I Could Never Forget 'About You'
On The 1975’s Nostalgic New Album, "Being Funny In A Foreign Language"
After nearly two years, I’m mere minutes away from pressing play on the new The 1975 album. After their fourth album, Notes On A Conditional Form, received mixed reviews, I was excited to see where they would take their music from there. Mostly, I was excited to see what new rendition of their opening track, “The 1975,” they were going to do this time.
Truthfully, I should’ve taken their changing of the track on their fourth album, Notes, as a sign that they would no longer be using the song’s original lyrics for their albums to come, but I still held out hope that they would go back to their old, signature style for their new album, Being Funny In A Foreign Language.
Alas, the new album was finally out and I pressed play on the opening track, “The 1975”—only to be met with “This will get bigger // if you know what I mean.” While I was a tiny bit disappointed that they hadn’t used the same lyrics they’d been using on their first three albums, I must say that this track is one of my favorites on the album. This song is truly the perfect come-back after the past two years we've had. It's a deeply political and reflective track, one that is grappling with the “postmodern lens” we’re now experiencing life through. One of my favorite lyrics on this track are: “I’m sorry if you’re livin’ and you’re seventeen,” a line which they repeat multiple times, and which I find to be oddly comforting. I also appreciate that when they did change the lyrics of this song—which is originally about giving head—they started it with a line about getting a boner.
“Happiness” and “Looking For Somebody (To Love)” are also some of my favorite tracks because of how sonically different they are from the band’s previous works. However, I have a bone to pick with Matty Healey for making the song about school shootings (“Looking For Somebody (To Love)”) the most danceable song on the album—though, thatisa classic Matty move. “Oh Caroline” is also a standout for me; a reminder that an all-consuming, true, and beautiful love still exists.
The lead single, “Part Of The Band” is no doubt my favorite song off the album. The song’s outro includes some of the band’s most introspective and personal lyrics, ending with Healey reminding himself that he has been sober for “A thousand four hundred days and nine hours and sixteen minutes.” Maybe it’s because I’m well-versed in the Jack Antonoff multiverse by now, but I could definitely hear his influence on this song and the album’s production. Here, I have to say that he’s done a great job enhancing the band’s “natural” sound.
The penultimate track, “About You,” is one of the best songs on the album. I don’t think I could ever find the words to properly articulate how much this track means to me. When I heard that this track was going to be an ode to one of the band’s most popular and beloved songs, “Robbers,” I knew it was going to be good. Directed at those who were in their teenage years when they first discovered the band—i.e., the 2014-Tumblr generation, if you will—this song is the band at their most nostalgic. It is the perfect ode to their OG fans, in which Matty asks: “Do you think I have forgotten // About you?” and then answers: “I think about you (so don't let go).”
My least favorite songs on the album are “I’m In Love With You” and “Human Too.” They’re the weakest songs on the album in my opinion—the former because it’s just too repetitive for my liking, and the latter because it’s sonically quite boring.
Though the tour for this album is called “The 1975 at their very best”, I personally, do not think that this is their best album. It’s a banger of an album and I will be listening to it on repeat for a long time, but for me, their best album still remains their 2018 release, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. However, I think that this album is one of the best to come out this year and I would still highly recommend giving it a listen.
Being Funny In A Foreign Language is one of the band’s most thought-provoking albums and harbors some of their most mature lyrics. Though it is deeply nostalgic in its references to their past work, the album beyond that feels like a call to live one’s life fully and authentically. As the band puts it on their opening track: “It’s about time.” About time for living. About time for change. About time for a little sincerity in this postmodern world of ours.