Last Friday, May 21, English pop/rock band The 1975 released a new album, Notes on a Conditional Form.
The 22-track album of nearly an hour and a half of new music from the group fronted by Matty Healy is a layered listen, the group exploring a number of genres, styles, approaches and song structures that extend well beyond its established brand of emotional, reflective and shimmery pop.
It’s an album that is earning mixed reviews due to its aggressively challenging approach, the heart of the record being a boldness to try new things and push the envelope as far as it can go. There are also pastiches to other eras, including 1990s shoegaze (“Then Because She Goes”) and the use of two well-placed samples, echoing back to past decades of classic music.
The track “Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy)” begins with a sped-up vocal sample of The Temptations‘ “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me),” before the song launches into a reggae-inspired midsection. It’s a bit of a surprise upon first listen:
Said Healy of the song to Apple Music:
It reminds me of all the kind of proper pop music that I grew up listening to, like Backstreet Boys. And it’s like an ode to early Max Martin, late-‘90s pop. I don’t think we ever do anything retro. We never do anything pastiche-y. But there’s definitely a reflection on a certain time of our musical upbringing. And that was very much part of that. And it’s got a great Temptations sample at the beginning, and kind of reminds me of Kanye or something.
And the original:
Among the album’s mostly instrumental interludes and passages is “Bagsy Not in Net,” which swells with the orchestral beginning of “Sailing,” the breakout 1980 single from Christopher Cross.
The subtle sampling sets the tone for the track, and might solve a riddle for listeners who stumble upon the track without being able to fully place the sample on their own:
Here’s the sample in its original form:
The use of these two samples by the 1975 are indicative of the group’s reverence for what came before.
While the band has made itself a global audience with four full-length albums of earnest pop-rock, it’s that footing in what came before that helps the 1975 shape its sound and bridge generations in the process — and the band does it quite well.
— Christopher Cross (@itsMrCross) May 23, 2020
Stream Notes on a Conditional Form below: