Give Yourself A Try – The 1975
It didn’t take me long to find the perfect song to start this playlist. As I told Andrew, I probably have played this song over 100 times in the last month or so alone. It’s one of those upbeat and happy songs you would expect to hear, but its lyrics are quite the opposite and the songwriting here is so brutally honest and real which I appreciate. I recently discovered this song last year or so, even though it was released around 2018 and I instantly fell in love with it. This song has probably some of my favorite lyrics. I mean just listen to those opening lyrics. There’s something so catchy and intriguing about this sound and the way everything works together – I just can’t help but feel good after listening and I will continue to share this song with everyone I know! (The music video is also super cool!)
Throw It Away – Joe Jackson
I’m loving the energy and tightness of the drum pattern – and that guitar – so upfront and in your face yet just gets better and better the more you listen to it. Another introspective and honest lyric from Matty – there’s nothing like being in your 50’s and listening to someone reflecting on life in their late twenties but as Matty sings – he’s a Millennial that Baby Boomers like – Gen-X too ;-p
At this point I’ve spent an hour trying to find the next track and it is eluding me – there’s plenty that kind of work but none that really dial it in – I’m so drawn to the sound of the electronic beat – I know there’s a track out there – just need to find it.
It ‘s the tempo of Give Yourself A Try which is tricky – it’s a lot faster than I initially think – which means segueing out of it is a little tougher – so – I’ve decided to match energy rather than tone – which – having a / b ‘d it several times – I’m kinda cool with.
We’re starting this list out balls to the wall – what you got Jenna!
People – The 1975
The energy!!! That’s exactly what brought me here. I absolutely love this track and it’s very different from their “usual” style. I always love hearing people’s reactions to this track. So, I was very interested to see what Andrew had to say about this track. Whenever I show another person this one, they have no idea it was even the same band who sings songs like, “Somebody Else” and “Robbers”. I mean I probably would have thought the same thing if I didn’t know them very well. This track really grew on me in the last year, It’s been making its way on my daily rotation. It’s like a jolt of energy instantly when I listen and I can’t help but scream alongside Matt. You know a band can do it all when I mean there’s really no sound or genre they CAN’T do. The 1975 continues to impress me more and more as I listen.
The Kids Are Alt-Right – Bad Religion
Oh man – I’d never heard this side of the band and I’m here for it!! I guess it makes sense that such a strong lyricist would have a track where anger at the status quo comes out screaming. Of course the irony here is that it was released in 2019 – if they only knew what was coming – “I don’t like going outside, so bring me everything here” – dude – you had no idea!
This was one of those times where I knew the next track – and this time not necessarily for the music but more for the lyric. Sure the energy’s still up there – what would you expect from Bad Religion – but it’s the sheer distress and almost shock – that in 2018 you could have young white men marching with torches, spouting Nazi slogans and anti-semitic bullshit. How the hell did we allow that to happen? Both these tracks were released as singles – it’s crazy to see how in less than a year we can go from Brett Gurewitz and Greg Graffin’s sense of outrage in alternative facts and the Trump presidency, to Matty Healy’s longing for Barack Obama and visceral terror that – if we don’t get off our asses – the kids really won’t be all right.
Sex – The 1975
I took it all the way back to 2012 for this one! This song never gets old. I still listen to this self titled album just as much as I do their newest album. I feel like this song started to define them back then, besides “Chocolate” and “Robbers” and “Girls” of course, but this style/ sound/ that they made theirs at the time and still relevant ten years later.
Tearing Me Up – Bob Moses
Ahhh, the heady hedonistic vibes of a debut album – when you’re still your audience – yet to be separated by success and we can all relate. Who hasn’t had the experience of crossing a line – hopefully most people ;-p – but if you have – you know how deliciously enhanced the whole thing is – the intensity of the physical magnified by the sheer thrill of how “verboten” it is.
