Aside from the Edward Cullen-esque album title, The 1975’s second album, I Like It When You Sleep for You Are Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It, is a satisfactory follow up to their debut self titled album. Tracks ‘Somebody Else’ and ‘Please Be Naked’ keep up with the same ethereal sounds similar to their previous ‘Menswear’ and ‘Robbers’ as well as ‘She’s American’ and ‘The Sound’ adhering to their pop side.
The Cheshire four-piece band, who started out in 2002, are acclaimed for their unique sound that ranges from melancholic, soothing and devastating tracks to otherworldly synth instrumentals to pop songs that encapsulate the experiences of the young and fiery. The album opens with an obligatory ghostly track ‘1975’ that readies the listener for ecstatic single ‘Love Me’. Upon first listen, it may give the listener little hope for the rest of the album – with strange synth sounds and potentially irritating vocals from singer Matt Healy – but it also has the potential to be one of those songs that grows on you, especially as it harks back to Bowie’s ‘Fame’.
It’s decidedly not the best single of the album though, with the more relaxed ‘UGH!’ that follows sounding much more like material from the first album and ‘The Sound’ being more exciting thanks to escalating build ups and the driving piano, bass, drum and synth beat. This second album sees the band accentuating their pop side that songs like ‘Girl’ from the debut album embodied. It could be said that they are sounding more ‘mainstream’ because of their development into pop territory, but it’s undeniable that each track of the album still maintains that 1975-iness that gives their music an edge.
Their first album, 1975, is sixteen tracks long with a vast deluxe edition album which set the precedent for the extensive track listing of I Like It When You Sleep…, which is seventeen tracks long. A lengthy album isn’t always a bad thing, as long as the album is of the same quality throughout. The track ‘Paris’ is decent but a weak point amidst an otherwise characterful and distinguished album.
The 1975 have always had a distinctive style both, in the way they market themselves and musically, as seen in their witty and unusual lyrics such as “get someone you love, get someone you need, fuck that, get money” in ‘Somebody Else’. There are also direct references to the old album in a few of their new tracks such as in ‘Change of Heart’: “You used to have a face straight out of a magazine”, which is a call back to ‘Robbers’. These follow ups in lyrics make these tracks a ‘sequel’ to their forerunners, which isn’t something you come across a lot in music.
The music video for single ‘The Sound’, which answers ‘She Way Out’, features excerpts of the negative reviews the band have received since their first album release three years ago. It summarises the band’s cheekiness and defiance that tailors to their notoriously adolescent audience, as do music videos which predominantly showcases Matty Healy running around half naked.
There is a clear expansion on the ‘80s vibes (take ‘Someone Else’) that 1975 hinted here, at as well as an inconsistent mood that is constantly derailing the listener. The album goes from eerie to vigorous and loud to mellow to disturbing to melancholy to euphoric. It seems odd that the choral ‘If I Believe You’, the powerful ‘The Ballad of Me and My Brian’ the fun ‘Love Me’, the uncanny ‘Lostmyhead’ and the bittersweet ‘Nana’ all exist on the same album. Nevertheless, the constant shifts in mood make for an interesting and memorable follow-up to their debut.
Emily is currently listening to ‘Gimme the Love’ by Jake Bugg
Co-Editor of the Music Section at University of Nottingham’s IMPACT Magazine.