The 1975 are one of the most polarising bands of modern times, mainly thanks to their throwback sound and the eccentric acts of their bizarre and often controversial frontman Matty Healy. Despite only releasing two studio albums a few EP’s, the band have developed a colossal fan base and are starting to back up the beliefs of their lead singer as one of the biggest bands around at this moment in time. They’re a true enigma and one which, for me at least, took much longer than usual to appreciate. With personal differences now put to one side, I can enjoy the music of the band and commend them for their risk taking in a fairly stagnated modern music market; this is The 1975’s top 10 songs.
10: Sex (from ‘The 1975)
Probably the most upbeat and pop-rock style song of any in the band’s discography, the brilliant guitar riff of Adam Hann is complimented with some great instrumentation around him and an equally solid vocal performance from Matty. This was one of the band’s breakout singles and the title of one of their EP’s but made it onto the debut album, it’s painfully obvious to see why. That guitar solo and drum build up is magical too.
9: The Sound (from ‘I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’)
A plunge into the new sound and style of the band, more electronics and synthetic risks being taken and this song is one of the examples of this. It’s a really funky track with an 80s vibe to it, much like the songs of Huey Lewis and The News, but in a good way. The second verse does sound like Matty has spent time searching through the dictionary for long words but somehow the onslaught of bulky words makes for pleasant listening. It’s also the song they finish their sets with and the one which had everyone jumping at Parklife, a real grower for me, much like a lot of their other tracks.
8: Girls (from ‘The 1975’)
One of, if not the most recognisable 1975 song is up next on the list, huge single ‘Girls’ broke through onto radio play and really threw the band into the public domain. It is a very radio friendly song that I will admit, but that doesn’t mean it is any less enjoyable or talented. Whether it’s the slick guitar licks or the blatant British vocal delivery of Matty, the song has a really nice 80s sound to it and it’s nearly impossible not to sway along to it or even tap your feet to the beat. Even now whenever this song comes on or the band play it live, the reception is first class.
7: Loving Someone (from ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’)
A coming together anthem of all walks of life, the band perform this song with the LGBTQ+ colours in their light show and it creates a beautiful atmosphere whether you’re listening to it at a live show or through headphones. I love the song’s progression and it’s atmospheric chorus mixed with a couple of spaced out verses. Matty describes this song as the real bonding of the togetherness and glory music can create between artists and fans. It’s become a really anthemic ballad that can be described as quintessential to the band’s musical avenue.
6: Settle Down (from ‘The 1975’)
As crazy as it may seem, this was the first song of The 1975 to grab my attention and that I actually enjoyed. I loved the funky slickness of the guitar riff and the emotion Matty put into the vocals, particularly in the chorus where he shouts his way through but it sounds great. The electronic keys which remain a constant throughout are fantastic too and give the band an edge and additional flavour which you very rarely find in bands these days. As I’ve delved deeper into the band and put personal differences aside I have realised that they do have better songs than this but it’s still a top tune and one which will hold an important part in my rollercoaster critique ride with The 1975.
5: Fallingforyou (from ‘IV EP’)
The most bizarre and unique song of them all on this list, this track comes from the band’s IV EP and is an electronic masterclass. As a general rule of thumb, I’ve never been too keen on the times The 1975 have tried to take too many instrumental risks but here it works an absolute treat. It also holds the iconic “I don’t wanna be your friend I wanna kiss your neck” line. The harmonies on the song’s chorus are very soft and pleasant on the ears and the whole aurora of the track just gives me a warm feelgood atmosphere. This is one which I would highly recommend to any who haven’t listened to the EP’s.
4: You (from ‘Sex EP’)
On the EP this song stands at 26 minutes long due to there being a hidden bonus track at the end, but this placement on the list comes solely from the first five minutes (ie the song itself). As the title suggests it is a direct address at a girl who isn’t trying hard enough for his love and is disrespecting him in ways such as “kissing all my friends”. The chorus is deliver e elegantly and soulfully as Matty repeats “it takes a bit more”; of course referring to the girl’s actions. My favourite part about this track alongside yet another fantastic Adam Hann riff is the bridge where Matty asks the girl “do you wanna dance” in plenty of harmonic lines and it’s just beautiful delivery. If you haven’t heard this one I would 100% recommend it, my first experience hearing it was just before Parklife when I was scrubbing up my knowledge for their headline set and I never looked back.
3: A Change Of Heart (from ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’)
In my review of the album I flagged this song up to be one of the standout tracks, that is still the case a year on. Yes the instrumental still sounds like something you’d hear on a reminiscent game of the Legend Of Zelda, but it’s something I really warmed to and found refreshing to hear. The harmonies are utilised on this song with effortless beauty and really help prop Marty’s vocals up in crucial moments of the track. The lyrics are very leftfield but they work a treat and, certainly not for the first time in their careers, break down the fourth wall and appear to touch the soul of the listener directly.
2: Somebody Else (from ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’)
Even in my days of pure unbridled hatred for the band, from the very first listen of their latest album it was this song that stood out as one which spoke to me and so many others about affection and the heartbreak of a troubled relationship. You can hear pain and sadness in the vocal delivery while the keys used in the instrumental are elegant and atmospheric, it was a real turning point for me on a personal level in terms of my respect for them as a musical group. A real coming of age for the band and hopefully a taste of what is to come from their third studio album.
1: Robbers (from ‘The 1975’)
Just staggering, simply staggering from start to finish. I love the way it blends from ‘Settle Down’ into this from the album, I love the progression of the narrative and thus the song itself. Instrumentally it is harmonic and beautiful while vocally it is gut-wrenching and soul-bearing from Matty Healy as he tells such a poignant tale. In the early days of my knowing of the band, I really didn’t expect them to have this sort of song in them, but now I feel foolish for doubting it because the talents they display on a song like this tell me all I need to know about them. Matty may be an insufferable pretentious oath at times, in fact 99% of the time, but musically he and the rest of the band are gifted.