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What in the world are the 1975 doing?

The 1975 gives fans something to talk about leading up to the release of their new album, Music For Cars

If you’re a fan of The 1975, you don’t need me to tell you that they’re a weird bunch, and I mean that in the best possible way. For the past five-plus years, the Manchester-based band has been driving fans crazy with their teasing and cryptic antics.

They certainly aren’t the first, or the last, band to dabble in the mysterious marketing arena, just like they aren’t the first, or the last, band to fuse synth pop with dreamy, industry-driven sounds (paired with lyrics so personal you wonder if you should be listening at all). What makes them weird, distinctive, accessible, iconic is their brand. The brand they’ve carefully and meticulously crafted since the birth of the 1975 and weaved into every release since.

In case you need a refresher: they came onto the scene in 2012 with two EPs – “Sex” and “Facedown”. In 2013, they released another two EPs, “IV” and “Music for Cars”, before finally releasing their first full-length album, The 1975, later that year. This first album was a masterpiece full of songs that effortlessly blend together to create a remarkable listening journey.

For a couple years following this album, their “thing” was intense monochrome branding. They didn’t use any color at all in any of their materials, except for in one music video (for the song “Girls”), which was meant to poke fun at modern pop videos.

Then, on June 1, 2015…. silence.

The 1975 deleted all their social media accounts, including their website, after posting an enigmatic message just a day earlier. Of course fans panicked when they disappeared from the internet altogether. Were they breaking up? Was their sound going to be majorly different? Was this the end of The 1975?

Fortunately for us, it wasn’t. The 1975 came back on all their social media platforms exactly 24 hours after deleting them, but this time with a white and pink logo, ushering in the I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It era.

The monochrome brand was no more.

The black and white music videos were no more. The 1975 was back with a new, yet familiar, brand and a new, yet once again familiar, sound on this new album released in 2016, while staying true to the messages and experimental musical style we know and love.

The release of the new logo and the new album clearly represented an evolution for the band, and this new era grew from the solid foundation they built with their first album. Reminiscent of what they did with the “Girls” video from their first album, they took the opportunity to poke fun at society’s obsession with celebrities and fame in the video for “Love Me”, and to call out haters on the Internet in the video for “The Sound”.

Based on the representation of the issues in these videos, we can clearly see how absurd it is that people are putting that much of their time and energy into things like stalking celebrities or trolling on the Internet. This could be a preview of what’s to come with Music for Cars, as the band seems to delve deeper and deeper into issues such as these as they grow in their career. Then they went and released a live album, DH00278, in 2017 without so much as announcing it. At this point in their career, fans have come to expect absolute malarkey from this band.

With their first era being monochrome and brooding, and their second being colorful and almost satiric, we could not be more excited to see what this next era holds.  

On March 21, 2018, the Internet lost its mind when fans realized The 1975 had deleted months’ worth of social media posts and blacked out their website once again. The deleted social media posts dated back to June 14, 2017, which was also the last day of their ILIWYS tour, and they made a comment at the show of it being the start of the Music For Cars era.

Shortly after deleting these posts, they started posting perplexing notes and messages on various platforms, all of which directed fans back to the1975.com to reveal a countdown clock. Counting down to what? You guessed it… 1 June 2018. Fast forward to today, and we have been led to believe that this will be the release date for their next album, Music for Cars.

So what are the messages they keep posting?

They are all types of posters with different images and captions, but there are a few phrases that seem to stick with each post: “A brief inquiry into online relationships,” “first disobey, then look at your phone,” and “if I don’t get to see the beauty of the end of culture, then at least I’ve seen the culture of the end of beauty.”

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The 1975 is no stranger to digging deeper into existential themes such as these. Personally, when I saw these messages I was reminded of the the first lyrics of “Love Me” off I Like It When You Sleep –  “And hey, would you like to look outside sometime? No, I’m just with my friends online…”

Moreover, many of the images in the posts feature virtual reality goggles and smartphones. These two pieces of technology seemingly represent how far humanity has come. Who would have thought that we could have mini computers in our pockets? Or be able to lose ourselves in a virtual world with a piece of equipment strapped to your face? These are huge technological advances considering where we were with technology 30 years ago, and is worth celebrating.

but at what cost?

But it seems like The 1975 is telling us that there’s more to the story. With all the technology that we’ve gained, we’ve lost something more important: our sense of self. Or, as The 1975 would say, this is the “culture of the end of beauty.”

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We always want more – more technology, more fame, more knowledge, more connection through social media, more, more, more. And in pursuit of that something more, we lose ourselves in the virtual world of technology and gossip and celebrities and we forget to live in the real world, in the here and now.

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We stop noticing the beautiful things that are happening all around us. This, at least, is my interpretation of what they might be getting at with all these posts and this next album. But what do you think?

Now that we’re so close to the album’s release date, the 1975 are FINALLY humoring us with a new single! Only one day before the damn thing drops but hey, we’ll take what we can get. You can expect to hear their first single “Give Yourself A Try” on the BBC Thursday night! Though we’ll finally get a glimpse into the album, we know it will only be a glimpse, and not even begin to touch on the album’s themes. Again, we’ll take it!

How do you feel about their social media tactics?

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