In most ways, 2023 has been a fairly standard “off” year for The 1975 – bustling tour and festival itinerary, clearing out the archives, simultaneously hinting at future projects and possibly never making a record again, gossip about Matty Healy’s latest substance issues and/or celebrity hookup, and of course, Healy making a whole bunch of unforced errors in his interviews. But as a man who can probably now relate to Healy once said, “bigmouth strikes again” – and due to his inexplicable and indefensible rants about race, pornography, Ice Spice, and Malaysian law (amongst others), many feel that Healy has no right to take his place in the human race. To put things into perspective, this guy was linked to Taylor Swift in 2023 and still hd the single worst year of his career.
Needless to say, The 1975 could seriously use an infusion of goodwill before they begin the latest leg of the ‘At Their Very Best’ tour. In the past, that typically meant “Matty Healy doing absolutely nothing at all,” and indeed, last week gave us an opportunity to celebrate the 10th anniversary of The 1975’s debut (alongside the release of Live At The Gorilla, an end-to-end run through The 1975).
People who later came to appreciate The 1975’s more artful and ambitious records see the debut as a Pablo Honey, Adrenaline, or I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love – an album whose success created a platform for greater triumphs but is only worth revisiting purely for nostalgia or historical context. For others, it’s more like Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not or Hot Fuss, a veritable Greatest Hits that the band never topped because getting more artful and ambitious worked against their true strengths.
Thanks to two solid years of priming the pump with a handful of EPs, stylish videos, and Tumblr-native hype, the success of The 1975 felt preordained. But, despite having self-explanatory song titles like “Sex,” “Chocolate,” “Girls,” “The City,” and “M.O.N.E.Y.,” The 1975 had an air of seeing themselves as important. Both would come to pass and in the time since, The 1975 have held a vast number of seemingly contradictory reputations in the public eye.
I can assure you that some people I’ve worked with viewed The 1975 as the single worst band to come around in their lifetime – this is a bit of a paraphrase, but not an exaggeration. Though the same four guys in the band today have been playing together since 2002, they were viewed as an industry plant and (not wrongly) nepo babies, an obnoxiously handsome bunch of himbos with an obnoxious single called “Sex” that sounded like the first stirrings of the Emo Nite cottage industry. I’ve seen The 1975 described as a band purely for critics and also a band purely for teenage girls on Tumblr, long before former Tumblr obsessives became critics themselves. NME named them “Worst Band in the World” in 2014 and picked I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It as their 2016 Album of the Year. They’ve viewed themselves in the lineage of art-pop auteurs like Scritti Politti and Kate Bush, though their most obvious impact can be found in mid-2010s boy band aesthetics. Their attempt at an all-encompassing generational and political anthem was explicitly modeled after The Blue Nile’s “The Downtown Lights” but was most often compared to “We Didn’t Start the Fire”; it ended up as Pitchfork’s No. 1 song of 2018.
Full disclosure, I really wish my procrastination didn’t get the better of me and I stuck with the plan of putting this list together for the release of Being Funny In A Foreign Language last fall. The timing isn’t great here, and in no way is it meant as an excuse or condoning of Healy going off the rails. But as someone who stumped for The 1975 as a 33-year old dude, I’m already used to equivocating on behalf of this band – one that’s put together a fascinating and flawed catalog that could easily spawn dozens of similar lists with 30 completely different songs than the ones listed below.
BONUS: Beabadoobee, “Pictures Of Us” [from Fake it Flowers, 2022]
The 1975 talk a good game when it comes to emo – they posted a clip of practicing “Never Meant” during their most recent tour, Matty Healy shouts out The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die in interviews, and puts real head revival bands like Oliver Houston and The End of Summer on his playlists. They’ll have my undying allegiance for these things alone and yet…where is the emo in actual 1975 songs? Well, maybe that’s what we can expect from the long-rumored Drive Like I Do album (which, like Music For Cars, appears to be forever in limbo), because “Pictures Of Us” was essentially a finished composition before Healy offered it to his Dirty Hit protege Beabadoobee; though Bea altered some of the lyrics, the American Football-style guitar remains, giving a brief and infuriatingly beautiful tease of what The 1975 could be if they really did back up their talk of carrying themselves like a “small emo band.”
