The 1975 weren’t supposed to do a lot of things. They weren’t supposed to go from being the dudes behind aural baby powder tracks like “Chocolate” to the INXS-worshipping rockers of “Love Me.” They weren’t supposed to be big enough to play Madison Square Garden. They definitely weren’t supposed to put out an album that sneakily worked its way into the hearts and minds of critics ready to write them off last year. Now, we can add “covering Sade and not falling on their collective faces” to that list.
The group covered Sade’s Lovers Rock single “By Your Side” to benefit the international children’s charity War Child and it’s not bad at all. Trying to match Sade Adu’s voice straight-up is a fool’s errand, so frontman Matt Healy put himself under layers of vocal effects that he says were inspired by Bon Iver and Kanye West. If you listen to the track, that’s a totally straightforward comparison as Healy comes out sounding a bit like Justin Vernon on Yeezus. Healy also mentions Francis and the Lights as an inspiration, which makes sense when you hear “Friends,” a track that features all three of those artists and sounds nearly identical to The 1975’s Sade cover.
Check out the song up top and stick around for the interview where Healy discusses his favorite grime artists and mentions that he’s working with Skepta.