The 1975’s comeback single ‘People’ is a bone-rattling rallying cry for humankind to sort their shit out

Last month, The 1975 released a protest song. Featuring climate-change activist Greta Thunberg, the message was clear: we’re pissing this planet up the wall. “Everything needs to change, and it has to start today,” she says on the twinkling reworking of the band’s intro track. “So, everyone out there, it is now time for civil disobedience. It is time to rebel.”

The 1975 have heeded the message. Their new song, ‘People’ is a complete act of sabotage and rebellion. A push-back to the naysayers and the critics who dismiss them throwaway pop music, and an act of self-vandalisation to rip it up and start again. They want to start a revolution, man.

This is typical 1975, though – they’re all about bringing a shock to the system. When kicking off ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’ era in 2016, the band came back with ‘Love Me’, a slice of pastiche-pop playfully mocking their new-found fame, ‘Give Yourself A Try’, the first single from 2018’s ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’ came wriggling in from out of left-field. Squealing and full of insecurity, it was a jarring return from the shimmering synths of their second album.

Well, of course, they’ve done it again. ‘People’ is the band’s heaviest and most confrontational moment yet. On it, the band finally embracing their love of cult US hardcore bands, for a thundering punk-rock slapper, that whiffs of the same strain as desert-dudes Queens of The Stone Age, via the pop sensibilities of Elastica. It’s electrifying stuff.

“I grew up with people like Converge and Minor Threat and Gorilla Biscuits,” Matty tells NME. “Every time I do a 1975 record, I just go through the catalogue of music, the mental rolodex. ‘Notes…’ is an interesting record, because it has our most aggressive moments and our most tranquil moments and they’re quite harshly lined up against each other.”

On ‘People’, Matty rages against streaming culture (“we are appalling and we need to stop just watching shit in bed”), the hurtling climate crisis (“it’s Monday morning and we’ve only got a thousand of them left”) and er, just about everything (“Well my generation wanna fuck Barack Obama, living in a sauna, with my legal marijuana”). It’s a rallying cry for us to sort our shit out.

This also isn’t the first time that the band have been the spokespeople for their young fans. ‘I Like America & America Likes Me’ featured impassioned, and frank, observations about youth culture – “kids don’t want rifles/they want Supreme” – though ‘People’ is far more forthcoming: “stop fucking with the kids” he screams like a man possessed; a protest song that rails against everything and everyone. 

Speaking to NME, Matty says that the song was written on the day the anti-abortion bill in Alabama was circulating earlier this summer. “I’m pissed off, man. You know, I have a lot of love and I experience a lot of love from my fans, and my family and my friends. But I’m pretty fucking angry”. ‘People’ may well just be the start of something livid… 

Check back on NME tomorrow for and interview with The 1975 about ‘People’, their new album and headline set at Reading & Leeds Festival

The 1975 – ‘People’ lyrics

Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!

It’s Monday morning and we’ve only got a thousand of them left

Well I know it feels pointless and you don’t have any money but we’re all just gonna try our fucking best

Well my generation wanna fuck Barack Obama living in a sauna with legal marijuana

Well girls, food, gear – I don’t like going outside so bring me everything here!

People like people they want alive people the young surprise people stop fucking with the fucking with the
people like people they want alive people the young surprise people stop fucking with the kids

Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!

We are appalling and we need to stop just watching shit in bed

and I know it sounds boring and we like things that are funny but we need to get this in our fucking heads

The economy’s a goner

Republic’s a banana

Ignore it if you wanna

Fuck it I’m just gonna get girls, food, gear – I don’t like going outside so bring me everything here

People like people they want alive people the young surprise people stop fucking with the fucking with the
people like people they want alive people the young surprise people stop fucking with the kids