30. “Me” [from Music For Cars EP, 2013]
What a better place to start than a song whose title reveals what would become Matty Healy’s most valuable muse? The thing is, “Me” isn’t really about Matty Healy, or at least he’s not the narrator; rather, this vaporous and vicious deep cut from their final introductory EP puts his father at the forefront, excoriating himself for his infidelity, drug abuse, and guilt for not being the man he thinks he ought to. Of course, Healy would turn these exact same things inward for the next decade, but in 2013, “Me” hinted at an emotional complexity that few outside of The 1975’s burgeoning cult could foresee at the time. Great Owen cover too.
Top Healy-ism – “I’m sorry but I’d rather be getting high / Than watch my family die”
29. “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)” [from Notes On A Conditional Form, 2020]
Kate Bush this, Blue Nile that…when will the kids of today recognize Go West as an 80s art-pop icon worthy of tribute? Yes, The 1975 have made plenty of songs that are fairly overt homages to the former two, and yes, “The King Of Wishful Thinking” — quite clearly the model for “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)” — technically dropped in 1990 (credit to my Indiecast cohost Steven Hyden for pioneering this comparison). All the same, I heard “The King Of Wishful Thinking” all the goddamn time on the radio back in 1990 and never heard “Hounds Of Love” or “The Downtown Lights” until I got to college, so credit where it’s due to The 1975 for remembering George H.W. Bush-era pop as accurately as possible…minus the lyrics about getting naked on FaceTime and all.
Top Healy-ism – “I’ve been wearing nothing every time I call you / And I’m starting to feel weird about it”
28. “Talk!” [from The 1975, 2013]
Whether it’s due to his status as Charli XCX arm candy or Dirty Hit house producer, George Daniel is, by a large margin, the second-most recognizable member of The 1975 (and by a massive distance). And so then, let’s give the drummer some love – on a record notorious for leaning into straightforward verse-chorus structure, “Talk!” gracefully navigates figure eights, revealing a percussive intricacy that would become a 1975 signature once Daniel was given more leeway.
Top Healy-ism – “I think you’re trying too hard with your lungs in tar / And your kitchen full of pop stars”
27. “Loving Someone” [from I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, 2016]
In order for me to truly love a band, to be all in on them enough to make a list of this sort…I need some kind of shittiness. Death Cab had it, Bright Eyes had it, Smashing Pumpkins had it, Jimmy Eat World had it, Deftones had it, i.e. art that allows occasional space for puerile, juvenile emotions, highly unfashionable influences, and, thusly, a period of time where they were truly reviled by critics. I prefer a high wire act to mastery – within every great song should be some faint outline of a shadow version where it’s just absolutely terrible. The 1975? Absolutely shitty, and in order to honor this, we need to honor their greatest shitty song, the evil twin of “Somebody Else” that’s only the bridge, expanded to four minutes. Over garish, pitched-up vocal samples, Healy half-raps bars as preachy and self-satisfied as a J. Cole track, excoriating a society that makes him a profitable sex symbol instead of…I dunno, taking him seriously as an intellectual. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s Healy’s favorite 1975 song, an absolutely ridiculous endeavor that no one else besides him could possibly make. It’s so committed to the bit, so unafraid of its own shittiness, that I’d be a hypocrite not to admire it.
Top Healy-ism – “I’m the Greek economy of cashing intellectual cheques”
26. “Shiny Collarbone” [from Notes On A Conditional Form, 2020]
Putting together lists like these is an inherently trivial pursuit, and requires decision-making that’s impossible to justify through objective metrics. And so here we have “Shiny Collarbone,” a lovingly derivative UKG interlude buried deep within the second half of the mammoth Notes On A Conditional Form, an album that all but admits to its own filler (witness the instrumental called “Streaming”). They will never play this song live and it’s sandwiched between two of this album’s fan favorites. And yet, “Shiny Collarbone” resulted in the heretofore unfathomable image of Cutty Ranks getting The 1975 royalty checks for the rest of his life after he was called into the studio to redo a nearly 30-year-old a cappella.
Top Healy-ism – “We wanted to reference garage. But if you use a real garage sample it’s almost comical now as it’s so of a time. We found a sample in the Dancehall world with Cutty Ranks. We reached out to him to license the sample and he said ‘nah fuck licensing, I’ll rerecord it for you.’ So that’s what we did.” [Matty Healy explaining the unlikely collaboration in a Spotify interview]
25. “The 1975” [from Being Funny In A Foreign Language, 2022]
Surely there have been bands who’ve dreamed of writing an “All My Friends” for their generation (LCD Soundsystem version, not Counting Crows, though I would not mind the latter at all). None had the grandiosity or delusion or clout or the combination thereof to actually rewrite “All My Friends” for their generation, as The 1975 did on their fourth go at an eponymous track (if nothing else, the five-minute Greta Thunberg monologue from Notes On A Conditional Form opened up endless possibilities for “The 1975” going forward after “go down, soft sound” ran its course). “I’m sorry if you’re living and you’re 17,” Healy sighs, resigned to being a bard for his fanbase with no real memories of the crate digging, house parties, or even the dulled but stable existence of adulthood that James Murphy commemorated. Just instantaneous nostalgia for the good ol’ days that never were.
