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Being Funny in a Foreign Language: The 1975 Track by Track Album Review

Being Funny In A Foreign Language is the fifth studio album released by British ‘we’re not a pop band’ pop band, The 1975. With it’s catchy, upbeat melodies and funky guitar riffs, this album is the 2014 Tumblr, first love throwback we’ve all been craving.

The 1975 manage to capture so much of the essence of being in love with this album, while also discussing serious topics around freedom of speech and mental illness. The journey to this album can be traced back to their self-titled debut with the promise of echoey, drum-backed sincerity- however scary. This album is a pop-journey taking us on a ride into a refined and restrained band that offers more than just a head-bop.

The 1975

With piano backing that sounds vaguely reminiscent of the soundtrack to Luca Guadagnino’s ‘Call Me By Your Name’, the opening track to this album uses quite dystopian lyrics with backing instrumentals that would be great in film scene where the protagonist is having a minor breakdown. Shoutout to the lyric ‘sorry if you’re living and you’re seventeen’, I really felt that one Matty Healy. I also really love the flute, electric guitar and trumpets that come in during the last instrumental section of the song, they add a chaotic vibe to this pop opener that feels oddly calming.

Happiness

Oh woweee, I really felt like we were back in the 2014 Tumblr glory days of the 1975 with this track. The overlayed spoken vocals at the beginning, the romanticised lyrics about a non-descript love interest, the guitar riff – Listening to this song was dreammyyyyy and made me feel like I needed to chuck on an American Apparel tennis skirt and take my older brother’s cigarettes to go to a park with a friend.

Looking for Somebody to Love

This is my favourite track on the album. Serving ‘It’s Not Living If It’s Not With You’ and ‘Me & You Together Song’ energy, I am absolutely obsessed with this killer record. I want to put on an 80s workout video and dance in my pyjamas to this track, because it is SO catchy that both myself and my housemates are now obsessed with it – you’re welcome! And coincidentally, in a similar vein to this song, I too am all ‘bang bang bang, looking for somebody to love’.

Part of the Band

I get a strong sense with this song that the band are trying to discuss their disdain for how people can nit-pick on the internet and try to accuse anyone of being offensive, without directly saying that they are opposed to politically correct rhetoric – “I like my men how I like my coffee, full of soy milk and so sweet it won’t offend anybody”- While I don’t agree with the sentiment that we aren’t able to speak our minds freely in society anymore, I did think it was funny when Mr Healy took this piss out of himself with “Am I ironically woke? The butt of my joke? Or am I just some post-coke, average, skinny bloke calling his ego imagination?”

I think this track, while not one of my favourites on the album, has some really interesting lyrics that (as a former English student) I could spend all day micro-analysing the life out of.

Oh Caroline

It’s another pop classic!!! Move over Neil Diamond, Sweet Caroline (the track of every rugby game ever) has been swiftly replaced by ‘Oh Caroline’. This song reminds me of my first love when I was 14 as the song is about the singer’s obsession with Caroline, that’s driving them to have some very dark and existential thoughts. 

I think that this track has all the fun pop elements of the 1975’s earlier songs like ‘Heart Out’ or ‘Sex’ but in an older, more mature, and sophisticated manner – their sexier older sister, if you will.

I’m In Love With You

ANOTHER BANGER! You can’t help but bop along your head to this whimsical pop melody as it has such an easy beat. With a repetitive hook that’s certain to drive parents insane, ‘I’m in Love with you’ scratches the angsty teen part of my brain that struggled to express emotions.  This song feels like an explosion or release of pent-up feelings in a rom-com, young love manner, and honestly, I am here for it! 

Thank you Lucy, now it’s my turn 😉

All I Need to Hear

Ok this song starts with a “get out my record, when you are away” and I can’t think of a more perfect example of a song just to put on and mellow to. A lot of this album is banger after banger, but Healy is slowing it down with the sexiness of being told he’s loved. The Phoebe-Bridgers-ification of Matt Healy is well and truly underway.

Wintering

Music now has this trend of describing incredibly specific things and events and expecting you to feel a certain type of way with it. However, the upbeat backing of Wintering is putting in the work! I’ve never bopped my head so hard to hearing Julie from the co-ops’ news about her kids. Very Bleachers-esque production here reminiscent of “Not So Typical Love Song” because, yes, Jack Antonoff produced this track

Human Too

The taming of the 1975 is at its peak here; the effects are noticeably turned down here, only serving to emphasise the quiver of Healy’s voice as he asks, “don’t you know I’m human too”. It is the age-old exploration of how an artist knows who they really are when so many voices are telling them they are so many different things. This song is an attempt at reconciling who we think Matty is and what he thinks of himself and a gorgeous slowdown that finds itself with the content of a ballad but the comfort thoughtful stillness of a melody.

About You

The sonic sequel to ‘The City’ from their debut self-titled album; add a bit of David Bowie ‘Heroes’ vocal arrangement and you have a new song to play as you travel through Dartford Tunnel (Perks of Being a Wallflower reference there ;)). 

Carly Holt clarifies what this song is about; the short glimpse into her we get makes us feel the fading memories that come when you finally go to the city; when you find new love and new adventures. Top that off with some sax music and you have a classic 1975 track.

When We Are Together

The final track of the album. No, this is not only about Healy’s ex FKA Twigs. According to him, it’s about the myriad of relationships, specifically those between creatives. To me, this is the perfect final track to fit the album. There’s that happiness contained in memories that you can feel slipping as you finish the track, the laidback production is easy-listening as he sings about his life as a star. To me, this is where I understood the title of the album: Healy is funny when talking about his experience as he focuses on the cows on his sweater as an important part of his life. The foreign language is what he sings and tries to tell us: his life that we will never quite understand but he invites us to try.  

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