Showing posts with label the 1975. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the 1975. Show all posts

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Friday, December 7, 2018

album review: 'a brief inquiry into online relationships' by the 1975

You know, it's a common trope among movie critics that most sequences involving computer hacking tend to suck, because not only do most filmmakers not know anything about hacking in the real world, you're trying to add tension and gravitas to what is, for the most part, just people writing code and running scripts. And while I'm fairly certain other music critics have made a similar comparison, I want to drill into one particular point: I'm really goddamn sick of artists making songs and albums talking about social media. Yes, it can be a toxic waste dump of bad opinions, spam, stupidity and let's not forget the Nazis, but as a whole I still view social media as, if not a net positive, a powerful force in the modern age to be used for good or ill, and as a tool it doesn't make for good subject matter if the person beneath it isn't interesting or compelling. 

Granted, I'm also coming at this from a technical background and a higher-than-usual level of impulse control when I'm not making hot takes or livetweeting from the metal bar or karaoke, but I think my point stands in being able to shine a light upon a worldwide community with the possibility to give a megaphone to anyone - and like any other tool or mode of communication or entertainment, it has its limits and failings and the potential to bring out the worst in people. So while I'm not surprised artists like to target social media in their technological dystopia themes, I rarely see a level of realistic insight that doesn't feel short-sighted or hectoring or technophobic in a really crass way, especially when said acts are going to turn around and use said social media for promotion for their next project. And thus I think I can be forgiven for being skeptical of the newest album from The 1975, with the loaded title of A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships - not only did I hear whatever remaining rock element had been sanded away, I heard it was taking some thematic leaps into this territory. So in other words, I didn't have high expectations whatsoever, so what did we get with this?

Friday, March 4, 2016

video review: 'i like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it' by the 1975

I'm amazed this review hasn't been torn to shreds yet, even though it is more positive. Ah well, goes to serve what my presumptions will be.

Next up... probably Santigold or LMNO or Mount Moriah... but who am I kidding, that Kendrick release is definitely coming, so stay tuned!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

album review: 'i like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful and yet so unaware of it' by the 1975

There's been a thinkpiece making its rounds on a few music websites questioning the continued viability of the album review, or at least the written album review. Where it was once something that could influence audiences or artists or even drive sales, many major publications have seen in the rise of the internet consumers who care less about critics and more about being guided by their own taste, the democracy of public opinion. Now this is very much a mixed blessing: on the one hand it's seen the embrace and re-analysis of pop music, giving real critical consideration to what was usually derided... but you could also argue that unless the critic has a large enough following, it's not going to help the independent, weirder acts that used to rely on a review to break out. What's more concerning is that it's seen the lines between criticism and promotion blur, especially when sites and channels rely on hits to stay afloat, and it's also led me as a critic to reassess what my role as a critic can be. And in this case, it's twofold: operating as a filter to all the acts I hear throughout the year, especially in my recommendations; and providing as much in-depth analysis as I can to improve the quality of individual reviews. 

And yet no act has so divided traditional critics and the general public as The 1975, and I think I can explain why. When I covered their debut album in 2013, I was like many critics in identifying their blatant 80s influences and self-aware self-absorption that was balanced on the edge of emo - in other words, shallow, derivative, and kind of insufferable. And yet I was also like a lot of their diefans in not really caring all that much, or at least more able to relate, mostly because the group had a gift for gleaming, slightly offkilter riff-driven hooks, great basslines and saxophone, with a distinctive vocal delivery from Matthew Healy and lyrics that had a surprising amount of insight if you read between the lines. In other words, I thought their debut was a real slice of greatness, and while their social media shenanigans got a little tiresome - along with a title for the new album that stank of emo pretension - I figured what the hell and dove into The 1975's sophomore record, which from the hype and lead-off single was reportedly weirder and more colourful than their sleek debut. What did we get?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - october 31, 2015 (VIDEO)

And this was surprisingly easy to get done - either I'm getting better at editing or filming these, or positivity just works for me.

Next up... ooh, I've got a good one coming. No, not that one, the other one....

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - october 31, 2015

You know, when I looked at the Billboard Hot 100 charts this morning, I was astounded: because this week scanning through the returning entries and new arrivals, I could find little to complain. Even the songs I didn't like as much weren't so much bad and in a worse week would easily miss the bottom spots, whereas for the best we got a plethora of solid to genuinely great songs. Now I'm not too optimistic to expect this'll last in the long term, but weeks like this always give me a little thrill of hope: maybe the air is shifting as we come into the last weeks of 2015, you never know!

Monday, September 2, 2013

video review: 'the 1975' by the 1975

So here's the video review. Pretty standard, but the one thing I did change was a slight increase to the size of the album image. I think for the most part it works, if only to add a bit more variety to the frame.

Now on to finally getting that Nine Inch Nails video done (also, why wasn't I informed that Janelle Monae was dropping a new album on September 10? September, why are you trying to kill me?)...

album review: 'the 1975' by the 1975

Let me quickly clarify something that's been annoying me back from the review of Deerhunter's Monomania, specifically in reference to vocals. For those of you who haven't taken a look at that review, I mentioned that one of my big pet peeves is that I tend to find it seriously annoying when artists bury the vocals behind production or vocal effects. To me, unless it is specifically done in order to enhance elements of the song, it comes across as a way to hide the lyrics from deeper examination and get on my nerves.

But what happens when you get a lead singer whose vocals aren't buried, but just hard to figure out because of his delivery? Well, as I mentioned in that review, I tend to be significantly more forgiving towards them. Now, of course I have my limits, but in terms of, say, growling or screamed vocals that you typically find in metal, I tend to be accommodating, both due to the fact that said delivery is typical of the genre and it can be reasonably easy to parse out once you're familiar with it. Or for another example, take Dexy's Midnight Runners, well-known for the quintessential 80s classic 'Come On Eileen' - lead singer Kevin Rowland's voice might come across as unintelligible barbaric yelps on first listen, but once you've grown accustomed to his delivery, his lyrics are actually fairly easy to parse out (and good thing too, because Dexy's is one of those bands that had a lot of interesting lyrics, to say nothing of just being awesome).

And it was of Dexy's Midnight Runners that I first thought about when I heard the opening single from new Manchester-based indie rock act The 1975, 'Chocolate'. Not only was it catchy as hell, but the vocals clearly sounded like they'd require some additional listens to fully parse out. And while I tend to go a little easy on debut albums, particularly when they're from indie bands that might not get another chance if they don't open well, I immediately thought the sound of 'Chocolate' was good enough that they might be able to impress without the benefit of lower standards.

So with that in mind, what do I think of The 1975's debut, self-titled album?