“I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It” is the second studio album from Manchester foursome The 1975.
Led by front man Matthew Healy this is the bands first release since their successful self titled debut in 2013.
I have to admit I was eagerly anticipating this release and given that they have been dropping songs which were to be included on the set at the back end of 2015 I was intrigued to how the full long play would sound.
The tracks I had heard (Love Me, Ugh and The Sound) were all winners and I really believed that the 1975 were going to take what they had done on their first album and ramp it up a notch.
And for the most part they do. They do not come totally away from the formula created on the first album but there is more experimentation with instruments and styles of music. For me this is a wonderful pop album which is atmospheric and lyrically on point from beginning to end.
The lyrics are personal and range from themes such as drug use, depression and even loss.
The intro titled “The 1975” kicks off the album and sets up this church like choir vibe for 1:25 and then it kicks off with the superb rift of “Love Me”.
“Love Me” is a quintessential 1975 track. The guitars, the bass, the synths and the vocal style of Healy come together brilliantly. The song has a bit of the punk style in terms of the lyrical delivery from Healy with the song being about the arrogance and narcissism within a popular band.
It also references the use of social media and the judgement placed on the band with people wanting to change multiple things despite claiming to be fans.
This is a brilliant track and a storming opener to the album.
Things carry on in this vein with “UGH!”. This is another superb track as Healy sings about cocaine addiction and that he has tried to give it up but things didn’t go too well so he is not going to entertain the notion of trying to go clean again. Oddly the song is set in such a fun way it is easy to lose the point which is an obvious serious one about addiction.
“A Change Of Heart” is a slow number which I don’t mind until the synths used sound like a group of cats singing. It is so unnecessary and completely ruins the song for me. The rest of the track is nice enough but seriously give it a listen and tell me that there isn’t cats on this song.
Lyrically though the song is compelling. It is about falling out of love with someone and seeing them for who they really are. In the haze of drug addiction I find this song quite engrossing as the the obvious problems within the relationship still remain just that.
“She’s American” is unadulterated feel good 80’s influenced Pop. It is surely impossible not to enjoy this song on some level. It has a brilliant hook which I am sure you will be singing along to after just a few listens.
The song is simple lyrically as it just tells the story of how an English boy getting with an American girl can bring up so many differences between the two. Many of these differences are easy cliches and whilst this song offers nothing new to the 1975 catalog. it is still a few minutes of fun.
The album then takes a bit of a turn which is unexpected. The album’s largely upbeat opening then turns into a downbeat ambient sounding chilled out production.
“If I Believe You” is overly long at 6.20 but certainly adds a different dimension to the album. It’s a slow almost soulful song where Healy is at his retrospective best.
Healy is dealing with the theme of religion on this track and his lack of belief in a higher power. But the paradoxical thing about the track is he seems like he is trying to talk to God and make sense of what is going on in his life.
Musically it has a jazzier feel with a great trumpet solo and some nice strings as the song nears it’s end.
“Please Be Naked” sounds as though it is going to be an extraordinarily cheeky track but in fact is completely instrumental. This is the 1975 trying their hand at an ambient Brian Eno type of track. Personally I call this sleeping music. That doesn’t necessarily mean boring but it’s one of those tracks that would be on a Sleeping playlist on Spotify.
Again it is overly long and is no doubt going to isolate the more pop side of the 1975 fan base. A tad self indulgent I think but then I would believe this was the point.
“Lost My Head” is probably apt for this song and in fact this section of the album. This song does have some lyrics albeit very few. At around the 3 minute mark it does get a little more interesting musically but the distorted guitars do get wearing after a while and at over 5 minutes this song quickly became one to skip.
“The Ballad of me and my brain” follows nicely on from the previous track as Healy discusses his mental state and the price of fame. His vocal is raspy and more shouty. He isn’t so much singing but shouting in a pained way. I get what they wanted to do on this song but I can’t say I have too much interest in it.
