The 1975 are masters of surprise, of change, and of timing.
And with the latter in mind, by some miracle as Britain spends a sticky, sleepless night ahead of a day melting in the kind of heat people used to travel all the way to a Costa for the pleasure of complaining about, the band have released a new track with a powerful message about climate change.
While fans know that a social media blackout – as happened last night – means news or new music is coming soon, few will have expected a new track to devour quite as quickly as this. That’s their first surprise.
And while we’ve seen the band evolve considerably on each successive album, from the naive, dreamy teen-pop chancers of 2013’s debut to the arch, experimental, post-everything band behind 2016’s ‘I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’ to the socially-conscious masters-of-bloody-every-genre of 2018’s superlative ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’, fans know that one thing has remained consistent across their records: the short, instrumental tone-piece that acts as their theme song, ‘The 1975’, which opens every album in a new, reimagined form.
We now know that the group’s much talked-about – but until now entirely under wraps – companion album to ‘A Brief Inquiry’, the forthcoming ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’, will, too, feature another evolution of the song.
And this one is its biggest, boldest revolution yet, because it features a brand new speech by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swede whose direct action, inspirational speeches and one-person protest inspired a global youth movement and, arguably, helped mobilise Extinction Rebellion.
For this brand new version of the track, Matty Healy and George Daniel travelled to Sweden to meet with Thunberg in person, recording this brand new, emotive speech that not just shows why she’s become the world’s leading voice on climate change, but challenges listeners to rebel against the establishment.
It’s a bold, brave move, and one that might be accused of being cynical had The 1975 not got such form in putting world events into music faster than their peers.
Where the Manchester group’s music has increasingly looked outward at global problems, it’s often been in an oblique way (think ‘I Like America & America Likes Me’ and its razor-sharp, stream-of-consciousness lyrics, or ‘Love It If We Made It’, with each line sourced from news reports, tweets and the big, dumb thumbs of Donald J Trump. This new version of ‘The 1975’, it seems, is not a continuation of ‘A Brief Inquiry…’ and words that look but don’t comment; no, this is the the beginning of a new era.
As if this all weren’t exciting enough, there’s more. Those who pre-order the album get the track now. And they get to find out the release date of the album: February 21, 2020. It’s all happening, ’75 fans.
Read the full lyrics below:
“We are right now in the beginning of a climate and ecological crisis.
And we need to call it what it is. An emergency.
We must acknowledge that we do not have the situation under control and that we don’t have all the solutions yet. Unless those solutions mean that we simply stop doing certain things.
We admit that we are losing this battle.
We have to acknowledge that the older generations have failed. All political movements in their present form have failed.
But homo sapiens have not yet failed.
Yes, we are failing, but there is still time to turn everything around. We can still fix this. We still have everything in our own hands.
But unless we recognise the overall failures of our current systems, we most probably don’t stand a chance.
We are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people. And now is not the time for speaking politely or focusing on what we can or cannot say. Now is the time to speak clearly.
Solving the climate crisis is the greatest and most complex challenge that homo sapiens have ever faced. The main solution, however, is so simple that even a small child can understand it. We have to stop our emissions of greenhouse gases.
And either we do that, or we don’t.
You say that nothing in life is black or white.
But that is a lie. A very dangerous lie.
Either we prevent a 1.5 degree of warming, or we don’t.
Either we avoid setting off that irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, or we don’t.
Either we choose to go on as a civilisation or we don’t.
That is as black or white as it gets.
Because there are no grey areas when it comes to survival.
Now we all have a choice.
We can create transformational action that will safeguard the living conditions for future generations.
Or we can continue with our business as usual and fail.
That is up to you and me.
And yes, we need a system change rather than individual change. But you cannot have one without the other.
If you look through history, all the big changes in society have been started by people at the grassroots level. People like you and me.
So, I ask you to please wake up and make the changes required possible. To do your best is no longer good enough. We must all do the seemingly impossible.
Today, we use about 100 million barrels of oil, every single day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground.
So, we can no longer save the world by playing by the rules. Because the rules have to be changed.
Everything needs to change. And it has to start today.
So, everyone out there, it is now time for civil disobedience. It is time to rebel.”