On ‘Being Funny in a Foreign Language,’ The 1975 gets their groove back

Tori Coker, Content Editor

The 1975 returned with their fifth studio album, “Being Funny in a Foreign Language,” on Friday, Oct. 14.

Just in time for the 2014 Tumblr girl renaissance, it seems that after the dry spell that was their previous effort, The 1975 has gotten their groove back.

An alternative take on the eponymous intro track that has varied in sonics but sustained the same lyrics in opening every The 1975 album up to now immediately confronts listeners with a new body of lyrics which are arguably the album’s best set, with lead singer Matty Healy expressing that he’s, “sorry if you’re living and you’re seventeen,” and reckoning with, “making an aesthetic out of not doing well.”

1980’s vibes tend to be a given with this band, but this release takes a refreshing swing back to their mastery of the sound as demonstrated with sophomore effort “I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It,” (no, really, that’s what it’s called) and the single “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know,)” my personal lone favorite from their fourth record. Bathed in synths and sax and heart rattling percussion, “Being Funny” even ventures to borrow disco influences in between nods to classic pop-rock.

The band swaps their trademark melancholy and playful pessimism with near bubblegum-y lovestruck attitudes on tracks like “I’m In Love With You” — a standout on the release, brandishing one hell of an earworm with its hook and one hell of a Phoebe Bridgers cameo with its music video. “Happiness” sports a similar heart on its sleeve, with Healy musing against an airtight blend of horns and synths, “I would go blind just to see you, I’d go too far just to have you near.”

Other standout tracks include “Oh Caroline,” a timeless anthem for the hopelessly devoted that swims in dreamy guitars and lies where Peter Gabriel meets Toto. “Wintering” is a heartwarming ode to all the chaos that accompanies coming home for the holidays, boasting stream of consciousness ramblings about the endearing quirks of family.

“About You” is receiving all the rage on TikTok, and for good reason. If the haunting simplicity of Healy’s vocals and the nostalgic lyrics (which evoke the same feelings that look between estranged lovers at the end of Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” does) weren’t enough to move fans to tears, Healy’s revelation in the track’s Spotify Story that it was penned as a continuation of the band’s iconic ballad “Robbers” will surely get them there. The bridge of this song is perhaps the most exceptional part of the album, featuring lead guitarist Adam Hann’s wife Carly Holt lending an achingly wistful voice to the female figure in this story.

This album marks the band’s first time welcoming pop girl production aficionado Jack Antonoff to the plate — and wow, does it work for them. You can hear his personal touches here and there — “Looking for Somebody to Love” in particular sounds borrowed from a Bleachers album — but mostly, Antonoff’s clever ear works to take everything fans love about The 1975 to new heights.

While not altogether parting with the band’s trademark cynicism and weaponized irony, this album marks a surrender of sorts. In an uncharacteristic display of sincerity, the band moves to submerge listeners in the idea of love as something to hope for, to change for, to cling to in the midst of mayhem. At least for the 43 minutes and 32 seconds you’ll spend with this record, you’ll believe in it, too.

Rating: 4½/5 stars