They might be radio-bothering pop prodigies these days, but The 1975 aren’t just shiny-shiny-nicey-nicey sugar plums. They’re damn smart too.
That duality is down, in no small part, to one Mr Matthew Healy. His lyricism is complex, clever and catchy – he is, undoubtedly, one of this generation’s finest wordsmiths. Taking on everything from the absurdity of modern life, to the intimacies of his own struggles with self and his relationships with loved ones (and his drug dealer), no topic is out of bounds, or too sensitive for complete deconstruction.
We’ve collected together some of Matty Healy’s most genius lyrics below.
“Mr. Serotonin Man, lend me a gram / You call yourself a friend?” (‘Paris’)
Delivered with a frankness that would be remarkable, were this not Matt Healy we’re talking about, this is a straight up beg from Healy to his drug dealer for a free bag. Lovely. It’s delivered so beautifully that, somehow, it’ll make you feel dirty.
“It’s not about reciprocation, it’s just all about me / A sycophantic, prophetic, Socratic junkie wannabe” (‘The Sound’)
The 1975’s ultimate self-referential banger, ‘The Sound’ finds Healy taking aim at himself like never before, addressing his perceived self-centredness and the fact that loads of people think he’s a pretentious dickhead. It’s pretty brutally delivered, too.
“I’m the Greek economy of cashing intellectual cheques.” (‘Loving Someone’)
A bit of a moment in time, this one, but he’s referencing the huge Greek economic crash that defined the leading half of the decade. Not only that, but he’s comparing it to how, actually, he’s not as smart as he likes to present himself as. Niche, for sure. Genius? Yup.
“I’m looking through you / While you’re looking through your phone / And then leaving with somebody else / No, I don’t want your body / But I’m picturing your body with somebody else.” (‘Somebody Else’)
A heart-breaker, and the lyric that surely swayed a lot of people’s opinions on The 1975. A couplet that anyone can relate to, it took the teenage heartbreak of The 1975’s first album and turned it into something decidedly more grown up. After all, you soon learn romantic misery isn’t a purely teenager phenomenon.
“You said I’m full of diseases / Your eyes were full of regret / And then you took a picture of your salad and put it on the Internet.” (‘A Change of Heart’)
Ah, Instagram. Packed full of photos of lunches, it’s not something Matt Healy is too enamoured with. Much less so when you’re having a lover’s tiff. This brilliant comment on the absurdity of such situations was a highlight of album two.
“I found a grey hair in one of my zoots / Like context in a modern debate, I just took it out” (‘Give Yourself A Try’)
Oof. A pretty clear indictment of the binary ways arguments play out in the modern age, Healy’s attacking the black-and-white mentalities of all sides of modern discourse, here.
“Maybe I will wait until you’re fast asleep / dreaming things I have the right to see / Maybe you are dreaming you’re in love with me / the only option left is look and see” (‘Inside Your Mind’)
This one’s pretty icky. A tale of wanting to smash your own girlfriend’s head in so you can read her thoughts, in ‘Inside Your Mind”s second verse, Healy perfectly sums up the unassailable pain of not being able to know what’s going on inside the heads of those closest to you. A spine-tinglingly neurotic quip.
“We’re fucking in a car, shooting heroin / saying controversial things just for the hell of it” (‘Love It If We Made It’)
In reality, we could’ve picked any lyric from this absolute masterpiece of a song. The opening couplet gets the gold medal though, for sheer impact. A direct reference to an image that a lot of 1975 die-hards will relate to, it’s also designed to be the most obnoxious, attention-grabbing statement you could possibly open a song with. Mission accomplished, Matthew.
“And Danny says we’re living in a simulation / But he works in a petrol station – selling petrol” (‘It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)’)
Look, we might’ve only picked this one for that brilliantly whispered “selling petrol”. The timing on it is beyond belief. It’s comedy genius. However, the ever-so-sarky quip about the contrast between someone’s reality and their lofty, conspiratorial ideas is genius, too. (“Selling petrol”‘s still the best bit, though.)
But your death it won’t happen to you / It happens to your family and your friends (‘I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)’)
This one’s perhaps the most important lyric the band have ever written. The closing track to ‘A Brief Inquiry…’ finds Matty laying bare his own struggles with suicidal thoughts, completely free of the sarcasm and that precedes him. It’s a song that deserves to be heard by anyone struggling themselves – a frank, and honest, descriptor of the reasons that suicide isn’t the solution.