I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It

On 26th February 2016, English alternative rock band The 1975 released their lengthy-titled sophomore album, which launched at number one on both the UK and US charts.

I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware 0f It follows their self-titled debut from 2013, and it is every bit as weird and wonderful. The sound has been described as indie, indie rock, pop, dance-pop, jazz, and even with touches of r&b and soul.

The album’s announce was done in classic cryptic messages, with the entire band deleting their social media accounts on 1st June 2015. But they were re-launched the following day, and lead singer Matty Healy posted an abstruse comic strip. Speculation flew around fans that the band were breaking up, but several more hints followed that this was actually about an album.

Sure enough, the first single, "Love Me", was released in October 2015; a song that Healy says came from he and his bandmates attempting to wrap their heads around the fame they garnered in such a short amount of time after their first album. The song explores the idea of Healy falling victim to the adoration he is showered with, becoming a narcissist in his own musical right. The song is the perfect lead single (and first song on the tracklist after the self-titled intro) to showcase the rest of the album, which seems to explore Healy’s endearing arrogance before delving deeper into the complicated recess of his mind.

Healy is slick but mouthy, and it shines through on every single song.

The second single, "UGH!", moves on fluidly from "Love Me", delving into the struggle of a cocaine addiction and Healy once again being far too self-involved, with wording that pushes listeners to think of him as intelligent. Yet, it’s anything but egotistical. The song is exuberant and not one to skip.

The fourth track on the album and the fifth single, "A Change Of Heart", slows things down and takes a break from the energetic songs that kicked off the record. Healy sings of a girl who he’s realising he doesn’t want to be with, despite the fact that she’s incredibly beautiful, because her personality is somewhat toxic.

The lyric, “I never found love in the city, I just sat in self-pity and cried in the car,” parallels the song "The City" from their debut album, specifically the repeated line, “If you wanna find love then you know where the city is.”

Then, the line, “You used to have a face straight out of a magazine, now you just look like anyone,” is in reference to a line from the emotional song "Robbers", again from their first album, which goes, “She had a face straight out a magazine.”

Suddenly, the fifth track cranks the mood right back up again, hitting us hard with the boppy "She’s American". Again, this song makes a distinct and noticeable throwback to the band’s first album, specifically the song "Settle Down". It has the lyric, “And oh, what a let-down, I don’t seem to be having any effect now.” "She’s American" repeats these words for us, hinting that the songs could be about the same person, with the line, “Look! He’s having a breakdown, oh, what a let-down.”

The song seems to outline more than just a cultural difference between Healy and his American love interest -- it voices his thoughts about being aware of what exactly makes him fall in love, and what real love is.

Moving onto the sixth track, and this is where the album takes a jerky delve into the bizarre. The 1975 have never been afraid to branch out with their sound, and this album takes that to a whole new level. With a full gospel choir to back him on "If I Believe You", Healy sings about how he’s firmly athiest, but is considering religion as an outlet and prevention method for the hardships he’s suffering. An interesting juxtaposition, but it certainly sticks, particularly when Healy references having religious visions when doing drugs in the past. From the song’s fourth minute until the end, it has a particularly euphonious sound to it, with Healy repeating the phrase, “If I’m lost then how can I find myself?”

The seventh track breaks things up with something instrumental. The song is called "Please Be Naked"; the wording of the title suggested nothing untoward, simply wanting intimacy and closeness in its purest form. The mellifluous piano and other unintelligible background noise pierces the heart quite deeply, constantly building and collapsing the sounds again and again until the end, where the piano carries on after the intense crescendo has fallen silent.

"Lostmyhead" is a track that’s entwined throughout other songs on the album. The eighth addition on the record has a multitude of muffled sounds in the background, seemingly carried over from "Please Be Naked", and guitars accompany Healy’s distorted vocals as he sings, “And you said I’ve lost my head; can you see it? Can you see it? Bellyaches while you’re in bed; can you feel it? Can you feel it?”

The title of the song seems to refer back to their debut album once more, and the EPs before that, where the band were known to squash the titles of their songs into one word. Is there a deeper meaning to that? Possibly, but it could just be for casual modern aesthetic. It also appears to be a complete rework of a song from one of their old EPs named "Facedown", which features the same lyrics.

The idea of losing one’s head is already referred to in "If I Believe You" with the line, “It’s just like I lost my head.” The theme can also be found in tracks such as "The Ballad Of Me and My Brain", which follows immediately after "Lostmyhead".

