feelings of longing, agony, grief, and pain can surface at any time, but that doesn’t mean emotions are inherently bad.
Additionally, the band challenges its listeners to have empathy, not just for others, but also for themselves — “don’t you know I’m human too?” Do you know you’re human too? Honey, that’s what humans do.
The penultimate track, “About you”, would be a continuation of the most popular song of 1975, “Robbers”. “About You” is a fan favorite due to its nostalgic feeling, resulting from transcendent instrumentals and hazy, euphoric vocal performance.
Combining themes and tones from their previous four albums, The 1975 masterfully construct an album that balances their familiar sound with satirical, thought-provoking lyrics that captivate fans and new listeners alike.
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars