To be funny presents this fervor with renewed force, replacing the band’s computerized production with natural studio instrumentation. (Their rule of thumb when creating the record was, “Play it and record it. Real instruments.”) Songs pop when they burst with energy, when the band’s joy and zeal are palpable. Take “Happiness”, a brilliant, flexible and outstanding proof of concept. It was originally conceived during a jam session where the band performed their parts with “locked eyes”, according to Healy, which gives an amazing vocal performance. “In case you haven’t noticed / I’ll go blind just to see you,” he sings, seething with despair. The towering dance groove on “Oh Caroline” — one that mixes Bruce Hornsby and Carly Rae Jepsen — could probably be a hit anytime in the past 40 years. It’s amusing, it’s funny, it’s magnificent in its magnitude, it makes you believe, even with reserve, that you too can “find [yourself] at the Moonlight.”
Even when their songs reek of camp, Healy has enough moxie to elevate a potentially gruesome idea into an eloquent exclamation mark. How many bands could release “I’m in Love With You,” a song designed for wedding dancefloors and roadside hugs? It’s silly, of course, but it’s also an immaculate and precise celebration of the commitment and infatuation in person in the midst of pop music “The texts turn greenera. “Looking for Somebody (To Love)” boasts the physicality of a Bruce Springsteen song, its colorful guitars, pulsating synths and massive drums slamming like lightning around Healy’s hound-hound vocals. At first, the song seems like just another rumbling good time, but then Healy’s writing deepens: “Maybe we’re running out of desire/Maybe it’s just fucked up/But the boy with ‘the plan’ and the gun in his hand was looking for someone to love.” Throughout the record, the 1975s repeatedly suggest that human connection can lift us out of loneliness, restore our place in the world, and we separate from our screens. According to Healy, the stakes to do so have never been higher.
In To be funny quieter moments, the band treads somewhat new territory. Antonoff lends his gentle hand to guitar-centric folk rock songs, like “Wintering,” whose chorus sounds like the theme song from a bad ’90s sitcom, or “When We Are Together,” which has all the innocuous flourishes. specific to an Antonoff. – assisted track. But the standout ballads come when Healy channels his R&B chops. The superb “Human Too” features a falsetto reminiscent of Justin Vernon, while the pop standard “All I Need to Hear” sounds like a song every american idol competitor would have clamored to perform in 2007. It’s simple yet unmistakable, general yet specific – in a word, it’s honest, elusive quality that separates 1975 from their mainstream rock contemporaries.
In the clip of “All I need to hear“Healy walks through a wooded area in a trench coat, looking up at the sky, then at a pond; he hastens to point out a swan entering his periphery. Speaking into his phone, he does monologues about A-Art capital, identity, the facade of reality – the usual Matty Healy talking points. We don’t hear what questions he is asked, just snippets of his answers. “It sounds like a pretentious thing to say, but there’s a lot to understand on this record: musically, philosophically, emotionally,” he says as the camera catches him paddling a canoe. As always, the 1975s are his vessel to seek and not to know; risk being grumpy for the sake of sincerity; make a joke at the wrong time; grab someone by the shoulders and tell them you love them. That’s what they live for.
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