The 1975 – Milano – 26 febbraio 2021
The 1975 are an English pop rock band originally formed in 2002 in Wilmslow, Cheshire. Now based in Manchester, the band consists of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Matthew Healy, lead guitarist Adam Hann, bassist Ross MacDonald, and drummer George Daniel.
The band's origins trace to their attendance at Wilmslow High School and playing together as teenagers. Gigs organised by a council worker led the band to formally sign with Dirty Hit and Polydor Records. The band opened for several major acts and released a series of extended plays (Facedown, Sex, Music for Cars, IV) throughout 2012 before releasing their self-titled debut album (2013), which included the popular singles "Sex", "Chocolate", and "Robbers" reaching number one in the United Kingdom.
Their second album, I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it (2016), reached No. 1 in the US and UK. Following the touring cycle for the record, the band announced their third album under the working title of Music for Cars, before going on hiatus again throughout 2017.
Returning in 2018, the band announced that the album had evolved into their third campaign cycle, consisting of their third and fourth studio albums. The first, A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships (2018), was released to critical praise, and became their third No. 1 album in the UK. The second, Notes on a Conditional Form, is set to be released in February 2020.
Matthew Healy, the son of actors Denise Welch and Tim Healy, grew up in Newcastle and Cheshire. He met Ross MacDonald, Adam Hann and George Daniel at Wilmslow High School in Wilmslow in 2002; as teenagers they played together. The band formed when the local council worker organised numerous gigs for teens. Healy found Hann who "came up to [him] and said he wanted to play one of these shows." The band began playing covers until they "eventually wrote a song", according to Healy. "We started from then and we've been making music together since we were about 15." After Hann invited the members to form a band, they passed their early days covering punk songs in a local club. Healy was originally the drummer but took over vocals after the previous singer left to start another band. George Daniel was recruited as the new drummer to complete the final line-up.
The band formerly performed under the names Me; and You Versus Them, Forever Drawing Six, Talkhouse, the Slowdown, Bigsleep, and Drive Like I Do, before settling on "The 1975". Healy recounts that the name was inspired by scribblings found on the backpage of the book On The Road by Jack Kerouac that stated "1 June, The 1975".
It was recorded with Arctic Monkeys collaborator Mike Crossey. Between Autumn 2012 and Spring 2013, during which time the album was recorded, the band released four EPs. They toured to support and build momentum for the album, including numerous gigs and special appearances with other artists.
The album received positive reviews from critics, and topped the UK Albums Chart on 8 September. As of March 2016, it had sold 410,981 copies in the UK, and 390,000 copies in the US.
The release of the band's first EP, titled Facedown, in August 2012 saw the band's first UK airplay on national radio with lead track "The City", which was also featured as part of a BBC Introducing show with Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1. The 1975 once again garnered national radio attention in late 2012, with BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe championing their single "Sex" from the eponymous EP, which was released on 19 November. They embarked on a United Kingdom and Ireland tour extended into early 2013, before beginning a US tour in Spring 2014. Upon the release of Music for Cars on 4 March 2013, the 1975 found mainstream chart success with "Chocolate", reaching number 19 in the UK Singles Chart. On 20 May 2013 the band released IV, which included a new version of "The City". The track charted in UK and received airplay in several other countries.
The 1975 toured extensively to support releases and to build hype before releasing their debut. The band supported Muse on the second leg of The 2nd Law World Tour at the Emirates Stadium in London on 26 May 2013. They also toured with the Neighbourhood in the United States in June 2013, and supported the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park on 13 July. In August, the band performed on the Festival Republic Stage at 2013 Reading and Leeds Festivals.
In a feature article, Elliot Mitchell of When the Gramophone Rings wrote that releasing a string of EPs before the debut album was "a move that he deemed necessary to provide context to the band's broad sound, rather than just building up with singles alone." Matthew Healy said, "We wouldn't have been able to release the album without putting out the EP's first, as we wanted to make sure we could express ourselves properly before dropping this long, ambitious debut record on people."
