The 1975. Are you a fan? If you have kids, are they fans? I’ll bet they are, if they’re into the current alternative/rock/pop scene.
Their spectacular 55-minute set featured multiple phrases that flashed across large screens flanking the main Coachella Stage. One stated “rock ‘n’ roll is dead,” but the Manchester, England alt-rock band proved otherwise, especially with Adam Hann’s excellent guitar work. It was most prominent during the upbeat hit singles “Give Yourself a Try,” “Chocolate,” “Sex” and “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not with You).”
The band has hit it big with glossy, slickly-produced alt/pop anthems such as 2016’s “Somebody Else” and “The Sound,” both from 2016’s I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It.
Then, this past week, the band premiered “People,” a song indicating that Matt Healy and his band mates are definitely NOT content to ride the highs of the indie/pop world. A snarling, punk anthem with visauls that call to mind Marilyn Manson, David Bowie and My Chemical Romance, this is a stark contrast to some of the chart-hopping hits they’ve released so far in their career:
It’s featured on the band’s newly announced next album, Notes On a Conditional Form, currently scheduled for release in February 2020, and it’s a lot different from their previous material.
The 1975 also previewed the new record with a track called, simply, “The 1975,” a spoken-word introduction from activist Greta Thunberg regarding climate change and civil disobedience:
All of this is really wild. One of the biggest bands in the world drastically altering its sound and taking an approach such as this for what’s sure to be one of the biggest album releases of 2020? That takes some incredible confidence.
Confidence to not alienate an audience — or, more specifically, the confidence to not care about alienating an audience because you’re so sure of your message and what you’re expressing with your music.
That, at its essence, is “punk rock,” isn’t it? Fitting that the band’s single “People” is an angry punk anthem, then.
The 1975 started out its big set at Reading + Leeds last week with “People,” and it was a moment:
So stay tuned — the 1975 has a lot to say, and you should probably listen.