And I’m thinking that while parts 1 and 2 of this series focused more on the music than the lyrics – at least from my picks – I sense that this list might just tell a story or two. I knew where I was going the minute I heard “She’s got a boyfriend anyway” – add in the ritardando at the end of the track and I knew the groove transition would take – so let’s dive headlong into sex we shouldn’t be having ;-p
Inside Your Mind – The 1975
This is one of those times when I listen to Andrew’s track and a 1975 song comes into my mind (ha) and I can’t ignore it. Maybe it’s not the most obvious choice to follow, but I definitely felt those instrumentals grabbing me and the tone. There’s a lot of space for the music to open up and breathe and just casually listen and get lost in. I didn’t even realize it was 7 minutes long either. I find myself in both of these tracks just hanging on to every word waiting for what to come next. I took a risk at lowering the energy but that’s the fun of this list.We both don’t know what to expect next! Now we’ve added a little piano and even more guitar and we’re off again.
Ruby – Foster The People
Well damn if that isn’t a spooky ass track – I mean – what a beautiful setup – the richness of Matty’s delivery – the heavily chorused keys and general space of the track – what starts out as perhaps a rather over-enthusiastic” declaration of interest soon enough veers off into rather creepy territory – accompanied by the guitar part shuddering off into off-key elements as if to say “Get the fuck out!”
My head was immediately leaping off into the Police’s “Every Breath You Take” – the original stalker track (no matter how many lunatics play it at their wedding :-p) – but it wasn’t the right groove. Ultimately I couldn’t resist the musical draw of the keys on my favorite track from Foster The People. I like to think that – as the story goes – our protagonist Ruby, somehow survived the malicious intent of Mr. Healy’s disturbing desires and did indeed manage to get out. Yet as we all know – there’s that period of time after a relationship ends where you’re beaten up and bruised – hopefully just emotionally – where all you want to do is curl up and hide from the world. But there comes a time when – no matter how bad it was – you have to get up and climb back on – I can’t think of a better track to help you through the process!
Paris – The 1975
While we’re on the lyrical subjects of romanticizing relationships, why not go to the most subtle song that uses the city of love to represent nostalgia while sharing the story of the ultimate course of things that went wrong. There is so much to unpack here and as a psychology major I’m here for it. Matt sings about the city the two of them never got to visit with brutal honesty about cheating, drug use, and just everyday life. Paris is a hidden gem in plain sight on their second album, “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it.” (Literally my favorite album name). I know I have probably said this multiple times throughout this series of playlists, but this has got to be one of my all time favorite songs by the band. Everything about it from the songwriting to the arrangement. I mean these lyrics stand out on their own. “Mr. Serotonin Man, lend me a gram. You call yourself a friend?” And “Oh, I think my boyfriend’s a nihilist”. I mean who else but them. I think about these lyrics way too often. This song does not get enough appreciation and it honestly blows my mind. The 1975 a few years ago released an acoustic version of Paris and it makes me feel a certain way.
Dear Jessie – Madonna
I mean – that’s just fucking great. Isn’t it?!
I’m sitting here with Bowers and Wilkins Px7 S2’s on – listening to the acoustic version on YouTube and – just – yeah – it doesn’t get much better than that. I could write about the track – the lyrics – the inevitable cultural understanding of “And so she wrote a plan for it on the back of a fag packet” but – instead I’m going to go back and listen again – suspecting that Jenna would recognize how I’m feeling.
I’m probably going to struggle to explain why this is the right song to line up after Paris – I mean – musically – you could say the structure of the verses have some kind of similarity – but – the word that’s dancing around my brain is – whimsical. Again – can’t explain why but I suspect it has something to do with how Jenna’s gonna respond to this unashamed paean to innocence wrapped up in a Beatles tribute. Come on boys – what have you got? 😛
The 1975 – The 1975
I wondered when we would get to one of their self titled tracks, and apparently we’ve reached it now. For new fans, every album by The 1975 begins with a self titled track. It’s become a tradition that I hope they continue to do that acts as a sorta intro or prelude into what you’re about to experience as a listener for the rest of the album. This one is their 5th one, and my personal favorite. I couldn’t ignore the obvious instrumentals that connected both of these songs. I also in some way feel like their meanings can make sense even though it seems like the 1975 have taken it in an opposite direction. I just had this feeling right away what album it was going to be on from the sound. “I’m sorry if you’re living and you’re 17”, is so powerful.
