An Isolated Track, a Whole Album: The 1975’s “The 1975”
“The 1975” is a track played on all three albums released by The 1975, but it differs greatly between the sets, despite having the same lyrics, through its varying focus on sound versus voice. To begin, it’s interesting to see a band that begins both of its albums with the same lyrics. In many ways, it seems to be an artistic statement, playing on themes of sex, urbanicity, and relationships.
Check out the lyrics:
Go down, soft sound Midnight, car lights Playing with the air Breathing in your hair Go down, go down Soft sound Step into your skin, I’d rather jump in your bones Taking up your mouth so you’ll breathe through your nose
Why is this the first track?
While the song has certainly been read with a focus on the clear references to oral sex, it still, at the same time, seems to set a scene of being in a city and the intimacy of night between two people, with “midnight / car lights / playing with the air.”
It almost challenges the listeners to accept each album as it is, perhaps as it is different than others in its genre, particularly I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it through “Step into your skin? I’d rather jump in your bones.” This calls for the total embrace and empathy of the listener, wanting for them to become entirely a part of this album.
In using the song thrice on three very different albums, The 1975 lays out the major themes of each of its albums in this one song…
In using the song thrice on three very different albums, The 1975 lays out the major themes of each of its albums in this one song, letting the listeners know what to look for and perhaps how even to interpret it, especially on their chosen view of the lyrics. Further, the idea of this being an artistic statement is further supported by the idea that it is a self-titled track. This is the essence of The 1975, boiled down to just under a minute and a half.
They are going to talk about sex, the city, and everything that comes with this image. It also asks the listener to play this track first before going onto the rest of the album, a return to a focus on a whole album rather than the singles released (though The 1975 did release several singles and three extended plays (EP) before their self-titled album). However, overall it calls for a holistic approach to music that is not so much demanded anymore.
Start at the Top
Despite having the same lyrics, “The 1975” sounds vastly different when going in between The 1975, I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, and A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. The lead-up to the beginnings of the lyrics themselves is a particularly interesting portion of the track. All have a cacophony of sound as the listener gets closer and closer to the lyrics, but The 1975 seems to open with the sounds of the city, and this background becomes the foreground of the track, the lyrics almost lost in the sounds, hiding behind the softness of the instruments, a pleasant guitar rhythm holding throughout. The track ends with these same sounds, a calm pulsing, fading out until the sound of a train or car passing by comes through.
“The 1975” on the second album seems to enter in the same way that the other version ends before going into an almost-chanted version of the lyrics. It has a degree of finality to it that makes it a particularly interesting opening track. There is also less of a city feel to it before the lyrics themselves start, coming in a more whimsical way, as if it was an orchestral piece coming together.
The newest album electrifies the track, playing the song as through a robotic vocalizer. The very sound draws its tone from the title of the album, welcoming us now from the city to its inhabitants online. That cacophony that begins with the other two exists, but this one is quiet, soft, with the first words of the song first said without the robotic filter, and then we’re faced with that great contrast of technology. Who are we in person? Who do we sound like online? While the first two iterations of the track are lyrical, focused as though they’re a poem, with the lyrics often getting lost in the mix, despite playing different roles in each track, the newest album is bold. It comes through much clearer, even though each word is twinged with static.
“The 1975” welcomes us to each album. It tells the listener who the band is now. On The 1975, the group is perhaps more traditionally alternative. On I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, “The 1975” takes on an ambient vibe, playing on the soft, soothing, and beautiful sounds that comprise the whole album. Now, on A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, we see the way we’ll talk about technology on the album, and we do.
The first track is the first step, and it’s a call to consider the albums as a whole, starting with a built-in artist’s statement, a love letter from The 1975 to us.