The 1975 has struck gold with their new album “Being Funny in A Foreign Language”
One of the most prominent English acts returns for something so magical, something so profoundly fresh that it feels like a reinvention. Eccentric frontman Matt Healy said in an interview, "But on this record, I said, 'Instead of a magnum opus, what about more like a polaroid?'". Staying true to that statement, the band has strung together their shortest album yet, spanning only 43 minutes with 11 tracks. In comparison, their 2020 album, Notes on a Conditional Form boasted 22 tracks and exceeded the hour mark. Jack Antonoff, who has worked with the likes of Taylor Swift, Lorde, Charli XCX and more, absolutely nails the production on this project.
The 1975 play to their strengths with guitar riffs inspired by the 80s, punchy beats, sharp basslines and saxophone sequences. The usual sense of chaotic dystopia and impending doom we feel with their music may be missing but it is replaced with something much warmer. Being Funny in A Foreign Language speaks to the soul and is devoid of rationality when it comes to matters of the heart. The theme that takes centre stage in the record is the notion that "love needs no reason".
The band deviates away from their usual dark, gritty sound in favour of sappy-synth-lovesick beats, which feels like a breath of fresh air. Perhaps Healy lied when he sang Sincerity Is Scary but this is the most heartfelt album The 1975 have produced. Healy says, "One could criticise me for loads of things, but you can't criticise me for being insincere."
The boyband's woke, post-modern, end-of-the-world mantra takes a back seat, and they instead opt for a warmer, more-tender sound. To put it a little less subtly, Healy and the boys have made us all want to fall in love all over again.
Going straight into the track list Looking for Somebody is an upbeat track that will have you breaking out in dance juxtaposed with lyrics about a school shooting. Feels odd to say that last sentence but that's The 1975 for you. Tackling larger social issues with neurotic lyrics is something Healy has mastered.
All I Need to Hear and Wintering are wonderfully intimate tracks which highlight the storytelling aspects and the band's observational prose. Reminiscing on the cultural commentary-packed albums of the past, When We Are Together speaks volumes. They touch on cancel culture, toxic love and the fervent addictive need to be with a lover.
Undoubtedly the most brilliant track off the record has to be I'm in Love With You. Hearts racing, lost in your lover's eyes, clammy hands reaching for each other – this song is the musical manifestation of falling in love. Melodic hooks, perfect backing vocals from the rest of the band, and the simplistic addictiveness of the line "I'm in love with you" make this song nearly impossible to fault.
Being Funny in a Foreign Language is classically The 1975. It's cleverly sly with strong melodies. John Waugh's saxophone makes the entire record a multifaceted piece of art while catchy tunes and smooth pre-choruses make this album a must-listen. Matt Healy's distinctive personality and often sanely maladjusted lyrics are truly one of the wonders of music in the contemporary era.