In the past several years, The 1975 has risen to the forefront of Britpop bands much like Arctic Monkeys and the Neighbourhood. Fans have been eagerly awaiting the band’s third album, “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships,” since it was teased by drummer George Daniel in late 2016.
However, there’s an issue with the album — it falls short of all expectations. A combination of autotune, lack of cohesion and the order of the songs leave you confused takes what could have been an amazing album and turned it into something purely disappointing
The autotune issue is evident as soon as the album starts with the band’s classic intro song, “The 1975,” which has appeared on the first two of the band’s albums as well but has been stylized each time to fit the album. On “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships,” Lead singer Matty Healy’s voice obviously autotuned, which makes it hard to listen to.
This problem continues with “TOOTIMETOOTIME,” and “How to Draw / Petrichor. This is clearly for an aesthetic purpose, which misses the point. It takes away from Healy’s voice and is just irritating, removing the value from the songs, which would sound great without the editing.
Furthermore, “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships” was supposed to be a concept album similar to “I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It,” yet it doesn’t seem like it. Instead, it appears more like a collection of songs similar to their 2013 self-titled album. The songs don’t seem to have a specific theme upon first listen, but could have been more tied together if “The Man Who Married A Robot / Love Theme” was closer to the beginning in order to introduce the concept, instead of putting it in the middle where it just seems out of place and confusing.
All that being said, the album isn’t entirely horrible. There are some amazing songs like “Love It If We Made It,” which lyrically combines a love song with a bunch of political commentary on topics ranging from Trump to the death of Lil Peep to the refugee crisis. Somehow, it brings all these topics into one lyrically beautiful song. It also has very powerful vocals unlike any previous recordings from Healy.
The closing song of the album “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)” is a millennial anthem that many college students will likely find relatable. Plus it introduces a softer sound similar to Death Cab for Cutie than The 1975, but it comes across in a positive way and is a nice shift from the rest of the album.
Although “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships” is a bit of a disappointment, it’s still enjoyable to fans of the band. Despite the bad bits, there are some gems within the album and some people may actually enjoy the autotune, but it is an extreme shift from their previous albums.