A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships Review


Credit: Dirty Hit Record Company

British alternative band The 1975 are back after a two and a half year gap with their third album, A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships.

The first of two albums planned to be released within the next six months, A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships is the band’s first attempt at a concept album, an attempt that paid off. The album gives the band a whole new sound on many of the tracks, but maintaining the classic 80s inspired synth pop that the band found fame on as well.

One of the first songs I heard from the album was the single “Give Yourself A Try,” released in the summer. The song has an upbeat tempo and a blaring guitar riff that continue for the whole duration of the song. When I first listened to the track, I did not like the instrumental side at all. I found the constant riff loud and obnoxious. However, after listening to the song many, many times, I find myself dancing to it every time it comes on. The lyrics of the song are heartfelt, even mentioning a fan who committed suicide. Lead singer Matty Healy sings proudly “give yourself a try” throughout the chorus, creating a catchy tune that is sure to stick in your head.

The album gives the band a whole new sound on many of the tracks, but maintaining the classic 80s inspired synth pop that the band found fame on as well.

— McKenna Zacher

Another standout on the album is track 12, “Surrounded by Heads and Bodies.” The song has a laid-back feel, one that is different from most 1975 songs. It opens with a beautiful acoustic guitar melody that feels very atmospheric and relaxing. The lyrics are very simple and scarce, but allow the instrumental to shine through. This song is gorgeous and I highly recommend listening to it.

Where the album fell short for me was on tracks that were completely new territory for the band. While some of their risks paid off, others did not. One of these is the spoken word track “The Man Who Married a Robot.” While I can appreciate the idea and thought behind the song, its execution seemed pretentious and altogether unnecessary. Another thing that I didn’t like was the random autotune songs like “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME,” “I Like America & America Likes Me” and “How to Draw / Petrichor.” While I still like those songs, for the most part, they are tarnished by the unnecessary voice distortion and autotune, both of which hinder Healy’s voice. Even as a stylistic choice, I don’t think it is needed.

“It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)” is a fun, 80s pop-inspired tune that is one of my favorites off the record. The chorus is catchy and easy to sing along to, complete with a guitar riff that is sure to get stuck in your head. This song is for sure the most “The 1975 sounding” song off the album and is a nice, familiar sound in a sea of experimentation.

My favorite song off the album has come to be the final song, “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes).” The instrumentation is nothing like how The 1975 sounds typically and that’s what I love about it. The song starts quiet, only an acoustic guitar. It then layers with more instruments until cutting to Healy’s soft voice. It builds to the loud chorus, now more rock sounding with electric guitars and drums. Healy sings “I always want to die, sometimes,” singing it as a matter of fact. The lyrics, vocals and instrumentation of the song are some of the best I’ve heard from the 1975 and I strongly recommend checking this track out at the least.

Overall, A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships did not disappoint. Although some of their risks fell flat, I really enjoyed a majority of the album. I’m excited to hear the next project from the group and hope it is as great as this was. I definitely recommend giving A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships if you have liked previous tunes by The 1975, or if you want to check out a band that is doing new and different things.