Sound — 8
The 1975 have always been a band which defied classification, their first album being a blend of everything from post-punk to funk and power-pop, and their latest album takes that to a completely new level. "I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It," a title which has received both praise and scathing criticism, exhibits the band at their most eclectic. The album begins with a reworking of the intro track from their debut and immediately you know this is not the same band. Throughout the album spacey '80s synths swell and modulate over big bass lines as the drums and guitars take a back seat. Don't get me wrong though, there is still some incredible guitar work, such as the wacky solos on singles "Love Me" and "The Sound" as well as lots of great riffs like during the verse on "She's American," and some beautiful acoustic guitars on closers "Nana" and "She Lays Down." Matthey Healy sings with a very pronounced accent and many people will find his voice annoying, but it fits the music very well. "A Change of Heart" sounds like a song from the prom scene of an '80s drama. Overall, however, the production on the album is beautiful, everything blends perfectly and the guitar tones are phenomenal.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics on this album continue on many of the themes found on previous works. The album is filled with melancholy tales of 20-somethings in the digital age. "UGH!" is a funky upbeat tune about cocaine addiction while "Somebody Else" is about lost love and "Love Me" is a slight critique of the modern self-obsessed culture we live in. None of the songs are particularly happy, but none of the songs feel weighed down or overly depressing due to Matty Healy's wit and the upbeat nature of the songs. Much of the lyrics are pretty over the top, though, and many might find lines such as "Karcrashian panache a bag of bash for passion" ("Love Me") and "I'm the Greek economy of cashing intellectual cheques" ("Loving Someone") to be irritating, but in general he knows how to turn clever phrases and write very personal lyrics, such as "Nana" which is about his dead grandmother. "Ballad of Me and My Brain" has pretty emo lyrics about Matthew Healy literally losing his brain, saying things like "It's likely in a Sainsbury's flirting with the girls and waiting for me." Some people might find such a song unlistenable. One of the highlights of the album are on "Change of Heart" When Matty references back to songs from their debut with the lines "You used to have a face straight out of a magazine, now you just look like anyone" (referencing a line from "Robbers") and "I never found love in the city" (reference to "The City").
Overall Impression — 9
The album is definitely a huge leap from their debut, taking a huge risk which, in my opinion, worked out brilliantly. It is a loud, pompous, over-the-top record. It's a work you will probably either find genius or repulsive, just like the band themselves. The key tracks are probably "Love Me," "If You Believe Me," "Somebody Else" and "Nana." I personally love the absolute grandiose nature of this album, but many people hate it for the very same reason. I own the Deluxe box set which contains two 7" of the singles with extra bonus tracks and a hardback book with lots of band photography and overall it is a very beautiful compliment to the album. I would absolutely buy the album again in a heartbeat if I ever lost it. If you're expecting another album like their debut, this might not be the record for you, but if you're looking for a 75 minute trip through a 21st century re-imagining of the '80s, this record is perfect.