Top Healy-ism – “I’m feelin’ apathetic after scrolling through hell / I think I’ve got a boner, but I can’t really tell”
24. “Girls” [from The 1975, 2013]
Lately, I’ve come to recognize that the soundtrack of fast fashion clothing stores and fast-casual restaurants alike has shifted towards “mid-to-late 2010s pop music,” filled with familiar names and their “wait, that’s what they sound like?” pivots. For example, within the span of 20 minutes of mini golf last weekend, I heard 5 Seconds Of Summer and The Jonas Brothers, in their respective phase where they each got their shit blown back by The 1975’s first album. Specifically, “Girls” – at the time, a funk-pop trifle, but soon revealed as perhaps their most influential song, a way for former boy bands to hone a little edge without getting too abrasive for their Clear Channel neighbors.
Top Healy-ism – “I know you’re looking for salvation in the secular age / But, girl, I’m not your saviour”
23. “Guys” [from Notes On A Conditional Form, 2020]
The 1975 are very self-conscious about presenting themselves as a band rather than “Matty Healy and the other guys” and they earmark at least 10 minutes per album for outright filler. So I’m frankly shocked we haven’t seen the requisite “the other guy sings” filler tracks by this point. Instead, the closest we get is “Guys,” not a cheeky follow-up to “Girls,” but rather its polar opposite, a cuddly power ballad about how the other guys in The 1975 and how much Matty Healy loves them.
Top Healy-ism – “The first time we went to Japan / was the best thing that ever happened”
22. “Menswear” [from The 1975, 2013]
Not since Death Cab For Cutie’s “Company Calls Epilogue” has there been such a rich recollection of an indie star to-be getting hammered and fucking up his friend’s wedding. That alone would merit the inclusion of “Menswear” on this list, but extra credit for the chutzpah of provoking memories to the sort of flash-in-the-pan NME band that most people probably saw as a proper comparison for The 1975 in 2013 (I would also not be surprised if Matty Healy had written a song called “Gay Dad”).
Top Healy-ism – “Free bar, that’s the point / Spilling Amaretto ’cause of previous joints”
21. “This Must Be My Dream” [from I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, 2016]
M83 and The 1975 haven’t made a track together yet? This seems impossible. Or at least illogical. Maybe Anthony Gonzalez really was committed to sustaining a cult audience after “Midnight City,” otherwise “This Must Be My Dream” sounds like the exact sort of thing that could’ve turned Junk into platinum.
Top Healy-ism – “I personify the ‘adolescent on a phone’ / Speaking like I’m bigger than my body”
20. “Looking For Somebody to Love” [from Being Funny In A Foreign Language, 2022]
In his more candid moments, Matty Healy all but admits that he’s curated the diverse, ultra-Zoomer roster of Dirty Hit as a hedge against his own guilt for being a white man in a rock band. Which makes him a natural, if somewhat ironic, fit with Jack Antonoff, a guy who humblebrags about his preference to work almost exclusively with women. Antonoff’s imprint appears most prominent on “Looking For Somebody To Love,” where The 1975 allow themselves to write what is essentially a Bleachers song – springy and lightly Springsteen-y, a sound clearly indebted to the Boss with enough self-awareness to avoid trying to be him.
