#HotTake Review - The 1975: 'Notes on A Conditional Form'
(Photo Credit - Mara Palena)
The 1975 - Notes on A Conditional Form (May 22, 2020)
I always feel the need to preface my reviews for this band with a slight disclaimer - The 1975 is the greatest band in the world (according to me at least). So when they announced this album YEARS ago, claiming it would be their “best one yet”, and continued to postpone the release for one reason or another, my anticipation continuously skyrocketed. This IS their best album, hands down.
It is a fact you can’t deny that The 1975 has not only officially dabbled in every genre under the sun, but they’ve done it successfully. One of their first singles off the album, “People” is a hard-hitting punk tune that surprised us all upon its release months ago. Very uncharacteristic for them, but somehow, they rocked it.
Although I don’t always listen to The 1975’s instrumental pieces repeatedly, “The End (Music For Cars)” stood out to me on this record. It brings forth all of my emotions throughout the years of following this band to stardom as they end this “era” as they call it. This one is truly a masterpiece and literally brought me to tears. It is hard to comprehend that this band can go from writing “People” to this song, which deserves to be part of a film score.
“Roadkill” is another track that really demonstrates the group’s musical diversity. This one is a borderline country song but somehow the folk vibe folds right in with the rest of the album beautifully.
“Nothing Revealed / Everything Denied” is another track to pay attention to. This one is the “sequel” to “If I Believe You” from their second album. This one had a lot to live up to due to the highly acclaimed prequel. I was slightly nervous that this would be my first letdown on the album but I was so wrong. The song has a completely different vibe than “If I Believe You” but still meshes with the overall themes of the two tracks. Again, somehow, it just works.
Now for objectively the best tune on the album, “Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy)” is just classic The 1975 sound. Something I’m not even going to try to describe. Just please go listen.
The last song I will be speaking on is “Shiny Collarbone”. This is my personal favorite. The band has seamlessly tapped into the experimental-techno-EDM realm and it did NOT disappoint. The drop in this track is absolutely iconic. This was the point where I knew they had done it; who knew the best album of 2020 would come so early in the year.
Overall, the record is so special because it is parallel to their self-titled album. For instance, if one listens to “Roadkill” and “Undo” off of the first album, the two songs line up perfectly. The same goes for “Hnscc” and “The End (Music For Cars)”. “Nothing Revealed / Everything Denied” and “If I Believe You” off of their second album (ILIWYS) are the prequel and sequel of a dialogue about religion. The intertwining between albums that this record creates is nothing short of magical. It demonstrates the growth of the band from their formation 18 years ago and their rapid gain in popularity and prestige since then. From a fan who has been sticking with them for 7 years, all I can say is that I am so, so proud.
Seeing a group who started writing about sex and robbing gas stations to opening an album with a statement about climate change from Greta Gerwig and using their platform to their full advantage for the good of humanity- in the most beautiful form of a sound I have ever heard.
This is for sure an experimental album, and the experiments worked. This band tried so many new styles, sounds, and lyrics, and Everything. Just. Worked.
This album was not made for the general public. This wasn’t a grand gesture to attract new fans, or win over the critics’ approval. No wonder they don’t get it. This record was made for us and them. Only the band and their true fans really understand, and there’s something so beautiful about that.