The 1975 return at their very best with ‘Being Funny In A Foreign Language’


Allison Scherquist

‘Being Funny In A Foreign Language’ released Oct. 14, was announced to be the bands final record as a group.

Allison Scherquist, Entertainment Editor

The 1975 return at their very best with their highly anticipated 5th and final studio album, “Being Funny In A Foreign Language” After a phase of undue experimentation the band’s newest album is concise, intense, and unapologetically pretentious.

The album starts the same as every The 1975 record, with a call to the current state of the world. The band’s frontman and lead writer Matty Healy makes a sign of the times with the opening track “The 1975”. With sting-based production eerily reminiscent of LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends”.

The track questions American political culture in lyrics, “You see I can’t sleep ‘cause the American Dream has been buying up all my self-esteem/ While Qanon created a legitimate scene,” while simultaneously being self-referential to Healy’s personal life and cancellation “I’m sorry ‘about my twenties I was learning the ropes/ I had a tendency of thinkin’ about it after I spoke” The track sets high expectations for the album as Healy outros the song chanting “It’s about time/ And this is what it looks like”.

The jaw-opening track then clunkily flows into “Happiness”, a synth-punk-produced disco song. While the song succeeds in unique instrumentals it lets down in its lyricism, which is usually a strong spot for the band. Cliche lyrics regarding love and allure repeat throughout the track, leading to a rather monotonous single for the record.

However the album picks up its lost momentum in “Looking For Somebody (To Love)”, a horn-blazing, fast-paced track referencing the phenomena of incel culture in relation to American school shootings. With an infectious hook and Springsteen-Esque soft rock instrumentals, the song accomplishes what the band does best; Clever lyricism and imaginative production.

Healy then turns the pen on himself in “Part of the band”, which is the lead single of the record. Seemingly taking inspiration from Bleachers and Bon Iver, the song continues with the string motif previously established in the opening track. The orchestral whimsy allows the listener to focus on the lyrics, which unfortunately prove to be rather neurotic, and comes across more as nonsensical rambling rather than concise lyrics.

The band even seems to acknowledge their lackluster lyricism in “Oh Caroline”, a pop-pleasure occupied with blaring brass and delicate synths. Healy sings “I’ve tried to find another name a thousand times/ But the only one that rhymes is Oh Caroline” Similarly to “Part Of The Band” the song remains strong in its production but rather weak in its lyrics, mostly consisting of repeating the phrase “Oh Caroline” throughout the entirety of the near five-minute track.

The song then flows into “I’m In Love With You”, another single released for the album. The song yet again exhibits the same 80’s synth-pop sound as “Happiness” and “Oh Caroline” but includes a distinctly creative sound that causes it to stand out from the previous tracks.

However, it’s the second half of the album where the band’s work truly begins to shine. “All I Need To Hear” a studio single consisting of mollifying guitar and soft piano, the ballad is a distinct shift in sound from the previous tracks of the album. Lyrics like “I don’t need music in my ear/ I don’t need the crowds and the cheers/ Just tell me you love me ‘cause that’s all I need to hear” prove far better than the surface-level pop heard in previous songs on “Being Funny In a Foreign Language”.

The melody then transitions to the rather odd “Wintering” a Christmas song, referencing the family members of the bandmates. Despite the weird content choice and the peculiar lyrics, the heartwarming track has a catchy chorus that will surely get stuck in your head.

The 9th track on the album “Human Too” might be the band’s most personal song. With soft piano and soothing vocals, the track serves as Healy’s apology for his previous problematic actions. He references an instance when he faced online backlash for reenacting the 2017 Manchester bombings in a music video. “I’m sorry about the bomb thing, that’s overdue/ I’m sorry that I quite like seeing myself on the news” The lyrics acknowledge the band’s struggles with cancel culture and public outcry, and although certain lyrics come across as tone-deaf, the sincerity of the song makes it a staple on the record.

The album then ends with two strikingly earnest ballads. “About You” and “When We Are Together”, the former of which includes a hair-raising duet with an anonymous female vocalist. The string-blaring love anthem is full of vaporous vocals, cascading guitars and will surely engross any listener, The 1975 fan or not.

The latter of the two, “When We Are Together”, is a more personal end to the album—composed almost solely of soft guitars and loose strings. Healy alludes to how his actions as a public figure affect his relationships. He swiftly sings “It was poorly handled the day we both got canceled/ Because I’m a racist and you’re some kind of slut”.

The album then ends with an apology to the song’s love interest, with the line “The truth is that my ego is absurd/ I thought we were fighting but it turns out I was gaslighting you,” is stated before the song fades into its outro; a repetition of the album’s introduction, leading for a clever full-circle moment.

The 11-track album is the band’s shortest yet, allowing it to capture a distinct sound in a way their previous projects have not. With whimsical string-based instrumentation combined with an ’80s reminiscent disco sound, the production of the album is unmatched, and while the lyrism remains weak in certain songs. “Being Funny In A Foreign Language” proves to be a strong comeback for The 1975.