Top Healy-ism – “I wanna show him he’s a bitch / I wanna fuck him up good / I wanna smash the competition, go and kill it like a man should”
19. “fallingforyou” [from DH00278 (Live From The O2, London. 16.12.16), 2017]
Though it was most likely put out into the world as pure content to bridge the gap between I Like It When You Sleep and the endless A Brief Inquiry album rollout, I’ll make the argument that 2017’s Live From The O2 is essential listening – not because The 1975 radically reshape their songs live, but rather, it catches them at a fascinating inflection point. By the end of 2016, they’re a pop sensation, but with a cult faction that screams with bloodthirst for their obscurities. There’s a sense that critics are at least starting to come around on The 1975, but it’s still in a “if you can’t beat ‘em…” sort of way, where their enduring popularity seems more worth taking seriously than their art-rock ambitions. But also, you’ll notice that midway through the setlist, most of the songs start bulging out to five and six minutes, nearly double their original length. And the end of 2016 finds The 1975 at a point where Matty Healy’s stage banter wasn’t something that could potentially end their career. Anyways, this is my favorite, since Healy spends about two minutes decrying modern concert etiquette (“If we can get every person in here just to be a fucking person for five minutes…the visceral memory of the next three and a half minutes will be better than a video on an iPhone”), and then, remembering this is being recorded for a live album, asks for more wine.
Top Healy-ism – “You said, ‘Oh no, it’s fine’ / I read between the lines and touched your leg again”
18. “I Like America & America Likes Me” [from A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, 2018]
You just can’t stop UK rock stars from trying to start a dialogue with hip-hop – from “The Magnificent Seven” to Primal Scream’s “Pills” to that one “dope, guns, fucking in the streets” Placebo song to Bring Me The Horizon chopping it up with Lil Uzi Vert to The 1975’s “I Like America And America Likes Me.” Maybe the Lil’ Peep shoutout on “Love It If We Made It” would’ve been enough, but never one to pass up the opportunity for a potentially disastrous genre experiment, The 1975 try their hand at actual SoundCloud mumble rap and somehow make arena-trap instead. The mushmouthed approach was all the better to muffle Healy’s intentions at making an anti-gun protest song. Witness the most trenchant line – “kids don’t want rifles, they want Supreme,” taken from a poster displayed at a 2018 March For Our Lives rally. Indeed, the poetry was in the streets.
Top Healy-ism – “Is that designer? / Is that on fire?”
17. “Love Me” [from I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, 2016]
Though the reputation of I Like It When You Sleep feels pretty secure at this point, let’s dial back to October 2015 when all we had to judge it on was its ridiculous title and “Love Me,” a song which took just about everything critics found distasteful about The 1975 and amplified in tenfold. You thought The 1975 were derivative the first time around? “Love Me” nicks the Isley Brothers and several David Bowie songs directly, and probably dozens of Prince and Duran Duran songs indirectly; most artists would see those artists as idols, The 1975 gingerly steal from them like they’re just borrowing flatware from understanding neighbors. The video makes obvious (if hilariously executed) swipes at mid-2010s selfie culture, of which The 1975 are willing participants. Like most of The 1975’s lead singles, it makes way more sense in the album’s context, but the most important thing about “Love Me” is how it recast The 1975 as the authors of their own narrative, making Matty Healy the butt and the teller of the joke. As a man once put it, The 1975 play both sides, that way they always win.
Top Healy-ism – “We’ve just come to represent / A decline in the standards of what we accept”
16. “About You” [from Being Funny In A Foreign Language, 2022]
There are very few genres The 1975 haven’t dabbled in and far too many that they haven’t explored deeply enough. As prior deep cuts like “Then She Goes” and “The Ballad of Me And My Brain” made clear, The 1975 could make the 2020’s finest shoegaze pop album if they really wanted to, or at least the first shoegaze album in recorded history where people quoted the lyrics. “About You” serves as their most compelling evidence yet, an unapologetically sweeping, weeping outlier on an album where The 1975 unconvincingly tried to shear away their sadness and excess.
Top Healy-ism – “We get married in our heads / Something to do while we try to recall how we met”
15. “Settle Down” [from The 1975, 2013]
Had “The 1975 At Their Very Best” been used for the tour supporting their first album, this is what we’d be talking about – hornier than they’d care to admit, not as smart as they think, and striking a sweet spot of pop-rock that hits on feelings that teens find aspirational, adults find slightly embarrassing, and everyone finds all too familiar.
Top Healy-ism – And you’re losing your words / We’re speaking in bodies / Avoiding me and talking about you”
14. “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME” [from A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, 2018]
The 1975’s previous inquiries into online relationships had never actually been brief and they usually ended up with Matty Healy sounding like a grump – both his stated musical influences and dim view of social media often felt frozen in the 20th century. But by their third album, they were at least willing to be more open-minded and contemporary, as evidenced by “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME,” a frothy, flirty take on de rigueur tropical pop suitable for the most fun Healy’s ever had obsessing over his own infidelities.
