In an era of all things pink, lest we forget when The 1975’s general aesthetic could only be described as a little… bleak. It didn’t seem like that back then, of course, but now when you put things in to perspective, The 1975’s first look was like the cocoon before the butterfly. Colouring aside, the Manchester quartet’s debut album really had them smashing on to the scene and for that very reason it will undoubtedly stand the test of time.
Written over the span of the band’s career which at the time racked up to a whopping ten years, The 1975’s eponymous first album had not only the best of the best from their previously released EPs, but also a few bigger, bolder tracks that turned the record in to something quite extraordinary. The sound they were plugging was unlike anything anyone had ever heard before and it made them, them. ‘Chocolate’ and ‘Girls’ were the radio-friendly, catchy tunes that drew in the masses, but it was lyrical masterpieces like ‘Robbers’ and ‘She Way Out’ that really stole the show.
There was an almost shocking aspect to this release, changing the face of indie from shit haircuts and repetition to something beautiful; to something stronger and unusual. The 1975 painted themselves as quite mysterious, not only with their contemporary material but the way the members of the band actually conducted themselves. It was hard to believe that the son of two relatively famous television stars was the dark-haired, skinny lad in all black singing about drugs and heartbreak, but there Matty Healy was, defying all odds.
With every song’s finish, listeners were on the edge. What was next? Who could possibly guess when nothing was consistent, but that was the brilliant thing about it. Healy was commanding the attention of anyone who dared listen after ten years of scrimping and scraping to get by; ten years of playing shows in empty rooms then suddenly becoming some sort of messiah to music fans everywhere. It seemed to happen overnight— they were suddenly selling out their gigs and gaining thousands of followers on social media on the basis of just one single (‘Chocolate’) and the hype of an album that hadn’t even been released yet. At the time, nobody was ready to have the status quo changed the way The 1975 inevitably demanded it to.
There are a few songs on this album that fans have held dear even to this day. ‘Antichrist’, for example, is an odd one in that it doesn’t really sound like Healy. It’s never been played live but the quartet have been hinting at possible performances of it this winter as they embark on their biggest ever tours in North America and the UK, much to the absolute delight of fans who have been begging for it to be added to the band’s sets for years.
The 1975 might have evolved between the release of their debut and their second album, this year’s I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, but it’s clear just how much they adore the former. After all, a fan can only imagine the blood, sweat and tears that went in to not only creating it, but touring in support of it also. The 1975 have continuously been declared one of the most hardworking bands of their time, and that’s something nobody can contest— even those who might not find home in their music.
As far as debuts go, you can’t get much better than this.