Their self-titled debut, The 1975, was released on 2 September 2013, co-produced by Mike Crossey, known for his work with Arctic Monkeys and Foals. The 1975 were selling out shows even before the debut of their full length as Healy recalls in an interview with The AU Review. The lead single is a re-worked "Sex", which was released on 26 August 2013. The song premiered on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show on 8 July 2013, and a music video premiered on YouTube on 26 July. The 1975 debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart.
The 1975 toured in the UK in September 2013, among others performing in Kingston upon Hull as headliners at Freedom Festival, a celebration of the city's shortlisting for 2017 UK City of Culture designation, and at iTunes Festival on 8 September as an opening act for indie electronic quartet Bastille. The band undertook a North American tour in October, a European for November, and in January 2014 the band performed in New Zealand and Australia. In September 2013, the band performed three sold-out shows at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire. In April 2014, the band performed for the first time in a major American music and arts festival: Coachella. The band played at Royal Albert Hall the same month. In May, the band's recorded output was distributed digitally while they were touring North America. Healy noted that the band had recording scheduled in Q2 2015.
On 1 June 2015, the band's social accounts were terminated, which caused intense speculation. A comic strip was posted on Healy's Twitter a day prior but is now on their manager, Jamie Oborne's account, which suggested the band's break-up. The next day, the accounts were reinstated, but the cover images and profile photos were white and light pink, instead of the usual black and white, revealing it to be a publicity stunt.
On 8 October, the band announced their second album, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It. They premiered the lead single, "Love Me", simultaneously scheduling a support tour in Europe, North America, and Asia. They premiered the second single, "UGH!", on 10 December on Beats 1. The album's third single, "The Sound" debuted on BBC Radio 1 on 14 January 2016. The 1975 released the fourth single "Somebody Else" on 15 February on Beats 1 before the album's release. "A Change of Heart" premiered on Radio 1 on 22 February, four days prior to the album's release.
NME, who had previously been critical of the band, also praised the album for its scope and ambition, writing that "Any record that burrows as deep into your psyche as ‘I Like It…' should be considered essential. It's hugely clever and wryly funny, too. Although music journalist Alexis Petridis noted that parts of the album were over-ambitious, he went on to claim that incredibly, though, most of the time Healy gets away with it. That's sometimes because his observations are sharp – as a skewering of celebrity squad culture, "you look famous, let's be friends / And portray we possess something important / And do the things we like" is pretty acute – but more usually because they come loaded with witty self-awareness and deprecation: the endless depictions of vacuous, coke-numbed girls he has met would get wearying were it not for the fact that he keeps turning the lyrical crosshair on himself. In a more mixed review, Rolling Stone criticised tracks like 'Lostmyhead' and 'Please Be Naked' for being 'boring-melty' but praised songs such as 'Somebody Else', 'Loving Someone' and 'Love Me'.
The album was released on 26 February and topped the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200. The band released a free download of "How to Draw" on Twitter and through Target Exclusive. It was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize.
On November 2016, member George Daniel teased the band's third album by releasing a video on his Instagram account captioned "2018", containing snippets of audio along with Healy playing the keyboards.
On 3 April 2017, Healy tweeted "I like it when you sleep is coming to an end" (sic) before following up with "Music for Cars", which shares the name of their third extended play. In March 2017, the band confirmed that two songs for the new album have already been written. In June, Healy also confirmed that Drive Like I Do, one of the 1975's prior incarnations, will release a debut album as a side project 'in a few years'.
In November, Healy teased the release of an EP within 2017. Besides being confirmed, the EP was delayed to 2018, with Oborne stating that "something" would be released instead; the band's debut live album, DH00278. He also confirmed that no singles from Music for Cars will be released in 2017, with the band confirming that something will be released on 1 June 2018.
In March 2018, the band deleted many media posts across their accounts going back to July 2017, during their final show at Latitude Festival for I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It. On 22 April 2018, in response to a fan comment on Twitter, Oborne stated that their second album's campaign would remain for "a few more days". At the end of April, cryptic posters titled "Music for Cars" appeared in London and Manchester, containing taglines and a Dirty Hit catalogue number, DH00327, amongst a black background. Various billboards were also spotted in the United Kingdom, having used détournement to apply themselves over existing advertisements.