Baba O’Riley – The Who
I’ve been binging The 1975 videos – their Lollapalooza Brazil performance is just amazing – the tightness of the four of them on Give Yourself a Try is a joy to watch. Point being – I’m loving the development of the band in both performance and songwriting over the years. I’m loving the complexity of Being Funny…, the funky orchestrations and complex soundscapes complemented by Matty’s “zeitgeisty” lyrics. I’m looking forward to getting to know the title tracks on the other 4 albums – but this one had me reaching for a classic!
To be fair it was initially a sonic reference – that “jumbled” piano at the front end of The 1975 had burrowed into my head and for a while I had lined up Travis’ Chinese Blues from their ’08 album Ode to J. Smith (check it out) – but the more I heard the lick and combined it with the lyric – the more it became obvious that – well – every generation recognizes that at some point we’re all doomed. While Matty might feel bad for Gen Z / A – Pete had a little more faith in youth’s ability to get the fuck out of dodge!
I’m In Love With You – The 1975
I had to make sure I hadn’t already added this song to our other list, and to my surprise I hadn’t yet! I totally went with the catchyness of both tracks, from the melody to the hook in the chorus. Once I hear this song, it’s stuck in my head for about a week straight. I feel that way every single time I hear the intro of Baba O’riley. I recently watched the band perform this on Saturday Night Live alongside Jenna Ortega! Watching them perform this song live is incredible. You can really feel the emotions through their music.
You Make Loving Fun – Fleetwood Mac
I’m In Love With You has such a classic The 1975 feel – you could hear that guitar groove and know exactly who you were listening to.before the intro finished. There’s such a joy to the track – particularly compared to the first half of this list – you can almost hear the relief in the vocals – the “yeahs” and “woos” – the lyric “Don’t fuck it, you muppet, It’s not that deep” – the knowledge that – in the moment – life can be as simple as “I Love You” – it never gets old.
The sound has me reaching for Fleetwood Mac’s 1987 monster “Tango In the Night” but then I remember that I never really liked the album or the hits that came off it – a little “too” 80’s for my taste – but it did help me jump to this joyful Christine McVie track off Rumours. Again – it’s nothing complicated – “You, you make loving fun, it’s all I want to do” – yep – it’s as simple as that – as with the previous track – the sentiment never gets old.
Girls – The 1975
I don’t think Andrew and I have made a list without a Fleetwood track or 2 on there. I absolutely love every single one. I really felt the same upbeat feelings. Instant mood booster after pressing play. I couldn’t get the guitar out of my head. The insane riffs and catchy melody I was hearing led me to go back to their debut album. I found myself going back and forth between “Girls” and “Heart Out”, but I just let the instruments and the energy take the lead. Like most of the group’s songs, there’s definitely some sort of deeper meaning here too despite the casual listening.
Our Lips Are Sealed – The Go-Go’s
While the 80’s vibes are strong – the message is stronger: don’t shag people who aren’t of age – congrats Mr. Healy – this is a message I think we can all get behind ;-p With that said I recognize the sentiment here – from both sides – that feeling you have when you’re seventeen and think you’re so much more mature than you actually are, juxtaposed with the genetically predetermined need to want a mammal post puberty. Well – that’s what birthdays are for but – regardless – girls are never “just” girls ;-p
Which is where The Go-Go’s come in with wise words for girls of all ages. I always liked this lyric as it hits on two aspects – first, the whole “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” thing, which is of course not true – I mean sure, ultimately it is, but until you’ve been the target of malicious gossip, no matter what age you are – you don’t know how bad it hurts. I once had a bunch of middle aged women accuse me of being a Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan – I shit you not – didn’t feel terribly good and made my job rather difficult. (For the record I am not a fan of the klan ;-p) – but having people saying mean things about you sucks and sometimes you just need someone to hold you and tell you that it’ll be OK (The beautiful: Hush my darling… section)
But there’s a second message going on here – the whole “There’s a weapon that we must use in our defense, Silence” thing – which is just absolutely brilliant advice. It took me a while to work out that responding to gossip was the worst approach possible – it’s like adding gasoline to flames – I think the current terminology is “Don’t Feed the Trolls” – but I like to think there’s also an additional message here – in that – a true friend – the kind of friend who would play you this song – who might even know that the gossip is true! – but – as a true friend – they’d never say anything anyway – their lips are sealed!
TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME – The 1975
Without this list I’m not sure I would have really listened to the Go-Go’s before. Thank you Andrew, because I really enjoyed it. While Getting to TOOTIME from here was mostly a decision based on the music and the instrumentals on this piece really stood out. I felt the high energy and the overall happy tone I was hearing. I’m glad this playlist got to highlight some tracks from it more than the recent playlists we’ve done.
Matty’s lips definitely aren’t sealed in this track. I thought it would be funny to lyrically go in an opposite way. While this songwriting isn’t as endearing to some as the go-go’s track, it’s that message of honesty that I can get behind. Like a lot of tracks I love how the openness this band can be about literally any topic. This beautiful track comes from their third studio album in 2018. Which speaking of this album, “a brief inquiry into online relationships”. Doesn’t this track just about sum it up.
disco tits – Tove Lo
I’m writing this before I read Jenna’s write up for TOOTIME… but I’m on a roll and in a writing mood so thought I’d just drop it in before I forget ;-p I’m loving the overall groove of TOOTIME – there’s an almost underlying afrobeat and at one point I was A/B’ing tracks from Juls, Blaqbonez even some Hamza (for that Belgian vibe ;-p) but while the groove worked really well (and I’d have been stoked to hear where Jenna took it from The 1975’s catalog,) I kept getting drawn back to the whole sex thing – which – if you’re gonna be drawn back for anything – is probably the best thing!
So while Matty’s off being disingenuous in his forgetfulness and defensive attribution – I was thinking perhaps the better approach here is to meet sex head on and for that I’m reaching for Ms. Lo. While the video is hilarious and awesomely erotic at the same time – I think the groove of the track transitions nicely – point being – if you’re going to be having sex (either inside or outside your relationship) – make sure you’re having the best sex you can possibly have!
UGH! – The 1975
I LOVE Tove lo’s music.I also just recently just learned how to pronounce her name correctly too. Although, I will say this was a new track for me also where this has been all my life? I feel like I’m at the club or at some music festival when I press play. It’s a great feeling even when I was first listening to this track at 9:00 am! I can’t deny the similarities with TooTime. Someone should make a mashup of these two tracks. I couldn’t get the synths and that dance beat out of my head. This was one of those times I knew immediately what album the band’s track was going to be from, which was ILIWYS (the group’s 3rd studio album) and it’s full of that 80’s signature sound and grooves that blend so well here.From there, it was just narrowing it down. I had a choice between this and “This Must Be My Dream” and ultimately “UGH” was the winner. I think it has something to do with it’s just a catchy electro pop track to make you feel good and have fun while listening.
Sign ‘O’ the Times – Prince
Man this list has been a trip – I was looking back at the flow and it goes something like: High energy, zeitgeist, sex, dodgy sex, dodgy relationships, recovery, introspection, self reflection, existential retrospection, joyful sex, hedonistic sex, drugs… I mean – damn if you want to get a handle on Life – The 1975 are your band.
I confess for this transition I was thinking more about the music – over the last couple of tracks I’d been hearing Adam Hann’s guitar playing and just thinking “Prince!” – ‘cos well – that’s normal isn’t it – and as we’d somehow ended up in a cautionary tale about Cocaine it just felt natural to combine it with Prince’s expanded narrative that talkies on society as a whole!
Sincerity Is Scary – The 1975
This is it. I really felt like I was listening to a testimony. While I was listening to Prince, I felt like It was the vocal forward delivery and the story telling lyrics that felt like more of a conversation from the artist and the listener and that bit I picked up on that made me think of Sincerity. These two crossed paths somewhere. While Matt is singing about being human and going on about how being sincere in this world can be hard to find and this self awareness message hidden in the lyrics hit so hard.