“Somebody Else” blew me away when I first heard it and every time I have listened to it since it had the same effect. This is a really beautiful song. The production is polished and sounds as if they had been listening to M83’s brilliant song “Midnight City”.
Healy talks about his feelings of lost love and jealousy. He is finding it very difficult to deal with this break up and the thought of this girl with someone else is consuming him.
This song is my favourite on the album. I really believe the lyrics and what Healy is saying. He completely nails it.
I don’t want your body
But I hate to think about you with somebody else
Our love has gone cold
You’re intertwining your soul with somebody else
“Loving Someone” is another well produced piece as the band experiment with their sound. Whilst this album does have guitars this track is one of the more electronic songs on the album in terms of it’s production.
The song is sung in parts but also half rapped from Healy.
The title track “I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It” is a lengthy mostly instrumental track with some short lyrics that don’t seem to mean a lot on the outset. Self indulgence is going to be an accusation labelled at the band for certain tracks on this album and no more so than on this one.
Just as you think the album is about to delve back into the ambient nothingness of earlier on we get “The Sound”. This is the most upbeat track on the album and screams “hit” from start to finish.
There is a bit of a cheesy element to the song but I absolutely love it. It’s awash with 80’s nostalgia in it’s sound but it such a catchy track. It’s an anthem and I am sure they are going to enjoy playing this one live as everyone is going to be singing it. Lyrically it might be a little redundant but this album really needed this track.
“This Must Be My Dream” sounds as if you are listening to a song you have heard before. Again the 1980’s influence is prominent through another really strong track. The 1975 really impressed me with a track such as this.
“Paris” is one of the most interesting songs on the entire album. It’s tinged with regret, sadness and nostalgia. The song essentially is about Healy reminiscing about a trip to Paris where he meets a girl and they are both in a coked up state.
He believes this is the best trip ever but it would seem that he is so fucked up that he doesn’t really realise that he isn’t doing much at all other than laze around his hotel in a drugged up state.
Despite the nice tune playing over the lyrics this song is utterly depressing. This is about as low as an individual is going to get. Reality has disappeared and life has become blurred due to the addiction. It’s depressing and sad but at the same time it is kind of beautiful.
If sadness is a theme you don’t want to deal with on an album then do not listen to the next song “Nana”. This is about the loss of Healy’s grandmother and the pain he went through and continues to go through.
This song explain a lot of what is going on in his life. That might be the take everyone has on Healy but I really believe the loss of his grandmother has had a massive effect on the way he lives his life.
The lyrics are so sad in this song because they are so innocent. It is almost like a child commenting on what has happened to his grandmother. Healy also deals with religion again and that he doesn’t believe in a God but he will pray to him anyway.
I don’t like it, now you’re dead
It’s not the same when I scratch my own head
I haven’t got the nails for it
And I know that God doesn’t exist
And all of the palaver surrounding it
But I like to think you hear me sometimes
If you are not moved by this song then you have a heart of stone. The final lines of the song sum it all up for me. They are to the point, heartfelt and oh so sad.
But I’m bereft you see
I think you can tell
I haven’t been doing too well
“She Lays Down” is the 17th and final track off “I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It”. It is a completely acoustic song which is the only one of it’s kind on this album.
I like that even on the final track that The 1975 have come away from anything else they have done previously and shown another side to their musical variation. Whilst I do not find this track particular interesting the mellow way the album ends is fitting as whilst this set has upbeat and funkier tracks the themes that it includes are generally all destructive ones and drugs, religion, depression and death are all on display.
Overall I think this album is fantastic. I don’t say that about too many albums but whilst it may be a few tracks long and there is no need for the ambient breakdown in the middle all the other tracks are of such high quality.
It has taken the 1975 a while to follow up their debut but they have come back with an album which should please everyone. It has enough on here to bring in new fans, cater to the old one, supply pop hits and gain some songwriting credibility.
A pleasure to listen to.