“Unconvincing emo lyrics,” “pretentious” and “trying too hard.” These are all critiques of The 1975, highlighted in a recent music video for its song “The Sound”
Despite these claims, the band obviously has a substantial following because it will play a sold-out EXPRESS LIVE! outdoor pavilion tonight.
With such a large following, there are certainly plenty of male fans, young fans and older fans, but The 1975 has also garnered a kind of fanatical young female fan base usually reserved for some sort of highly marketed and manufactured boy band.
And I am one of those girls.
With its captivating lead singer and uncommonly frank lyrics, The 1975 has me infatuated.
The moment I first heard about the band was probably sometime on September 2, 2013, when Harry Styles tweeted about them, a fact that makes the size of the young female fan base no coincidence. At that time, the band had already been playing music together in some capacity for 11 years and were just starting to get mainstream recognition. I listened to the album originally because, at the time, I found it important to create more common interests with Styles. But it turned into its own separate obsession.
Much of the intrigue surrounding The 1975 stems from its lead singer, Matty Healy. I’ve watched countless interviews trying to understand the eccentric character that he is. The interviews are really fun to watch because his answers are always honest and raw, most likely uncoached by any PR team, which is refreshing. He’s actually written the songs, so he can really talk about them on a deeper level.
I think the attraction also comes from the simple fact that Matty Healy is not like any of the boys I, or likely any other small-town American girl, went to school with. He has an accent, an edgy haircut, sometimes wears women’s clothes and totally doesn’t care about sports. That only scratches the surface.
Of course, some of the intrigue also comes from deciphering the meaning of the songs. First, it takes multiple listens and often a Google search for me to understand what the heck Matty Healy is even saying underneath the thick accent. Beyond that, I like to spend time looking off into the distance trying to figure out what he’s getting at. According to my iTunes, I’ve listened to “Girls” 37 times, and it probably took about 30 for me to truly get it.
The moments of dialogue in the lyrics portray the woman in the equation having it together much more than the man in the equation (presumably Matty Healy).
There’s, “I’ve been so worried about you lately. You look s— and you smell a bit,” from “A Change of Heart.” And then you have, “I’d like to say you’ve changed but you’re always the same. I’ve got a feeling that marijuana’s rotting your brain,” from “She Way Out.”
There’s this innate thing inside of us that would like to think we can fix someone. I’ve watched him drink an entire bottle of wine on stage and smoke cigarettes, and “UGH!” is rumored to be about his cocaine addiction. He’s not the most healthy guy, and there’s definitely a part of me that thinks maybe if he could just hang around a girl like me, he wouldn’t have those struggles.
Another facet to the lyrics is the unflattering way some of the songs describe girls.
A line in “Change of Heart” reads, “You used to have a face straight out of a magazine, now you just look like anyone.”
“Girls” is written about a young girl trying to “fix” him (go figure), and in it, there are lyrics that read, “eyes bright, uptight, just girls.”
Lyrics in “Paris” read, “She’s a pain in the nose.”
It can be hard to believe some of the more common lyrical themes that I’m beautiful or a fallen angel or that a random guy would see me in the distance and fall in love instantly. But sentiments saying I’m uptight, difficult or demanding? That’s easier to believe.
I don’t resent The 1975 for being straight up when it comes to the way us girls act sometimes. I can be praised and fawned over by some other band. But for the time being I’ll relish in The 1975’s realness by belting out all of those unflattering lyrics at the show tonight.