The 1975 Being Funny in a Foreign Language review

The 1975, Being Funny in a Foreign Language: REVIEW

“If the 1975 is the sound of pop music eating itself, they’ve worn it pretty damn well over the years.”

The 1975, Being Funny in a Foreign Language (Dirty Hit)

If the 1975 is the sound of pop music eating itself, they’ve worn it pretty damn well over the years. The heavily ‘80s-influenced British four-piece, led by enigmatic frontman Matty Healy, have built their brand upon hooky yet subversive pop rock tunes that are blissful and melodic while also challenging listeners either musically, lyrically or both. After their previous album, 2020’s Notes on a Conditional Form, was bloated, chaotic and tried too hard to be too many things at once, this fifth LP feels more simplistic, straightforward and concise at only 11 tracks —  half as many as its predecessor. The band have also maintained their identity despite having plenty of songs that sound like other artists. Opener “The 1975” (the opening track of each of their albums is named after the band) basically apes the piano riff from LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends” and loops it throughout the song, while “Part of the Band” is dominated by “Eleanor Rigby”-like strings and “About You” is perhaps the most outwardly shoegazey song they’ve ever put to tape.

Even if Jack Antonoff — whose fingerprints seem to be all over a lot of modern pop music these days, for better or worse — was this album’s co-producer, his influence only feels obvious on a handful of tracks, namely the Justin Vernon-esque “Human Too,” the waltz-tempo ballad “All I Need to Hear” and “Looking for Somebody (To Love)” — the latter of which frankly sounds like an outtake from Antonoff’s own musical project, Bleachers. Otherwise, singles “Happiness” and “I’m in Love With You,” as well as “Oh Caroline,” are the kinds of dopamine-heavy, heartfelt pop tunes we’ve already come to expect from Healy and co. On Being Funny in a Foreign Language, the 1975 realize that less is usually more when it comes to making a cohesive album, and the end result is more consistent, refined and musically unified than last time around. 8.5/10 Trial Track: “I’m in Love With You”

“I’m in Love With You” by the 1975, from Being Funny in a Foreign Language

For more on the 1975, please visit the band’s website.

This review was originally published in the November 2022 issue of Cult MTL.

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