Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Review: ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’ is some of The 1975’s best work yet


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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The 1975 is an English pop-rock band, hailing from Manchester. The quartet is led by vocalist and guitarist Matty Healy. The group’s self-titled debut album was released in 2013 and climbed high on the charts in both the U.K. and the U.S. Their fan base continued to expand, leading up to the release of their second full-length studio album, “I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It.” The album was released in 2016 and topped both the U.K. Chart and the U.S. Billboard 200. In May, the band announced their next two albums: “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships” and “Notes on a Conditional Form.” “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships” was released Friday, Nov. 30, and “Notes on a Conditional Form” is slated to release next May.

In a way, “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships” takes bits and pieces from the band’s first two albums and puts it all together for what is the most cohesive and well put-together The 1975 album to date. A lot like their second album, this album finds a nice balance between the jazz-like ballads that the group produces and their ‘90s-sounding synthesizing rock jams. In short, The 1975 approached this album with the same formula as their last, but this time they give an overall much more successful and memorable performance.

The album is 15 tracks long and has a runtime of almost an hour. The runtime is 58 minutes to be exact, which is what I consider to be the perfect length for this kind of album. It’s not too short but not too drawn-out to a point where you lose interest. Of the 15 tracks, five of them were released as singles in the months leading up to the album’s release.

“It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)” is probably my favorite of all the singles. It is exactly the kind of single you would expect from The 1975. The song has that 1975 sound that no other group can duplicate. You hear this track, and you immediately know the artist behind the magic.

“Love It If We Made It” was another single from the album that I enjoy. The track was the most streamed on Spotify out of all the singles leading up to the album release. I love how the track smoothly transitions into one of my favorite cuts of the album, “Be My Mistake.”

From the telling title of the song and from the opening guitar strum, you immediately know that this is going to be one of those soft ballads that The 1975 always pulls off so well. The song plays with this idea of someone “being your mistake.” It’s the idea that you know pursuing a certain person is not the right thing to do and is probably not the healthiest thing for your well-being, yet you let your love for that person overshadow reason. And, you want them to be your mistake. You are willing to take on the pain that comes from making that sacrifice.

Another one of my favorites and easily the song that caught me off-guard the most was “I Like America & America Likes Me.” This is a track unlike anything the band has ever pulled off before. The song is political in that it deals with speaking out on gun violence in America and how we have to make a change.

Musically, this is a whole different lane from the group’s normal stride. An auto-tune-filled trap song is not something you would expect to hear from The 1975, but somehow they make it work, and really well at that.

The last track I want to mention is the closing track to the album. “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)” is one the best songs on the album and possibly even one of the band’s best songs of all time. A cinematic ending to an epic album, this final track brings the loud guitars and other instruments to the forefront and heavily displays a beautiful falsetto range from Healy that we rarely get to hear. A track titled “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)” oddly enough makes me want to keep living so that I can hear more from this band in the future.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Sydney Wagner, email

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