Five years ago The 1975 dropped their monumental album I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, or as I’ll be referring to it (because effort gah) as ILIWYS. If you thought the 80s vibes couldn’t be topped after their self-titled debut, “aha, you are dead wrong”. The 1975 are a band with so much more to offer than your typical indie-pop band, delivering an entire era defined by it’s words and art, to the point of their live shows encapsulating the entirety of their songs personalities, The 1975 are a statement to the word ‘Artist’. I think it’s an underappreciated art to produce an album, make it go in various musical directions but seamlessly tie it all together and create a genuine universe for all its songs to coexist. But here proves that its all possible, and is utterly majestic when that happens. So as a brief inquiry (aha – nice right?) into the realm of ILIWYS, I hope you can look back on this album with me and appreciate the ingenuity that makes this record so bloody great.
After two years of so much identity with a black and white aesthetic, what better way to revitalise your sonic vision than with the bombastic colour of pink and the intro that is Love Me. A song that takes your hands and dances with your bones like a piss up that snogs you when you sit back down. Leading straight into the 80s drooling UGH! which delves into the topics of addiction, something frontman Matty Healy has been more than open about over the years. The music video based upon the incredible live show set, designed by Tobias Rylander which just has to be mentioned because it is enriched in beauty.
Then changing the pace the album goes into A Change Of Heart, a slow ballad that swoons you to sway during the comedown of a party. A pretty coloured song that blinds the facade of a story about two people falling out of love with each other. The 1975 have a knack for writing tear-jerking relatable hits, curse you Matty with your big words giving me the biggest feels. She’s American blasts in next, a personal highlight of 80s pop perfection, the synth bassline, the Johnny Marr / shoegaze-like hybrid guitars that caress you into a dream, goodness me that song makes me feel things on an inhuman level.
If I Believe You is a fan favourite that takes off next (although I have no idea why I say fan favourite as if other tracks aren’t faves also) a waltz that opens up a conversation between Healy and God, begging the question; “And if I believe you will that make it stop”, questioning Healy’s lack of faith and desire to have something to believe in, during a period of uncertainty, proclaiming “I’ll be your child if you insist, I mean if it was you that made my body you probably shouldn’t have made me atheist” Please Be Naked accompanies us next, an instrumental track that whispers in your ear so much with so little. A piano-led track that drowns you in the sweet sorrow of this little album I love.
Lostmyhead and The Ballad Of Me And My Brain drift into your ears, starting with a track with a lyric that quotes back to a song off the band’s debut EP. “Then he said I lost my head / Can you see it?” With that calmic haze being stripped away for a loud angry tantrum about the disconnection between Healy and his mind. It’s the subtle transition between the frail state of mind (ha reference) Healy has to deal with that makes this pairing so devastatingly divine.
Somebody Else, arguably the bands most popular tune is a slow ballad about the pain of moving on after a relationship and it’s hauntingly sad. The line “I don’t want your body but I hate to think about you with somebody else” is so simple yet so resoundingly relevant within so many of our lives. Somebody Else creates an involuntary emotional attachment to you and because of that makes it one that you can’t get out of your head.
It disapparates into Loving Someone, which has become an LGBTQ anthem. Delving in the topics of how disenfranchised the population is and the systematic homophobia within that.
“It’s better if we keep them perplexed,
It’s better if we make them want the opposite sex”
Which all leads to a Healy delivering a spoken-word piece to end the song that just pauses for thought but demands to be heard. With the backing music continuing with thumping bass and twinkling synths, drummer and producer George Daniels is a genius and the talent he shreds throughout this album is nothing shy of blessing upon the music scene. The almost instrumental ambient synth-scape title track of (okay I’ll do it just this once – deep breath) I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it injects a pure sense of vulnerability here, and if the work of Daniels and co haven’t impressed you yet then this surely shall, and the standalone lyric of “Before you go, turn the big light off” just gives me chills it’s beautiful… yET sO uNAWARE oF iT!!
Jokes aside, the albums biggest radio hit comes on in the form of The Sound that really bops with you no matter where you are. That hook of “I know when you’re around cause I know the sound of your heart” being tattooed on people all over, reposted all over Tumblr and such, covered to death but purely because it’s such a danceable and sing-a-long track. It’s music video flashes on screen with quotes of harsh remarks on the band from critics and such, many of whom now absolutely love the band so I don’t know what that says about media pandering.. But it’s a great song with a great video, check it out if you haven’t. The 1975 is a band that’s very self aware, it knows when to take itself seriously and when not to and I think this video is a brilliant example of that.
My favourite track on the album succeeds that one, This Must Be My Dream being this 80s pop powerhouse that screams in your face, god I just love it so much. Although it doesn’t get played very often, Healy once stating he didn’t like the song because it was so hard to sing. But I mean this was before the days of Love It If We Made It and People, so what gives Matty? But the cute Paris succeeds my favourite track, and this is another one of my faves, another fan fave and recently (well as recent as the last time they were on tour – yikes) revealed to be Healy’s favourite of the album, which is a very valid statement as the song is wonderful.
I give you that acoustic rendition because one, it’s stunning, two, it doesn’t get enough recognition and three, the next 2 tracks on the album take a more acoustic approach, completely bookending the last part of the album. Nana and She Lays Down close the album on possibly some of the most personal lyrics Healy has penned down. Nana about the way Healy deals with the then-recent passing of his Grandmother, and She Lays Down about the postnatal depression his mother had just after having Healy. Two incredibly personal tracks that expose the innards of Healy’s brain even more so than some of the other deeper cuts of this album. I shan’t quote from either as I think it’s best to listen to those songs fully to respect and appreciate the messages of each, but trust my they are witheringly pulchritudinous.
ILIWYS ends there, going through various sounds and heaps of emotion and is just such a phenomenal album. One of my favourite records of all time that I know I’ll cherish till the day I die, as will so many others. ILIWYS defines a generation of woe, lust, highs and downfalls that embedded within the DNA of Healy and The 1975, manages to enchant their audience in such a way that has never really been done before. The 1975’s fanbase is something different let me tell you that, but it’s a wonderful community I’m proud to be a part of. There’s a quality of emotional imperfection that ILIWYS narrates which touches a generation of music fans. From only 5 years, the impact it’s had is immeasurable, and I really believe will keep inspiring kids for years to come.
Happy Birthday, ILYWYS.
Listen to I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it on Spotify now.