The Return of The 1975: Decent Album, Better Tour

A review of the 1975’s new album “Being Funny in a Foreign Language” and their even more bizarre tour


Introducing their shortest album yet, popular indie-pop band The 1975 released their fifth studio album and opened the door to their most intimate era yet. Being Funny in a Foreign Language, or BFIAFL, was hugely anticipated by fans, and to many, the British band didn’t disappoint. However, the short and sweet BFIAFL wasn’t exactly what I expected from a band known for its long and strange records.

Though the record is good, it’s not great, and I would never declare it to be their best album like so many listeners claim. I can’t shake the feeling that something’s missing. Where’s the catch? The quirky instrumental song? The random breaks of silence? The jumpscare of a heavy rock song? The qualities that make all of their previous albums so… The 1975? Nonsensical lyrics are hardly surprising at this point in the band’s musical career, and although I appreciate the album now, it took multiple listens to do so. However, despite my criticisms, as a longtime fan of the band, I agree that it is a satisfying release, an apt continuation of the band’s career with its same unique alt-pop vibe that I have come to expect. I just wanted a little more

 The Brits-nominated album urges adolescents to focus on the simple things that age brings, assuring us that it will get better with time. The sweet message is a breath of fresh air for anyone who listens. 

Like always, The 1975 opens BFIAFL with a self-titled track—a sort of thesis to the album. And although the album itself is not my personal favorite, BFIAFL’s opening song is absolutely the best of all their album openers (thank you, Jack Antonoff). Maybe it’s just because I’m 17, an age the song references constantly, but I was hooked from the moment I first heard it. Matty aptly comments on the current age of technology, likening it to “scrolling through hell,” and he’s right: Being a teenager is complicated in all its glory of awkward relationships, endless schoolwork, and anxieties about the future—and social media only makes it worse, adding in unrealistic comparisons to the mix. The Brits-nominated album urges adolescents to focus on the simple things that age brings, assuring us that it will get better with time. The sweet message is a breath of fresh air for anyone who listens.

However, despite the almost simplistic message of the album, their album tour, “The 1975 At Their Very Best,” is decidedly complex. New fans were shocked by unexpected and theatrical performances; although the venue is intimate and literally homey with a huge stage taking the form of a deconstructed house, lead singer Matty Healy’s stunts on stage are anything but comfortable. Gnawing on raw meat, bringing fans up on stage to kiss them, Elvis-style, getting tattooed, and doing push-ups before crawling into a TV blaring a Ben Shapiro broadcast, the frontman’s bizarre interludes contrast the genial album.

1975 Tour Dates (via Instagram)

As these shows give the popular band even more media attention, it begs the question if the performances are merely publicity stunts, given the absurd number of viral concert clips and sold-out shows in every city. Longtime fans don’t think so—Matty has a reputation for being esoteric and, honestly, pretty off-putting. Critics and fans alike claim that it is a social commentary on toxic masculinity, the band’s own way of rebelling against social and political issues. I’d like to agree with that, although that could just be me grasping for any good reason behind Matty eating raw meat in front of thousands of people. It seems believable enough, right? Not really.

Vaguely political, elaborate, and bizarre—it’s that very description that makes their cult-like fan base loyal after nearly nine years. And yet that same loyalty is as unconventional as the band itself, with fans streaming into packed concert venues flaunting “I Hate Matty Healy” t-shirts all while spending hundreds of dollars on merchandise and throwing flowers on stage. The 1975 has never failed to attract teenagers throughout their entire musical career, providing a consistent lesson of the power of a unique sense of self.