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Album Review: Notes On A Conditional Form by The 1975

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The 1975 are a British indie rock and pop band. While starting as a band of friends in 2002, they didn't release an official EP until 2012. Through that, they were able to gain popularity by opening for other bands. They also gained popularity and praise from their self-titled debut album in 2013. Now, seven years later, they released their fourth studio album titled Notes On A Conditional Form.

If you're a fan of The 1975, you know that the first track of every album is The 1975. This track includes a monologue from Greta Thunberg, who is a climate change activist. She first started to make headlines a few months ago when she spoke at a U.N. climate summit, and as of late for being on a committee for the pandemic.

People was an interesting track I did not expect to hear from The 1975. It is a punk rock-influenced track that talks about some of the issues they see today. They talk about the generation gap and how views differ from today's millennials and Gen Z, to older generations, such as Gen X and Baby Boomers. They talk about how the younger generation isn't being treated fairly and that they are the future leaders of the country.

After that, The End (Music For Cars) is an orchestral instrumental piece. It's a beautiful piece in my opinion, and I feel like the brass instruments are utilized well here, especially when they mostly come in during the grand and "high" points of the track.

Next, we have Frail State Of Mind which was one of the earlier singles for the album. It has a light feeling to it with the piano notes and the drumkit in the background. Frail state of mind can describe anxiety, or even social anxiety. The first verse talks about how it's unlikely that people will go outside because everything can be ordered with a click of a button. You can even get groceries delivered to your doorstep if you choose.

After that, Streaming is a quick minute and a half instrumental break. This track seems a little more all over the place compared to the previous instrumental piece. It just seems like a huge tuning session for the group.

The Birthday Party starts off with a traditional drum kit and grows from there with other string instruments. On this track, he talks about his past addiction to drugs and how he has come clean since then. You can hear some of those references on previous albums.

Yeah I Know is a glitchy electronic vibe that I actually enjoy a lot. Matt mentions being a fan of Thom Yorke, so it could have some influence on this track as it does sound like something from ANIMA. Just the vocals on top of the minimalist beat can be compared to almost any track off of ANIMA.

Then Because She Goes is reminiscent of the 90s rock scene with the layers of guitars. It's a love track about wanting to be with this girl again that he hasn't seen for some time. He also feels the same way about this person based on the first verse of the track.

Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America is an acoustic track that was made around the time of their previous album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. In the chorus of the track, he mentions "I'm searching for planes in the sea", which could be a reference to Neutral Milk Hotels's In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. Other than that, Phoebe Bridgers is a nice addition to this track.

Roadkill brings us back to a rock sound, but a little more light and playful. Matt said that the track is about touring in the United States and getting burnt out. There's a lot of different references about the issues he finds in the United States, such as the LGTBQ community being treated unfairly and gun control.

Me & You Together brings it back to The 1975's older stuff, such as some of the music on their early EP's. While this does have a happier sound to it, it's about loving this girl for a while, but she doesn't feel the same way about him. Even though she doesn't want to be with him, he's had several different scenarios about what his future could be like with her.

Next, we come to I Think There's Something You Should Know. It starts off slow with a piano, but halfway through the beat changes to a quick electronic section. It quickly gets back to the normal beat after a few seconds. Matt says that the track is about imposter syndrome and depression, and how he doesn't feel like himself. He wants to switch places with someone else if he could.

Nothing Revealed / Everything Denied opens up with a huge chorus section. After that, it quickly turns into a lo-fi type hip hop beat. On this track, he talks about life feeling like a lie, and he's trying to find a higher power out there. At this point in the album, he's at a low point and searching for someone or something to help him. The track ends with a small guitar solo.

Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy) is another synth-pop track. The track opens up with some samples from Just My Imagination by The Temptations. After that, you get your bouncy synth chords. On this track, this guy messed things up with this girl so they will never be together.

The previous track takes us to Shiny Collarbone. This is very more electronic and experimental in taste, especially since Matt doesn't sing on this track. They were able to recruit Cutty Ranks, who I was surprised to hear on this album. Other than that, Matt said that this track reminds him of the house music in Manchester.

With the distorted bright guitar sounds in the back, If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know) definitely gives off some 80s pop sounds. Based on the track lyrics and what other people are suggesting, this track could be about a camgirl that he met online. To add to the 80s aesthetic, you do have a saxophone at the very end of the track.

Playing On My Mind is another slow and acoustic track from Matt. He also brings back Phoebe for parts of this track, just not as much as the other one. On this track, he just speaks his mind about several different things, such as how long the band will live out their career or how it has affected his health.

Having No Head is the longest track off the album, clocking in just over six minutes in length. It's another piano instrumental track that starts out slow. Halfway through, the track warps to an electronic piece, a little more dance-like in nature. According to Matt, this was a track from George, another member of The 1975 who does stuff from percussion to synthesizer, as well as backing vocals.

After that, we have What Should I Say. It opens up with an eerie electronic beat that eventually morphs into a house beat. Matt said that this track was originally planned to be on the previous album, but they never got around to finishing it. As the track goes on, it sounds like your typical pop song that you would hear on the radio. Nothing too special from what we've heard from them on this album.

Bagsy Not In Net also opens up with an eerie electronic noise. Bagsy is a British slang word for dibs, but as a whole, it means football. During the chorus, he's asking this person if he wants to be with him forever, even in old age.

Don't Worry is another quick, under three-minute track. It's a track Matt and his father sung together. His father wrote a song for his wife (Matt's mother) years ago and this is his current interpretation of the track.

The last track off the album is Guys. This track is talking about the bands' relationship with each other and how they have always been friends for several years. They're glad that they haven't had a falling out and have always kept the band together.

As much as I loved their previous album, I wasn't too pleased with this album. Overall, the album seems all over the place sonically. One moment you have something calm and quiet, and then out of nowhere, you will hear a loud blaring guitar riff. I had high hopes going into the first few tracks of the album, but I quickly lost interest as the album drug on. Also, the fact that Matt said a lot of these tracks were originally planned to be on A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships makes this album seem like a B-sides album.
Overall Rating: 5/10
Favorite Tracks: People, Yeah I Know, If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know)

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