The 1975 are one of the most popular indie rock bands at the moment. The British band started in 2002 with the same members: Matthew Healy (vocals/rhythm guitar), Adam Hann (lead guitar), Ross MacDonald (bass) and George Daniel (drums/backing vocals). The 1975 are famous for their genre-bending albums and their great songwriting. While not everyone loves or understands them, it goes without a doubt that they are succeeding in the music world. Maybe it’s that many people cannot put a finger on what makes The 1975 so unique. They are prominent in the media, almost mainstream, and yet, even the most anti-mainstream indie fans can fall in love with them. In the end, people expect indie to be different, almost shockingly so, and that, The 1975 can deliver. With 22 songs, Notes On A Conditional Form has many standouts and highlights, but every song is special in its own way.
Every album from their debut album, The 1975, to this one starts with the same song, “The 1975.” The lyrics never change, just the style of the song—sometimes more electric, sometimes more focused on a piano. With Notes On A Conditional Form, The 1975 changed the track once again. This time, Healy leaves the stage to another revolutionary person, Greta Thunberg. The famous climate activist whispers the lyrics in the beginning in Swedish, her native language. She then goes into an inspiring speech about the importance of change, a change for a better future for the climate and the world. Changing a fan-favorite tradition so Thunberg can speak deserves respect from the fans and general audience.
With their second song, “People,” the band shows a more hardcore/aggressive side. The lyrics sum up the frustration many millennials have, and Generation Z’s experience on pretty much a daily basis. Missing Obama, delivery services, legal marijuana, and the fear of global warming all find a place in the track. It is an excellent start to a promising album, especially after the opener. On another note, the band proves to listeners that lyrics aren’t everything with wonderful instrumental songs, “The End (Music for Cars)” and “Streaming.” Both are very much nature bound and impress with the orchestra.
“Frail State of Mind” and it’s electro-pop sounds are reminiscent of many modern DJs. Like so many times before, the song sounds fun and warm, but the lyrics are a harsh contrast. This style got perfected by The Cure and lives beautifully in The 1975. “The Birthday Party” surprises because it almost sounds a little bit like modern country. This is mostly due to the banjo in the song. Again, the song represents so much what the band is known for—the brutally honest lyrics about relationships and mental health, while having such a peaceful melody. It’s what makes The 1975 unforgettable.
Beats from “Yeah I Know,” “Having No Head” and “What Should I Say” are so electric. On a softer note, “Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America” introduces many folk elements. As the title suggests, the song is mainly about religion and atheism. On the track, Phoebe Bridgers, an indie rock musician, supports the band, and the song turns into a magical duet. Bridgers is also featured on “Roadkill” and “Playing on my Mind.” “Me You Together” takes the audience back to the early days of The 1975 all the way to IV EP. Another highlight on Notes On A Conditional Form is the previously released “ If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know).” The band actually explains the lyrics themselves on genius.com, and it is expected that many fans can relate to one or two lines in the song. “Guys” is another standout song, a beautiful ode to the band’s friendship.
In the end, it is no surprise that The 1975 delivered an amazing album. Honestly, it’s astonishing how fast a 22-song album can be over; people will find themselves hitting repeat.