The 1975: The Voice of a Genre and a Generation

If you are a 90’s baby, the world around you is a constant reminder of the rapidly evolved culture and society within our short lifetime. The memories of Polaroids and portable CD players are nearly as clear as those of iPhone photography and headphone jack-less earbuds. We are constantly playing catch-up with technology as much as we are with societal ideals.

A culmination of these changes is the make-up of the millennial, and through this overwhelming absorption of advancements comes a loud presence of ideas. And what better platform to exert these ideas than the classically powerful one of music. For one, the infiltration of many forms and genres—such as rap and hip-hop—into mainstream music is influenced by millennials.

The 1975 (via rosewoodcreative)
The 1975 (via rosewoodcreative)

It becomes no question that millennial energy is the driving force for modern alternative music. The face of that disembodied voice? British popular alternative band, The 1975.

This recent trend of questioning millennials and their lack of mobility, humility, and general understanding of the deeper working of the world lies like a gritty film over the vast majority of the culture today.

The 1975 serve as representative of the new age, and the artfully confused millennial spirit. There is a reason this band is so successful in cultivating fans of the younger generation, because they so strongly capture this ever-changing charisma of a millennial identity. Bridged throughout their two-album discography are the glooming pressures of existence and the “change of heart” required to barrel through.

Alternative rock music as a vehicle is already a freshly innovative one that is rooted in nuance and driven to the extreme by the most recent of drivers in this decade. When The 1975 get behind the wheel, the motivations are passionately entrenched in utilizing the understanding of intrinsic mechanics in order to understand the extrinsic. Transitions through songs like “Me”, “Heart Out”, and especially “The Ballad Of Me And My Brain” and “A Change Of Heart” exemplify the distraught complications of inner turmoil that are used to create a brighter future—an optimism that keeps the wheels of this millennial generation spinning.

The 1975’s knack for lyric-less compilations allows a space for contemplation. Unique melody builds and changes offer an embrasure of wave of thought—a way of thinking that is malleable and non-static based upon circumstance. The underlying doubt of spirituality and the overall function of existence in “If I Believe You” is the perfect example of this. An intertwining of the self-reflective and the self-doubtful is “Lostmyhead“, debatably one of the most intricate and poetic illumiations of emotional and soulful processiong. There is a philosophical urge embedded within all the musical breaks that mingle with strong and honest lyrics, resulting in discussion and reflection on so many topics both inwardly and outwardly.

The 1975 during "If I Believe You" in Palatine (Photo via Alyssa O'Brenski)
The 1975 during “If I Believe You” in Palatine (Photo via Alyssa O’Brenski)

Not only are the musical outlets a place to get a grip on a political voice the way, for example, rock and roll has in the past, it is a mode of escape and getting a grip on it in that sense. The way that rock and roll approached politics was much more directly aggressive than the way alternative and pop music does today, but they operate in the same stimulating fashion—through the embrace of representation, love, and change. “It’s our responsibility to be compassionate, to listen to everybody, to listen to their concerns, to move things forward,” lead singer Matty Healy states on behalf of themselves and their audience at their London O2 show before their nightly moving performance of “Loving Someone”. Regressive ideals and fear of progression is not something that is going to be tolerated when it comes to the positively charged motives of this generation and what it represents.

You can say what you want about Beatlemania and the colossal eruption it caused in sweeping the globe, but this generation is something of a greater magnitude when it comes to dedication and identification to the musical art form. This fusion of identity almost becomes a dependency on the artists that take the literal and metaphorical stage in order to be a voice for both their decrees and their concerns. It serves as more than an escape; it is a projection of the misunderstood, the troubled, and the hopeful parts of today’s youth.

In the words of Matty Healy, “Fuck politics. Let’s do some dancing.”

Alyssa O'Brenski

Southwest-suburb born and raised, and attending University of Iowa. Chicago, its sports, and an infinite amount of music are a few things I can't get enough of.

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