With the return of the choir sounds, "The Ballad Of Me and My Brain" is one of the most disguinshable songs on the album, standing out from the rest in its strangeness, but hard-hitting nonetheless. It keeps in line with "Lostmyhead"’s theme, about Healy’s mental health taking a bad turn, using the visual that his brain is literally missing. There’s a mention of a popular British supermarket, Sainsbury’s, with Healy thinking perhaps he lost his brain there. It’s a bizarre and seemingly out of place mention upon first listen, with the album’s lyric book even featuring a photo of a Sainsbury’s store on this song’s page. However, it could be a pointer to how Healy feels out of place in his fame. The song seems much shorter than it actually is, closing out with the same muffled singing featured in "Lostmyhead".

The tenth track is "Somebody Else", also the fourth single. It sparks a relatable feeling in all of us as Healy sings about the strange effects of knowing an ex whom he doesn’t want to be with has found someone else -- and despite not being interested romantically in this person any more, he still feels jealousy at the idea of them being with anyone but him. The song also follows some anti-technology and anti-social media themes previously presented in "Love Me" and "She’s American".

"Loving Someone" blends fluidly through as the eleventh track, giving listeners very much an opposing idea to think about -- tracks ten and eleven definitely rival each other, with "Somebody Else" feeling very much against the idea of further romance, and this song… doesn’t. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be romantic romance that "Loving Someone" refers to.

Loosely rapped verses with a catchy beat and impassioned lyrics makes "Loving Someone" another hidden gem on the album, with Healy throwing in a lot of big opinions that call us back to "UGH!". There’s a deep-rooted feeling of frustration radiating from Healy about what popular culture is doing to the young generation, and how he believes things should really be. The stand-out line of the whole album is buried in a verse of this song, “I’m the Greek economy of cashing intellectual cheques,” showing Healy is well-aware of the pretentious nature he is known to put across.

Track twelve is the title track of the album, and has very little lyrics to it, much like "Lostmyhead". It feels incredibly British with the phrasing of the minimal words, yet with something so simple, Healy still manages to tug heartstrings. The instrumentals of the track switch up once or twice, going from sombre to twinkling and somewhat childish, then to something akin to a dance beat before fading out.

The thirteenth track is also the the third single, "The Sound". It’s as upbeat and dance-inducing as its two single predecessors, holding some sharp-tongued lashes, with the somewhat eye-widening line of, “We left things to protect my mental health, but you’ll still call me when you’re bored and you’re playing with yourself.”

"This Must Be My Dream" follows, a scintillating song where Healy claims, “It takes a particular type of girl to put my heart under arrest.” The back-up vocals and a strong saxophone solo bring a more uplifting look at a song about heartbreak and shattered dreams of love.

The album takes a slow descent into something much softer, and sadder, as track fifteen sparkles to life. "Paris" brings forth the story of Matty meeting a materialistic girl with a coke problem larger than his own. The guitar plucks that the rest of the band bring to life beneath the lyrics keep the song from being overly heartbreaking, but the lyrics certainly make it hard to stay happy.

Track sixteen is titled "Nana", and the rarity of someone singing of a lost grandparent makes the penultimate song of the album even more painful. The music itself is soft and acoustic, with Healy once again questioning the idea of God that he brought up in "If I Believe You"; still somewhat wanting to believe he could be real, by saying, “I know that God doesn’t exist and all the palaver surrounding it, but I like to think you can hear me sometimes.”

The final line of the song is the ultimate sorry, with the music almost dying out as Healy hoarsely sings, “But I’m bereft, you see. I think you can tell, I haven’t been doing too well.”

The gentle taps and rattles of tambourines continue before the song comes to an almost abrupt end, reflecting on the suddenness of losing someone.

Perhaps the saddest of all, however, is track seventeen, entitled "She Lays Down". The casually recorded acoustic number does nothing to lift the mood, but it’s such a fitting way to end a record filled to the brim with Healy’s personal struggles with his mental health.

He sings a story about his mother and her losing battle with the extreme post-natal depression she suffered after Healy’s birth. There’s one line where he claims, “Well we got on a plane, going to see my dad again. She prayed that we fell from the sky simply to alleviate the pain… I’ve got no reason to complain,” and it easily connects with feelings Matty has had crossing his own mind, shown in both this album and the one prior.

This line is shortly followed by the harrowing, “And in the end she chose cocaine, but it couldn’t fix her brain,” displaying an almost surreal and painful connection to Healy’s addictions.

The quiet and subduing end to the album might seem out of place, but it appears to speak as a metaphor -- the highs will become lows, just as the record quite literally did. The softness of the final song does not take away from how much of a punch it packs, making it a poignant and fitting final number.

Matty’s last words on the album are just him speaking plainly and saying, “That was it,” followed by the sound of him seemingly putting down his acoustic guitar.

Whatever it was, it’s definitely the band’s most profound work to date. With the vividly lit live shows that have followed the album’s release, it’s clear The 1975 are only going to grow.

Bigger, better, and hopefully entirely more egotistical, yet completely aware of it.

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