First, disobey; then look at your phones. This is the first sentence from The 1975’s recent manifesto which accompanies their third album ‘A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships’, released in 2018. The album, as titled, depicts on the entire millennial experience, from modern politics to our relationship with technology. But what does that opening sentence mean? what is this album really telling us to do?
Who are The 1975?
The 1975 are a british band and are renown for contemporary and essentially post-modernistic ideas displayed in their songs, shown with ‘Love it if we made it‘ which debates all things wrong with the world and how we need to change. They make bold statements with enigmatic lyrics and electronic beats to grab our attention and make us listen, which is why all three of their albums have gone straight to No.1 in the UK charts after each release, as stated by Billboard. As lead singer Matty Healy states in a recent interview, subverting traditional sounds and creating a new form of instruments is what makes their band individual; the disobedience against tradition (and then look at your phones).
The idea of disobedience is represented in their third single from the album called ‘TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME’, which uses a ‘bubblegum pop’ style beat to glamorise unfaithful relationships in the digital age, suggested by the last line of the chorus “I didn’t mean to two-time you“. In the rest of the chorus, the lyrics describe how both people in the relationship are texting and messaging other people, and they’ve both found out. This could relate to the posters in the image above, where you can see a picture of a phone as an advertisement for the album. Analytically, it also suggests how easy and causal it is to message other people or receive attention from other people ,whilst in a relationship or commitment, using the digital world, which also is suggested by the advertisement shown above; “Somebody super-liked you! swipe right to find out who”. This is an obvious reference to the very popular dating app Tinder, which allows users to super-like someone if they are really attracted to them. Personally, I think that the use of the tinder reference and the phone on the advertisement is satirical and mocking, as if the band are trying to open our eyes to how we are all becoming distracted by digital likes and virtual appreciation, instead of appreciating real life relationships. To then relate back to TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME, The 1975 could be demonstrating how digital technology corrupted a real life relationship, but in a glamourising pop fashion.
Love it if we made it
The second single released from A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships is Love it if we made it, a rebellious anthem made up of references to controversial social and political topics, such as police brutality, corruption and the refugee crisis. The title of the track and repetition of ‘love it if we made it’ points towards a hopeful resolution in hopelessly dark times. This single was made to shock and provoke, but it also stands out next to songs such as TOOTIME, as in a way TOOTIME is materialistic as it simply demonstrates the unfairness and narcissistic nature of digital technology in relationships. Whereas ‘Love it if we made it’ juxtaposes the debatable importance of materialism and brings the focus back to real-life problems that we can no longer ignore, and that we need to get off our phones to do something about it.
After looking at all this, I think what The 1975 are trying to say with this record is that in order to make a social change or difference we need to stand up and say something, rather than using social media as a distraction. First we disobey, but then give up and look at our phones to tweet about it on social media instead…
Thank you for tuning in and staying until the end! Next week we shall be looking at the effect of Tinder and what we really use it for. Feel free to discuss in the comments what you think about A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, and don’t forget to follow Left On Read on Twitter and use the hashtag #LOR for discussions!