Album of the Week: The 1975

The 1975's self-titled debut captures what works best for the band: a fascination with and skill playing (ironically) 80s-inspired rock, as well as a gift for pop hooks. Some of the best songs on the album have been released as singles, including standout "The City," sex-ode "Chocolate," and melancholy-rock track "Sex." However, the rest of the album stretches the band's vintage sound beyond those three sharp tracks by refreshing the throwback feel with contemporary touches. For example, "M.O.N.E.Y" has a modern slow-groove, while still sharing sonic and lyric similarities with Cyndi Lauper's take on "Money Changes Everything." In fact, Lauper's early New Wave Pop on She's So Unusual is good point of reference for the album, which explores poverty, gender, urban landscapes, and romance. "Girls" even has a bounce similar to "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." The album also shares a lot in common with another 80s-inspired band: M83 (namely, the records Saturdays = Youth and Hurry Up, We're Dreaming). Like M83's most recent album, The 1975 is an expansive record that includes sturdy songs introduced by a prelude, "The 1975," and  cushioned by interludes ("An Encounter," "12"). The record ends on a somber note, "Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You," but ultimately is so nicely produced and performed that it remains a pleasure, despite some its somber lyric material.

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