Frankie - The 1975 - The 1975
Has there ever been an album that annoys you but you love it all the same? It honestly took years of listening for me to finally decide that the debut self-titled album from Britpop band The 1975 was something I enjoyed, because I really didn’t at first. Perhaps I was just being overly critical, or a silly hard headed teen; I didn’t want to like them because they could be classified as “pop” in some form and they played on the radio and I didn’t listen to music that played on the radio. I’d roll my eyes when “Chocolate” came on the jukebox at the bars I wasn’t even old enough to be in and I’d loudly complain, “The only lyric I can understand is the word ‘chocolate.’” I don’t know when exactly the flip switched, but I know at some point I critically listened to the album and realized that it was a true work of art for a band in its early stages and its uniqueness was embedded in its unpredictability.
The 1975 are a band that will breach any topic and has followed their gut instincts straight into the spotlight, and it all starts with the same song at the beginning of their albums, the eponymous “The 1975” redone in a different style to set a tone for the album to follow. Their debut album’s version of this song is decisively pop to its core, but still maintains a melancholy tone by its lyrics. From there, their debut album continues on a trend of pulling inspiration from everything from R&B to 80’s rock ballads to the kings of pop themselves (R.I.P Michael Jackson and Prince; gone but never forgotten) while still remaining distinctly unique in sound. No one else at the time was or is producing the sound that The 1975 is putting out. The album covers topics including love, sex, drugs (specifically “Chocolate,” a song admittedly entirely about weed…), anxiety, impulsiveness, and the list goes on. It is purely millennial leaning in content without being necessarily supportive of destructive habits.
I know for sure my favorite song on the album is “Robbers” and it has everything to do with my boyfriend, Ty. Very early in a friendship, he recommended I watch the music video for the song, and I obliged and was immediately taken aback by the song and it’s video companion. I will stop there, as Ty writes for Alt Revue, specifically utilizing his film background to analyze music videos in the column “Film Schooled,” and I so dearly want his to write about the “Robbers” video.
I picked up a copy of “The 1975” from Used Kids Records here in Columbus, but I will admit it was not my first choice in The 1975 records; I wanted their third album “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships” as I can absolutely say I prefer it to their first album, but it was quite literally twice the cost so I settled on one I would have probably picked up anyway at some point. I get to see The 1975 this summer (thank you, Ty, for the wonderful birthday gift) and perhaps I’ll get the other one there. Either way, I look forward to any songs they choose to perform, as I’m not definitely a fan of all of them now.
Michael - Phoebe Bridgers - Stranger in the Alps
For this week's vinyl vault I selected a piece from one of my current favorite artists out there Phoebe Bridgers! Her Stranger in the Alps album is a simply fantastic example of songwriting and musical execution. Some of my favorite tracks include "Motion Sickness" which is about an interpersonal relationship gone south. I also enjoy "Scott Street" immensely. It reminds me of returning home from a long journey and seeing all that has changed. While I list these two, they are all strong tracks. The album had four singles including "Killer", "Smoke Signals", "Motion Sickness", and "Funeral". It was received with critical acclaim when it came out it in September of 2017.
Phoebe Bridgers' stripped, smart songwriting style is among the best in the alt genre currently. She has grown so much since this fantastic debut with her work with Boygenius and Better Oblivion Community Center. She is also among the most active musicians in the genre with how much work she puts out on a regular basis. Her star has grown significantly since she released her debut and now can be counted among alt's best easily.