Released: Feb 26, 2016
Genre: Electropop, Pop Rock, Indie Rock, Alternative Rock
Label: Dirty Hit, Interscope, Polydor, Vagrant
Number Of Tracks: 17
The 1975's follow-up album may add some more sonic dimensions to contrast the primary '80s pop flavor it has, but just like its title, the album's runtime is annoyingly excessive.
I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of ItFeatured review by: UG Team, on march 04, 2016 2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Within the past couple of years, sounds of the '80s have been the new face of today's pop music; from Iggy Azalea's modular-driven "Fancy," to The Weeknd striving to be this generation's Michael Jackson. And though the realm of pop rock had been wrapped up in a '70s-era blues/garage rock revival for the last few years, we're starting to see it move into the '80s as well, and The 1975 are a key proponent of this. With their debut self-titled album, the young britpop band blended a contemporary indie rock/electropop style with sounds harking back to the '80s, and frontman Matthew Healy furthered this '80s homage with a singing style similar to Simon Le Bon. Whether this reuse of '80s sounds was simply interpreted by today's youth as something different than modern pop music ("everything old is new again," as the adage goes), or welcomed by the older generation as a proper tribute to the pop music of their era, the album was a smash hit, reaching #1 on the UK album charts.
Now back with their follow-up album, "I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It," The 1975 are both sticking to what they know to be successful, as well as elaborating on a couple new things. They're able to accomplish both of these because the album is unequivocally bloated - clocking in at nearly a CD-filling 80 minutes - and that ends up being the glaring vice of the album. With the first stretch of the album ("Love Me," "UGH!," "A Change of Heart" and "She's American") being another dishing of '80s pastiche - chock full of funky guitars, rubber-band synth basslines, and token saxophone solos - songs are just as much a blur from one to the next as they are a mash of influences from whatever '80s pop act there is to draw from: Steve Winwood, Duran Duran, Paula Abdul, etc.
While that '80s style pops up again from time to time afterwards (in "Somebody Else," "This Must Be My Dream" and "The Sound"), "I Like It..." starts to move the vibe into different territory. After the gospel/R&B-styled "If I Believe You" (adding more variance by being composed in a 3/4 measurement), the middle stretch of the album starts to elaborate more upon the slow-burning post-rock characteristics that The 1975 dabbled with a bit in their previous album; going from the droning tones of "Please Be Naked," the wall-of-sound guitar layers in "Lostmyhead," and the glimmering synth arrangement of the eponymous song. Come the tail end of the album, The 1975 opt to throw in one more different flavor appealing to the organic and innocent, and though "Nana" grows from its acoustic guitar and upright bass into a full soft rock ballad, the ending "She Lays Down" sticks to the bare minimum of Healy and his acoustic guitar; a refreshing contrast from the gaudy likes of the first part of the album, or the heavily-layered second part of the album. // 5
Lyrics: Voicing contempt towards trendy superficiality ("Caught up in fashion / Karcrashian panache... You've got a beautiful face but got nothing to say" in "Love Me"), mundane displays that shroud sincere feelings (like "You said I'm full of diseases / Your eyes were full of regret / And then you took a picture of your salad / And put it on the internet" in "A Change of Heart"), and the impositions pop culture makes upon what is expected of its peddlers and consumers ("There's a certain disconnect / With the culture that controls the artist with comfort and abandon" in "Loving Someone"), Healy's lyrics in "I Like It..." have grown from being the devil-may-care, substance-fueled heartbreaker he was in the band's previous album, and his sentiments start to reveal - or perhaps more correctly, recognize - the sorrow and hollowness in this blurring lifestyle. He even goes so far as to try renouncing his position of being surrounded by glitz and glamour in "UGH!," but ultimately fails to truly pull the trigger on his reactionary asceticism, and later reflects on a past tale of tragedy-filled debauchery in "Paris" with a fondness that takes comfort in the chaos.
His struggle between accepting (or rather, surrendering to) the blissfully ignorant vapidity of the modern world and trying to find deeper meaning in his life shows Healy clambering inside this existential limbo - he's smart enough to know how unsubstantial the former is, but he's not in reach of what he believes might be true happiness. His frayed faith becomes a big symbol in this search. His tribute to his dead grandmother in "Nana" reveals an anecdote for Healy's doubt in a god ("Oh sleepless nights, a grown up man dressed in white / Who I thought might save your life / But he couldn't, so you died"), and though his grip on atheism is still strong in "If I Believe You," he still feels compelled to pray for an answer of faith for the sake of relief ("I'm broken and bleeding and begging for help / And I'm asking you, Jesus, show yourself"). // 8
Overall Impression: It's easy to see The 1975's intention of "I Like It..." to be a multi-dimensional, contrasting album as a proper game plan to one-up their previous record in terms of content and maturity. However, whether due to misguided ambition or a complete lack of an editing process, the album's overstuffed offering makes this effort of embracing both growth and familiarity uncannily cumbersome. Even with the lyrical aspect of the album being substantially more captivating than the band's previous work, the excess of songs that either shout "B-side quality" or split hairs with other songs of the same style dilute "I Like It..." from its full potential with a quantity-over-quality mentality. // 6
I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It
DrewMeyer, on march 05, 2016 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 8
Lyrics: 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"). // 8
Overall Impression: 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. // 9