The 1975 infuse their ambitious, anxiety-riddled songs with hope | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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The 1975 infuse their ambitious, anxiety-riddled songs with hope

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Listening to UK pop-rockers the 1975 can feel a lot like gorging on the Internet. Formed in 2002, the band samples from pop’s broad spectrum, incorporating Afrobeat, shoegaze, ambient, and gospel—sometimes all in a single song, like they’re concocting a suicide soda using every flavor in a Coke Freestyle machine. Meanwhile, front man Matt Healy addresses issues that inflame modern society, sometimes at a hectic pace that mirrors the experience of scrolling through your Twitter feed: on the soaring 2018 single “Love It If We Made It,” he references entropic energy consumption, the international migrant crisis, and idiotic bad-faith arguments about Colin Kaepernick. The 1975’s go-for-broke approach has helped make them one of the biggest rock bands of their generation—their most recent album, 2018’s A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, peaked on the Billboard 200 at number four. And they’re not squandering their fame, either: on the single “The 1975,” from their forthcoming fourth album, currently titled Notes on a Conditional Form (out in February on Interscope/Polydor/Dirty Hit), plinking keys accompany environmental activist Greta Thunberg as she urges listeners to curb the pollution that’s destroying the globe. On the other singles from Notes, the 1975’s worries appear to be at an all-time high, but there’s still hope burning through their music. Last month, when the band performed the electro burner “Frail State of Mind” on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, its uplifting house-style piano melody came to the fore, making a song about social anxiety feel like a first step toward overcoming greater obstacles.   v

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