Britain’s ever-evolving the 1975 balance hooky dance-rock and adult contemporary sophistication with arty forays into electronica and Auto-Tuned pop. It was a sound they first debuted on 2013′s The 1975, which brought them international stardom, topping the charts in the U.K. and reaching the Top 30 on the Billboard 200. They fared even better with 2016′s I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It, which reached number one in both England and the United States. While they have remained chart regulars, hitting the Top Five with 2018′s A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships and 2020′s Notes on a Conditional Form, they have continued to experiment with their sound, embracing an ever more genre-bending pop aesthetic. It’s an unpredictable artistic evolution they sustained with 2022′s Being Funny in a Foreign Language.
Originally, the members of the 1975 met in 2002 while attending high school in Wilmslow, Cheshire, a suburb of Manchester. There, lead singer Matthew Healy, guitarist Adam Hann, bassist Ross MacDonald, and drummer George Daniel started out covering punk songs and playing at local all-ages shows before inevitably beginning to explore their own original material. In 2012, they released their first EP, Facedown, on the U.K. indie label Dirty Hit, and soon thereafter supported Little Comets on their nationwide tour. The lead track from the debut EP, “The City,” was played on Huw Stephens’ BBC Radio 1 show, and the quartet’s energetic live performances endeared them to crowds, while their presence began to sweep across music blogs. Toward the end of 2012, the band released the Sex EP, and the title track was played by influential BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe.
In 2013, a third EP appeared, spawning the U.K. Top 20 single “Chocolate.” The band’s popularity continued to rise as they played shows across the U.K., and were also invited to perform at industry showcase SXSW in conjunction with a U.S. tour. That same year, the 1975 delivered their eponymous debut full-length, recorded with producer Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, Foals). Featured on the album were several previously released tracks, including “Chocolate” and “Sex,” as well as the singles “Settle Down” and “Girls,” the latter of which peaked at number 12 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart. A number one album in the U.K., The 1975 helped build the band’s reputation in the States, where it reached number 28 on the Billboard 200.
The 1975 returned in 2016 with their sophomore full-length album, the Crossey-produced I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It. Featuring the singles “Love Me” and “The Sound,” it found the band moving toward a more ’80s adult contemporary pop and R&B-influenced style. To promote the album, the band toured the U.K., Europe, and North America, and made a high-profile appearance on Saturday Night Live. The album debuted at number one in the U.K. and U.S. and was shortlisted for the esteemed Mercury Prize. In February 2017, the band released a cover of Sade’s “By Your Side” to benefit the U.K. charity group War Child.
The band’s third full-length, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, arrived in 2018 and featured the Grammy-nominated single “Give Yourself a Try.” Showcasing an even more eclectic and experimental mix of pop sounds, the album reached top of the U.K. albums chart and hit number four on the Billboard 200. The album was also the first part of a two-album release, with the second album (and the 1975′s fourth full-length) Notes on a Conditional Form, arriving in May 2020. Along with a spoken word track featuring Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, Notes on a Conditional Form (which again hit number one in the U.K. and four on the Billboard 200) also included the spotlight tracks “People,” “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know),” and “The Birthday Party’′ with guest Phoebe Bridgers.
The following year, Healy opened for Bridgers at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles as part of her Reunion Tour. In July 2022, the 1975 issued “Part of the Band” as the first single off their fifth full-length, Being Funny in a Foreign Language. Released that October, the album (co-produced by Healy, drummer/keyboardist George Daniel, and Jack Antonoff) found the group bridging the experimental sound they’d embraced on their past few albums with the wry melodicism of their early work. ~ Matt Collar