Top Healy-ism – “You pick a fight / and I’ll define it”
13. “Love It If We Made It” [from A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, 2018]
A personal aside – I had the chance to meet The 1975 when they played their first show in Los Angeles, a co-headlining gig with Bad Suns that went down about a month and a half before the release of their debut album. Just consider that for a moment…a decade ago, The 1975 were about on the level of Bad Suns.
Anyway, from what I can recall through the fog of time, their manager reached out to me before that show, saying the band was stoked that I had written about their 2012 Facedown EP for Pitchfork in a fairly positive way. Which is to say that, from the jump, The 1975 seemed to be the kind of band that very much cared what critics thought about them and that “Love It If We Made It” probably was written with the intention of nominating itself for Pitchfork’s No. 1 song of 2018. I go back and forth with this song – its doomscroll monologue may not capture “the Trump era” as accurately as Healy hoped, but it will always serve as a vivid reminder of what it was like to talk about music online in 2018.
Top Healy-ism – “Unrequited house with seven pools / thank you Kanye, very cool!”
12. “You” [from Sex EP, 2012]
Matty Healy has called himself a millennial that baby boomers can like, and lo and behold, here’s a song that The 1975 almost certainly wrote after seeing U2’s Live Aid performance of “Bad.”
Top Healy-ism – “And it’s so ironic/How it’s only been a year / And it’s not my fault / That I fucked everybody here”
11. “Somebody Else” [from I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, 2016]
If you had to guess the most popular 1975 song strictly from its placement in setlists, or its general prominence in their narrative or just vibes – basically, everything except its streaming numbers – what’s your choice? One of their brassy corporate rock pastiches, like “I’m In Love With You” or “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)”? A fan favorite from the debut, like “Sex” or “Chocolate”? Critical darlings like “Love It If We Made It” or “The Sound”? Would you guess “Somebody Else,” a mid-tempo electro ballad awash in muted neons, is the most popular 1975 song by over 300 million streams? Maybe a jilted Matty Healy is more relatable than “asshole Matty Healy” or “confused art-pop star Matty Healy.” Or, maybe “fuck that, get money” is that much fun to shout during the bridge.
Top Healy-ism – “I’m looking through you / While you’re looking through your phone / And then leaving with somebody else”
10. “Paris” [from I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, 2016]
A tribute to drugs, nostalgia, teenage visions of being a French artiste, and nostalgia for actually being a druggy artiste in France set to “Every Breath You Take”-style tell-tale guitar ticking, “Paris” is quite easily the saddest thing The 1975 has ever done. Keep in mind it’s followed immediately on I Like It When You Sleep by a song where Matty Healy mourns his dead grandmother.
Top Healy-ism – “There was a party that she had to miss / Because her friend kept cutting her wrists / Hyperpoliticized sexual trysts / ‘Oh, I think my boyfriend’s a nihilist’”
9. “Me & You Together Song” [from Notes On A Conditional Form, 2020]
Sometimes, the people I know who loathe The 1975 accidentally come up with the best endorsements from them. For example, I distinctly recall hearing this song described as “Third Eye Blind covering Ride’s ‘Vapour Trail,’” which is to say that filters shoegaze at its most bombastic through the prism of a charismatic, completely full-of-shit drug addict, who can’t resist turning all of his ramblings into something that could sweet talk its way into a sitcom soundtrack. Brilliant, right?
Top Healy-ism – “We went to Winter Wonderland / and it was shit, but we were happy”
8. “I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It” [from I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, 2016]
One thing I share in common with people who despise The 1975 is a desire to hear what would happen if Matty Healy blew out his vocal cords and/or went into hiding for two years and they just made an instrumental album. That’s assuming Healy has nothing to do with the electronic odysseys that padded out every self-consciously epic album between The 1975 and Being Funny In A Foreign Language, such as the title track from I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It; but I’ve seen them play this one live and vaguely recall Healy hunched over some synthesizers, so credit where it’s due. But if you take away the accrued “The 1975” baggage, “I Like It When You Sleep” actually could pass for a track title from múm or Lali Puna or any of the other Morr Music bands from which it liberally pulls and creates an entirely new genre of laser-light lap-pop.
