If you are someone who digs indie rock, then you’ve probably heard of The 1975. Following the release of their self-titled first studio album in 2013, the band brought the Tumblr goth aesthetic to life. Since then, they have blown up not only in the United Kingdom, but worldwide.
Recently, in the two years since their 2016 studio album release, “I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It,” the band has started to become curiously strange online. They posted a video on their Instagram showing the illuminated neon sign from the album cover for “I Like It When You Sleep.” The pink verbiage on the image then begins to slowly flicker out and the words “M U S I C F O R C A R S – 2 0 1 8” appear beneath it. And now, with an album set to release on Nov. 30, promotion for “A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships” has only been ramping up and getting weirder.
In April, The 1975 revealed what looked like a promotional poster for their new album on Instagram, a project that Matty Healy, the band’s lead singer, songwriter and producer, said would mark the beginning of a new era. The poster was cryptically littered with rhyming text, which led fans to hypothesize that the language might be song lyrics from the upcoming album.
In addition to the main text, a handful of quotes appeared on the sides of the image that have since appeared on other media, including; “First, Disobey. Then, look at your phones,” “If I don’t get to see the beauty of the end of culture; Then at least I’ve seen the culture of the end of beauty” and, “DH00325.” Despite the abundance of text, however, there was no caption.
Two days later, on May 1, the band revealed another promotional poster for their new era. This time, the starring role belonged to something similar in appearance to a new iPhone box. The only word on this poster? “Hello.”
The references to social media and today’s technology made the posts very similar in nature. Each new poster had something to do with either social media or tech, ranging from VR goggles to Ellen’s renowned Oscar selfie.
A few weeks later, on May 25, The 1975 began to post countdown videos. In these posts, only a number would appear, with clips playing through the inside of cutout numbers. Four days later, the band posted the first promotion for the first single, “Give Yourself a Try.” The new song premiered on June 1, days after its music video dropped on May 31, and it hit a lot of people in the heart with its lyrics. “You learn a couple things when you get to my age / Like friends don’t lie and it all tastes the same in the dark,” sang Healy.
“Give Yourself a Try” immediately transformed into an anthem for millennials, even more so for Gen Z’ers. The lyrics echo the stereotypes society has created for millennials, a concept Healy referenced in an interview with Radio X. Even though the lyrics are difficult to break down on first listen, there is definitely a deeper meaning to the lines that resonates with younger listeners.
The next promo poster came out on July 18 for the song “Love It If We Made It.” Because the teaser was tricky to decipher due to its format, most people settled on interpreting it as another strange 1975 thing to post. The image, however, falls somewhere between creepy and informative, while all the while coming off as very intense.
Then, on Oct. 15, The 1975 released their music video for, “Love It If We Made It.” Not knowing what to expect threw me off and heightened my excitement for the video, but I watched the whole thing in awe.
Through clips of the band performing behind a white wall with bright backlighting and Healy’s aggressive voice practically screaming in the background, short media clips played. The video is very overwhelming at first, but after watching it a handful of times, I slowly learned what I was getting into.
Given the ubiquity of social justice activism on most people’s timelines, social media can be exhausting at times. Despite this, however, it’s as if everyone’s eyes are glued to their smartphones, watches, computers and tablets. Everywhere, we see headlines about sexual allegations, along with stories about shootings — black male or school related — political debacles and detained children. Of course, the online world can definitely bring joy to people, but lately, it has been a struggle to even go a few hours without seeing an all-too-familiar story; the same tragic things happen so often that issues that need to get talked about don’t.
In light of this saturation of tragedy, the seemingly random clips begin to make sense. The snippets show bombings, police brutality, guns, drugs, riots, prisons, religion and sexual inequality, all within the first minute of a four-and-a-half-minute video. Because of our screens, Healy implies, we can’t get in tune with the rest of the world. “Modernity has failed us,” he sings. But will his new album? The world will find out on Nov. 30.