SINGLE REVIEWS: Part of the Band and Happiness by The 1975
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WRITTEN BY: Lindsey Hernandez
After two years of silence on social media accounts, reactivation began with the message “Your new album. Your new era. Your old friends. The 1975.” The 1975 proceeded to introduce “Part of the Band” as the lead single to their upcoming album, Being Funny in a Foreign Language (Expected Oct. 14th). Posters appeared around the city of London as Dork initially reported.
The album title references The 1975’s aging attempt at connecting to Gen Z internet culture. Frontman Matty Healy nodded at this by posting a slew of memes to his Instagram Stories on July 6th, leading up to the single’s release. Following the deactivation of his Twitter account out of controversy—referenced in the first verse of the song, “My, my, my, cancellations”—Matty Healy told Pitchfork, “If I want to write about the Culture War, I don’t want to be a pawn in it anymore.” For better or for worse, the frontman is still absent from Twitter and only active his instagram account trumanblack.
“Part of the Band” was co-produced by Healy, percussionist George Daniels, and Jack Antonoff (Bleachers), and features backing vocals by Michelle Zauner (Japanese Breakfast). The single has a fluttery string accompaniment with bells and whistles that are reminiscent of artists like Vampire Weekend and Bon Iver. There’s a gentle yet apparent folk influence on the track that will definitely be divisive for those that preferred the 2014 grunge aesthetics of The 1975’s self-titled debut album—though anyone who is familiar with the band should be used to the unpredictability.
In the opening verse of the song, Healy rambles, “My, my, my imagination,” hinting that he’s being more contemplative than usual. The rest of the lyrics reflect equally on Healy’s professional and love life with a melancholy that showcases a new level of self awareness. In the final verse, he ponders, “Am I ironically woke? The butt of my joke? Or am I just some post-coke, average, skinny bloke?”
When I first heard “Happiness,” I immediately thought of the 80’s bubble gum pop of The 1975’s sophomore album, I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it. “Happiness” truly feels as if the band is paying homage to their previous record, except with a more optimistic and lovesick tone, compared to the more emotional ballads about narcissism and addiction on their older album. The single has a noticeable new wave influence which has yet to be seen in any of their previous tracks. One of my favorite things about this single is the incredible saxophone feature that makes this song feel a lot more extravagant than usual.
Jack Antonoff of Bleachers has been announced as a featured producer on the upcoming album Being Funny in a Foreign Language. Healy told Apple Music 1 that the track was created from a genuine jam sesh, and that “Happiness” “Doesn’t have much structure…, we haven’t done that in years.” The chorus of the song cries, “Show me your love, why don’t you?,” which is a significantly more hopeful outlook on love than what we’re used to hearing from The 1975. The single was released in turn with a music video that features the band performing “Happiness” live with a compilation of settings and various outfits. When asked about the video Healy said to Billboard, “It’s us having fun.”
The 1975 has always been consistent at showcasing growth throughout their albums, and these singles show that we can expect a new level of maturity on Being Funny in a Foreign Language. At just 11 songs total, the album is slightly more concise than their typical record, but I’m sure it will be packed with just as much sound. The band also announced 23 tour dates across the United States with a handful of dates in Canada and Mexico. With the release of “Happiness” and “Part of the Band,” The 1975 is setting a high standard for what seems to be their most explorative album yet.