Updated: Dec 31, 2020
The 1975 released their fourth studio album May 22. Notes on a Conditional Form. A total of 22 tracks, the album is a creative variety of songs, ranging from a speech by climate change activist Greta Thunberg in “The 1975”, to solely instrumental compositions such as “The End (Music for Cars)”. Giving listeners this range of songs makes the album considerably more enjoyable to listen to. In the last track, “Guys”, there is a softer appeal to the song, creating a contrast from the usual upbeat theme of The 1975’s music. With the toned down mellow harmonies and pace, I felt like I was in a tranquil state of mind, yet still experiencing the meaning and purpose of the music.
Yet, this album feels like an experiment. It feels as if The 1975 came together in their studio one day, and decided to just string together a set of songs to produce this album. There isn’t much order, or general structure to the album. Listening to it did create a “last minute” environment for me. Maybe that’s the art of it. The uncertainty in what the listener will receive, the slight lack of focus makes it that much more appealing to listen to. The addicting beat in every song ties the listener in, such as in “Shiny Collarbone”. 2 minutes and 50 seconds of a techno-funk beat, and I’m hooked.
The 1975 has evolved throughout the decade, as every band does. The pop-like music in the early 2010s, with songs such as “She Way Out”, hinted with funky beats and vocals, or “Pressure”, with similar tones, define these early albums. Notes on a Conditional Form brings out a variety of tones and vocals that can appeal to different moods. Despite not having a common theme underlying it, this palette of different music is what gives Notes a sense of uniform, its own charm. From lighter songs, to the instrumental songs, to heavier, more upbeat songs, Notes is a string of different options that can appeal to every listener, while brilliantly lacing the band’s roots in every piece of music.