The band updated their website to display a timer counting down towards 1 June at the beginning of May 2018, becoming active again on social media. Within its first hours, it was revealed to contain a hidden zip file with four individual posters, each of the names leading to a hidden page on the website that displayed a conversation between a 'human' and a 'machine'. Over social media, the band frequently released different posters, all titled "A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships". On 31 May 2018, the band released the single "Give Yourself a Try", after premiering as Annie Mac's "Hottest Record in the World" on BBC Radio 1 that same day.
The album garnered almost universal praise from critics. According to review aggregator Metacritic, the album has received a weighted score of 83 based on 29 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". Ryan Dombal of Pitchfork gave the album a score of 8.5, earning it the Best New Music tag, and called it "outrageous and eclectic", as well as "similar to its predecessor in its boundless sense of style, swerving from Afrobeats to brushed-snare jazz balladry to one track that sounds like a trap remix of a Bon Iver ayahuasca trip", but "more purposeful" than I Like It When You Sleep. Time considered it one of the Best Albums of 2018, placing it at number nine on their list.
However, Conrad Duncan writing for the same site gave the album a positive review, calling it "full of genuine heart, intelligence and wit". Popmatters criticized the album as bloated and inconsistent, stating "The band's reach exceeds their grasp here, and vocalist/band leader Matt Healy's indulgences are often more tiresome than charming", while still praising it as "fascinating".
Healy, in an interview for Beats 1, stated that "Music for Cars" is an era to release music, after renaming Music for Cars to A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. It released in November 2018, and Notes on a Conditional Form, which was supposed to be released before Reading and Leeds 2019, is now slated for release on 21 February 2020, with the lead single "People" supposedly dropping on 22 August 2019. The band headlined Radio 1's Big Weekend in Stewart Park, Middlesbrough on 26 May 2019. On 24 July 2019, the opening song of Notes on a Conditional Form, entitled "The 1975", was released. Announced by a countdown on social media, the second single, entitled "People" released on 22 August 2019. A third single titled, Frail State of Mind was released on 24 October.
The 1975 has been classified as a pop rock band. Scott Kerr of AllMusic wrote that the band combined "the dark and youthful themes of sex, love, and fear with ethereal alt-rock music." Healy specifically cites Talking Heads, My Bloody Valentine, and Michael Jackson as musical influences; he states that his greatest influence is the oeuvre of filmmaker John Hughes. For their second album, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It, Healy cited D'Angelo, Roberta Flack, Boards of Canada and Sigur Rós as inspirations, saying that they're "a post-modern pop band that references a million things. I don't even know what my band is half the time." Their "melancholic" black and white visual aesthetic is juxtaposed with major keys and what the band calls "classic pop sensibilities." Critics at Pitchfork have favourably compared them to the Big Pink. Sex EP was described by Paste as "equal parts ethereal and synth pop", with "haunting" and "smooth" vocals. Their "mellow", stripped down style was praised for its lack of "attention-grabbing production theatrics."
The 1975 has been described as electropop, funk rock, indie pop, indie rock, pop, pop rock and rock. I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It has been described as indie rock and pop.
Healy has stated that their influence is "heavily rooted" in Black American music.
Public reaction to the band's music has been mixed, particularly on social media platforms like Twitter, "perhaps the last public space for unfettered music criticism in an increasingly anti-critical landscape", according to Vice magazine's Larry Fitzmaurice in 2016. In an essay on the critical response, he said they have been "the Most Hated and Loved Band in the World" and described "as underrated and overhyped, although the needle has far more often swung towards the former direction". Veteran rock critic Robert Christgau said he thinks "they suck" and should not be called a "rock band" as they do not "rock". In Fitzmaurice's opinion, the band's debut album was mainly a straightforward rock album recorded "with a soft-focus and especially British sensibility", while I Like It When You Sleep was only rock music in the loosest sense of the word. Overall, he said their music is pop "in the realm of Alternative", most comparable to INXS.
Session and touring musicians