Top Healy-ism – “Early, early, monogamy, there isn’t much” [not a lot of great options here, to be honest]
7. “Give Yourself A Try” [from A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, 2018]
In the ten years since The 1975, the Unknown Pleasures graphic T-shirt has, for reasons that still escape me, become a Hot Topic wardrobe staple commensurate with the Nirvana smiley-face and any number of Metallica album covers. Go on TikTok and there’s undoubtedly hours of content where people ask middle kids to name a single Joy Division song. Whether this phenomenon emboldened The 1975 to brazenly rip off “Disorder” as a perfect crime or a teaching point, “Give Yourself A Try” is one of their most generous acts of service, a willingness to serve as a gateway band – there’s a very good chance a teenaged 1975 fan might discover post-punk or goth or New Wave and never look back.
Top Healy-ism – “The only apparatus required for happiness is your pain and fucking going outside / And getting STDs at 27 really isn’t the vibe”
6. “The Birthday Party” [from Notes On A Conditional Form, 2020]
“The Birthday Party” is sort of an anti- “Love It If We Made It,” a long sigh that looks inward at Matt Healy’s various vices rather than the state of the nations. Aside from being the most cinematic rendering of one man’s bathroom habits ever captured on a gold-selling album, “The Birthday Party” gave us “they were gonna go to the Pinegrove show / they didn’t know about all the weird stuff / so they just left it” – pretty much the only good lyric ever written about “cancel culture.”
Top Healy-ism – “I thought that I was stuck in Hell / In a boring conversation with a girl called Mel / About her friend in Cincinnati called Matty as well”
5. “Change Of Heart” [from I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, 2016]
To quote one of my favorite The Onion headlines – “Asshole Admits To Being Asshole In Supreme Asshole Move.”
Top Healy-ism – “You said I’m full of diseases / Your eyes were full of regret / And then you took a picture of your salad / And put it on the Internet”
4. “UGH!” [from I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, 2016]
Throughout most of the 2010s, our biggest male pop stars didn’t like the drugs, even if the drugs liked them: Drake, Post Malone, The Weeknd, Future, and countless others unwittingly served as DARE PSAs, staring into empty bottles of Virginia Black, Actavis and/or Xanax as they bemoaned the failure of unlimited access to substances and women to silence their existential dread. Perhaps there was a time when Matty Healy thought along the same lines, or at least that doing so would make him seem more deep as a male pop star. Thankfully, “UGH!” comes clean about Healy’s dirty living – “when I said I liked it better without my money I lied / it took a little while to recognize / I’m not giving it up.”
Top Healy-ism – “This conversation’s not about reciprocation no more / But I’m gon’ wait until you finish so I can talk some more”
3. “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)” [from A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, 2018]
Look, I don’t have any advanced degrees in psychology or psychiatry, but the fact that The 1975’s power ballads about drugs are way more powerful than the ones about people…Matty Healy might want to unpack that.
Top Healy-ism – “And Danny says we’re living in a simulation / But he works in a petrol station” [cue the crowd: SELLING PETROL]
2. “Sex” [from Sex EP, 2012]
Nearly 12 years removed from its original release (the first of three), “Sex” should be The 1975’s answer to “Creep” at this point – an atomically self-loathing, ingratiating (and aggravating) explosion of teen angst, a “generational anthem” that bore no evidence of their ambitions to actually make zeitgest-shifting art rock. Maybe it still is, but unlike Radiohead, The 1975 embrace the fact that their first hit single still fucking rules and they play it at basically every single show. In lieu of the O.G. 2011 release when they were going by T H E S L O W D O W N, opt for the Sex EP version rather than the overproduced remake that ended up on The 1975.
Top Healy-ism – “And I’m not trying to stop you, love / If we’re gonna do anything we might as well just fuck / She’s got a boyfriend anyway”
1. “The Sound” [from I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, 2016]
Brilliant gadflies typecast as boy-band pop-tarts or idiots who think they’re deep? “You say I’m such a cliche, I can’t see the difference in it either way,” Matt Healy quips on “The Sound” – the pill-poppin’, Ibiza-bound classic where Healy uses the words “sycophantic,” “prophetic,” “Socratic,” and “Epicurean” to convince a clingy ex that he’s way too shallow for this relationship. Oh, and he’s literally in a box surrounded by music critics in the video, which would’ve easily have been The 1975’s moment of self-actualization had it not been followed up by an 8-½ minute clip that climaxes with a masturbation gag. Wherever people stand on the chasmic divide caused by The 1975, both sides could agree on one thing: Matt Healy is kinda full of shit. But “The Sound” is the best comeback possible: “Who isn’t?”
Top Healy-ism – “She said, ‘I’ve got a problem with your shoes and your tunes / but I might move in / And I thought that you were straight, now I’m wondering’”