The 1975 have been consistently creating inventive and thought-provoking music since they released their first EP six years ago, so it is time for everyone to put their preconceived notions of what the band is to the side and appreciate them for what they actually are. When The 1975 started gaining popularity in 2013, their music was looked down on for being emo and snobby. It was during this time that I became a fan, and there were many people that would criticize me for listening to them because they believed that The 1975 made music for hipsters on Tumblr.
As time went on, more people fell in love with the band, but from what I have seen on the internet, there are still many people that hate the band's lead singer, Matty Healy. He is often labeled as being pretentious for the way he carries himself and the lyrics he writes, and I do not see why that is a negative thing. Is it wrong for him to speak eloquently and write lyrics that heavily use metaphors? If it is pretentious for someone to create music that requires deeper thought, then I think being pretentious is something every artist should aspire to be.
The 1975 have recently released their third studio album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, and it is without a doubt their most meaningful work to date. Healy openly discusses his heroin addiction on this album, a piece of himself that he had previously tried to keep hidden, and I believe that is something worth celebrating. He talks about his addiction in the song It's Not Living (If It's Not With You) and in classic The 1975 style, Healy juxtaposed the somber lyrics with an upbeat tempo. I admire him for publicly speaking about his addiction while also recognizing that is important not to romanticize it. When speaking about the track, Healey stated,
"That was the thing that I was always scared of—being an obnoxious celebration of that kind of sickness."
One of the most important songs by far on the album is Love It If We Made It because it summarizes the social justice issues that the world has faced these past few years. One of the first few lyrics of the song is "Selling melanin and then suffocate the black man" and this is touching on how white people are obsessed with the idea of making themselves appear darker because it is "trendy" while also supporting the murder of Eric Garner at the hands of an NYPD officer. Another notable lyric is "a beach of drowning three-year-olds." This is a reference to Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old boy that drowned while crossing the Aegean Sea during the Syrian refugee crisis.
Of course, you can not write a song about social injustices without mentioning Donald Trump. Healy directly quotes Trump in Love It If We Made It with the line, "I moved on her like a bitch." Trump said this in 2005 when speaking to Billy Bush of "Access Hollywood" about how he is justified in touching women without their consent because he is a celebrity. This is the conversation where the infamous "grab 'em by the pussy" line originated.
I am extremely proud of Healy for using his platform to talk about personal and global issues, but I am aware that there are people that think he is a hypocrite for doing so. Recently, he came under fire for an interview where he said,
"The reason misogyny doesn't happen in rock and roll anymore is because it's a vocabulary that existed for so long that it got weeded out. It still exists in hip-hop because [the genre] is so young, but it'll stop." Healy then went on Twitter and apologized and said, "This bit of me talking in an interview reads as patronising, uninformed and reductive. And to be fair it is. And I'd like to apologise. What I said isn't correct. And it's not all a misquote. Just for clarity I said that misogyny wasn't ALLOWED in rock and roll nowadays in a way it is in hip hop - not that it doesn't exist, that's maybe a misquote as I'm aware of the misogyny in rocknroll... I would never deny the RAMPANT misogyny that exists in Rock n Roll. It's everywhere and has been a weirdly accepted part of it since it's inception. BUT now looking at what I said - I was simplifying a complex issue without the right amount of education on the subject."
He then tweeted,
"I'm sorry if I sounded like the poster boy for both male and white privilege in that quote!"
Healy showed in these tweets that it is important to him to be an ally for women's rights and that he still has a lot of learning to do in order to be a good ally. He recognized that he is incredibly privileged because of being male and white, and thanked his fans in a separate tweet for pointing out his uninformed claims. It is impossible for us to not make mistakes while trying to unlearn all of the discriminatory beliefs that have been taught to us from the moment we were born. What matters is that Healy owned up to his mistake, accepted all the criticism, and continues to use The 1975's music to bring light to human rights issues.