Playing with the air
Breathing in your hair
Step into your skin? I’d rather jump in your bones
Taking up your mouth, so you breathe through your nose.
—”The 1975,” The 1975
I didn’t think anything could beat The 1975’s first, self-titled album: a masterpiece devoid of filler tracks, whose every song was a tightrope-walk between bleakness and hopefulness. And so far, I was right. The band’s new album I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it (which I’ll henceforth refer to as I like it when you sleep) didn’t beat The 1975. Nor did it even meet its standards. But I still enjoyed I like it when you sleep—to the point where I play its best songs on repeat constantly. And I know I’ll look back and consider it one of my favorite albums of the year, even though it fell short of my expectations.
I like it when you sleep sounds happier than the rest of The 1975’s music. It’s a synth-filled, lyrically poetic stream of songs that at times bursts with exhilaration—before tracks that are mellower, like “A Change of Heart,” pull the album back to a moodiness that fans of the band are used to. I had always pictured driving down lonely night streets in my head whenever I listened to the band’s older stuff. With this album, I picture lonely night streets awash with a bright glow. Fittingly, that’s the aesthetic The 1975 is going for now. The promotional pictures as well as those in the album booklets depict abandoned nocturnal scenes with pink neon signs that spell out the song titles.
The album is on the experimental side, and though I applaud The 1975 for stepping out of their comfort zone, the more experimental songs sound like filler. Namely, the last four tracks on the album fall flat. “This Must Be My Dream” and “Paris” sound like contrite bubblegum pop, and “Nana” and “She Lays Down” are acoustic in a way the band just can’t pull off—these last two songs are far more boring than even their slowest synthy ballads. However, there are many songs on I like it when you sleep that are worth a listen—at the very least, “The Sound” and “The Ballad of Me and My Brain.” Tracks like these can stand against the best of the band’s older songs and lead me to believe that, no matter how discouraging it sounds, The 1975 should stick to what they’re best at—indie-electronic songs crafted with complexity and full of energy and emotion.
For this and more posts, take a look at “What We’re Loving – Spring Break 2016” on the website for the Nassau Literary Review, Princeton University’s oldest literary magazine: http://nasslit.mycpanel.princeton.edu/wp/2016/03/what-were-loving-spring-break-2016/