If I had a penny for everytime I’ve said this is my favorite song by the band, I’d have… well you know. Anyway I’d argue this song has a special place in my heart and I’m glad it made its way here. It also has my favorite music video that fans of their earlier music will appreciate the not so subtle reference of “It’s Not Living If It’s Not With You” making its appearance in there.
I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free – Nina Simone
It’s a perfect track out of Sign ‘O’ The Times – after the crazy journey we’ve been on, to finish on a more upbeat note just feels right. Of course this isn’t any superficial pastiche of bubblegum platitudes – I’m pretty sure he’s writing to himself in this lyric – these are the words he wrote after getting clean and – I’m enough of a The 1975 fan to know Jenna’s reference to the “It’s Not Living If It’s Not With You” video ;-p
I gotta speak to the musical delivery – the riff straight out of Nina Simone’s classic roll, the warmth of the mix, Matty’s delivery – all of it dope, but it’s the drum performance that just slays me – the super draggy swing that strays soooooo close to the edge and yet somehow, miraculously, stays just this side of perfect and in doing so, creates so much space the track feels like a stadium. Yeah – it’s good ;-p
We’ve spent 90 minutes looking at the challenges faced by a generation coming into its own – the lows and literal highs that go with living free in the 21st century – but as Nina might remind us, these are lovely challenges to have compared to the lot of previous generations and indeed races. I’m not saying the problems of today’s white middle class well fed and educated Gen z and Millenials are irrelevant and non-consequential – they’re damn real and come in their own flavors of reality often marked by spiking depression, anxiety and suicide rates – but there is a difference between being in the game and not being allowed to take part.
What always hits me about “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” is just how uplifting the track is – for such a dark and oppressive topic, there’s such a joy to the melody and underlying structure that you can’t help but find yourself humming and even singing along. I have no doubt there were strong proponents of Jim Crow who in the late 60’s just couldn’t get those words out of their heads!
And that’s the genius of songs, of good songwriting – to be able to bring a message to an audience and connect, penetrate and resonate in a way that no other medium can do. Whether it’s Matty easing the isolation of a generation or Nina raising the consciousness of a nation – music, and the songs / tracks in which it is delivered – can change the world – can make it a better place.
This playlist, the Sounds Like the 1975 – Part 1 and Sounds Like The 1975 – Part 2 playlists before it, the relationship that Jenna and I have developed through their creation, the website we publish on and the social media accounts that share them with the world – all exist due to a deep and underlying belief that music can connect people across cultures, generations and nations. Jenna and I are living proof of that.
If you enjoyed this series, if it introduced you to a new favorite song or a lyric that got you thinking – if you found yourself considering other tracks that would have worked just as well, if not better – if you’re curious about the process and would be interested in possibly making a list yourself – well – as Matty might say – why don’t you give yourself a try – we’d love to meet you and create with you 🙂 Come and learn more here…
Playlist image by Jenna who was at the gig!
About the Curators
My name is Jenna Barton. I currently live in a small town in Illinois. Although I live in small town I have always been a big city girl at heart. I live near the great city of Chicago, where I try to visit as often as I can. I enjoy seeing new places and being around people. I'm not sure what my future holds, but I do know that music will be apart of it.
Music has always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. You can find me listening to music in between classes and during nature walks. Ive had a passion for music at a young age when I started my own musical discovery. My journey into music led me into the boyband area for a while, but now its very diverse and I am always looking for something new to listen to.
I wouldn't be able to pick a favourite artist or song right now because its constantly changing. Music has changed my life for the better and I want nothing more than to share that with you.
The first visual memory I have is that of the white upright piano in Singapore, Hell and the Dark Forces lived at the bottom, Heaven and the Angels at the top, they would play battles through my fingers and I was hooked.
As a psychology graduate I studied how sound affects human performance.
As a musician I compose instrumental music that stimulates your brain but doesn't mess with your language centers, leaving you free to be creative and brilliant without distraction.
As a creator / contributor at musicto I’m part of a global creator community that collaborates through music. You can learn more about our community here.