(This is a long one, sorry.)
“I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It” is the second studio album by The 1975. It was released on the 26th February 2016, on Dirty Hit Records.
Firstly, I can’t help but start this off by stressing how long I’ve been waiting for this album. Their first album, sat, severely loved, yet in an unbelievably broken box, in the glove compartment of my mum’s car, has been the soundtrack to many an important journey. It’s been played and played and played, over and over and over. Since the 1st June 2015 when The 1975 deleted all forms of social media and disappeared temporarily (leaving “The 1975????” scribbled on the family chalkboard in the hall) to respawn into the new, “pink” era, I’ve been eagerly anticipating this release. Having seen them tour late last year and heard some of the upcoming tracks I was interested and excited, albeit slightly skeptical, to hear the tracks recorded. It’s incredible to think that a band could sell out nearly five nights at Brixton Academy (among other huge nights), two weeks after an album release, with fans going on one or two songs from the album. They’re also playing pretty much any festival you could conceivably imagine too this year.
Prior to album release they’ve released two singles- “Love Me” and “The Sound”. The first time I heard “Love Me” I was in the car on the way back from seeing Swim Deep at Banquet Records and I couldn’t help but be totally baffled by it, in a good way. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it wasn’t that (yet I was glad it was what it is). By the release of “The Sound” I’d gotten used to this new style and openly embraced it. They also let slip “UGH!” (there’s many debates over how this is said) and “Somebody Else” and, most recently, “Change of Heart”.
In the same way Matty Healy (lead singer) believes that the world needs all 75 minutes of this album, I think a track by track review is entirely necessary. It’s probably going to be a long one (I wish I was more sorry).
The album opens with “The 1975”, the same opener for the band’s self-titled debut album (same name and lyrics and all), but this time with abrupt stops and a heavenly gospel choir. It’s extravagant, you’d expect nothing less. It’s as though you’re transported into the idea of the album through the opener.
This swiftly leads into “Love Me”, an 80s inspired, pop dream. Complete with post-modern references and themes juxtaposing the 80s clad melody. It’s simple, catchy and makes me want to dance (what more could you want from a song).
“UGH!” is one of my favourites. It’s not too dissimilar to “Love Me” with its clear 80s influence. I love how seemingly “cool” it sounds, but you could argue it’s ‘poppy’ (and there’s nothing wrong with that).
Then comes “Change of Heart”. I’ve been really excited about this song since hearing it live in November. It’s a ballad. Nothing you’d expect from The 1975- but that’s what I love about the album. You might as well dispel any preconceived constructs you’ve built up around the band and album as it’s totally different to a lot of the stuff they’ve done before, in a good way. It’s all about embracing the changes and this song intertwines older material with a newer style. There’s plenty of references to earlier work, like “I never found love in the city” and “you used to have a face straight out of a magazine”, too.
“She’s American” first reminds me of “Settle Down” from the first album. Again, they played this on their last tour and I, honestly, wasn’t entirely convinced. However, the recorded version is extremely catchy and you can see it being a single. It’s the poppiest the album has got so far, without sounding cheesy. That was the danger with this song, but they’ve pulled it off. The lyrics are seemingly hypercritical of Americans too.
“If I Believe You” is a six-minute-and-twenty-second masterpiece. There’s something so gravitating to it. It’s full of biblical references and I feel as though it’s Healy questioning God to himself. It feels almost personal. It’s complete with a gospel choir which conveys this strong sense of religion, even hymn like (whilst the lyrics don’t reflect this). The song is tied together perfectly and is extremely poignant, as though he’s begging to Jesus.
Where would The 1975 be without instrumentals, eh? The interlude-like, “Please Be Naked” starts soft, almost magical, with pianos before building into this euphony of sound and then it winds down, sympathetically, back to the notes of the piano. It’s a beautiful piece of music, above all, and fits perfectly into this album.
“Lostmyhead” is composed of four lines repeated twice. It’s, again, simple. There’s something The 1975 do well in simple and there’s something they do equally as well in flamboyant and extravagant.
“The Ballad of Me and My Brain” is one of my favourite songs on the album. It comes across as Healy having a chat with himself. Opening with choir calls and “I think I’ve gone mad”. I particularly love the reference to Sainsbury’s. The whole song is, theoretically, an outpouring of emotion from Healy.
“Somebody Else” was released, not as a single, not so long ago. It’s laid back and quite chilled which previously, with the release of more up-beat songs from the album, seemed quite strange. It’s interesting to see the song in the album context. It’s encased with songs which complement it perfectly. I love the song. It just makes me want to dance.
Then we have “Loving Someone”. I love this song. It’s almost like Healy talking, not too dissimilar to “The Ballad of Me and My Brain”. I love its repetition of “Loving Someone” as the chorus. Its lyrics are quite genius too. It’s quite poetic in places, especially in the spoken word interlude.
The next track is the title track- “I Like it When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of it”- it’s mostly instrumental, again. It’s faster, more upbeat, though. With the last couple of minutes intriguing.
Then follows “The Sound”, the second single from the album, its lyrics are articulate in places and I love this about it. Above all, it’s a great song. Another one of those “I just want to dance” songs, an album full of them, with clear 80s influence.
“This Must Be My Dream” is the next track. It’s as though Matty is talking to us, as a listener. It’s chorus is catchy and memorable, completed by backing singers, and I think it works on the album. It’s dream-like and ‘fluffy’.
“Paris” follows. It’s poppy, but it’s quite fitting for The 1975 and this “bubble-gum”, pop era. Its lyrics are, again, quite beautiful and somewhat nostalgic. It’s reminiscent of the past and sounds quite like it could come from a musical or film. It’s a lovely song.
The album becomes more acoustic from here on. “Nana”, a tribute to his late Nana, is absolutely stunning. It’s sympathetic, poignant and, yet, simplistic in its factual and straight lyrics. It appears incredibly personal and beautiful. It also makes me cry.
The final song on the album- track seventeen- is “She Lays Down”, another acoustic treasure. It tells the story of a girl with melancholic lyrics and saddened tales. It’s like the end of the story. The album ends with Healy saying “that was it” and that, literally, is it.
The whole album is beautiful. It’s perhaps more a piece of art, as opposed to just a great album. What I love the most about it is that it works together as an album. It needs all the parts of it to help it come together. There’s every eventuality covered and it’s eclectic with its fair share of upbeat, fast songs, instrumentals and slower, acoustic songs. Each song is well thought out and the lyrics are incredibly interesting and articulate. I look forward to hearing many of these songs on tour. I look forward to seeing them on Monday (29th February) as part of “BBC Radio 1 Presents” (the first time they will have played since the release of the album) and on their upcoming headline tour.