When I look at what makes a strong candidate for album of the year, it needs to fall into one of two categories. It has to either hit all the musical buttons or strongly hit one of them. If it can succeed at doing that then there is a good chance I will spend a lot of time listening to your album. And while I like to pride myself on searching for new bands and finding new music to listen to, this year the album I found myself listening to more than any other is, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships by The 1975.
The band’s third album is really all over the place and could have just as easily been a train wreck. I am sure there are some who will say that it is. To me however it has everything, from 80s synth to sad ballads and everything in between. There are even some interludes thrown in their like a 90’s rap album. It’s could probably be best described as a concept album about lead singer Matty Healy trying to embrace adulthood and the struggles that come with it.
At a time where songs are more relevant that albums, irony of this blog not lost, it is great to see an album that has a flow to it and comes across as one piece of art. The album is book-ended by songs about mental health. It begins with the guitar heavy “Give Yourself A Try,” where the band is hoping you will avoid some of a traps they have experienced growing up, and just learn to love yourself. While at the end is what Healy has described as their version of “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing.” The song lets people know that everyone is going through things and that you are not alone in your problems. Other Highlights on the album include the pure pop banger “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME,” and on “I Like America and America Likes Me” Healy takes on gun violence with an homage to mumble rap.
Much like Brandon Flowers and Noah Gallagher before him, Matty Healy is definitely not short on ego. It has caused him to put his foot on more than one occasion and possibly led to alienating some fans. However, this latest record shows signs of growth in both Healy and the band. With another album already in the can ready to be released, it will be fun to see where they are headed next.