On Your Way Down The Jungle Giants
2 September 2016, 15:36
As their much-loved self-titled debut turns 3, we look back and pick all our faves in order...
Three years ago today (September 2nd) The 1975 released their debut self-titled album which would later go to Number 1 in the UK and launch them on a path to global stardom.
So, as it's a special day, we thought we'd give the debut another spin and rank our fave tracks so you can get all angry in the comments and tell us how wrong we all are. Sounds fun right?
Good, let's get started then - in reverse order, here's our best tracks from The 1975's debut.
A literal breather on the record, the vocal stabs both soothing and disconcerting in equal measure.
A pleasant enough interlude, you forget how out of step it was even three years ago for a so-called "indie band" to put 1 minute wordless soundscapes on their record. A bold move and one that certainly turned some heads.
Our opening salvo, it certainly sets the scene for the epic length and scope of the record as a whole. Think of this as the opening credits to Matty and co's cinematic ambitions. Plus, we will be very interested to see if a tweaked version appears on every single one of their albums from now on.
The stripped back piano ballad sees Matty at his most raw, drawing the listener in with this tribute to his mother, pre-empting the subject matter of second album closer "She Lays Down".
An anti-party tune that still manages to kick any party up an extra gear, this would seriously go OFF if they added into the O2 setlist. Just imagine it. IMAGINE.
Modern production styles and a disjointed back beat produce an image of the kind grimy city streets Camden favourites like Jamie T normally evoke. The fact that it is also very danceable in the student union at 2am when you are literally out of all money is a handy coincidence.
Dreamy and soulful, this is the band's first remotely "gospel" moment, minus the choir they would employ on later tracks. But despite the lack of extra vocals, the reverb effect on the lead line, heavy backing voice and sax solo pave the way for "If I Believe You" and it's sky-facing hymn-like quality.
Totally devoid of any traditional song structure, this is more of a stream of consciousness, coining likeable phrases such as "vocal sabbatical" over an abstract backing, heavy on Ross' bass line. Bridges the gap nicely between their traditional band status and their desire to experiment and push boundaries.
Strangely absent from their current setlist, this single was a clever nod to their Manchester indie forefathers, summoning the industrial spirit of the 1980s Northern indie style, all dark raincoats and choruses about tower block, but give it a modern reworking to reflect on the struggles of dating and loneliness in the big smoke - a relatable topic for many.
Has their even been a chorus more quintessentially British than the phrase "For crying out loud - settle down"? The bubbling synths and off-kilter touches throughout give what could have been a "traditional" album filler more room to breathe, the beats and squelchy rhythms paving the way for "Loving Someone" on album 2.
Many wrote off The 1975 on the basis of this single, a criticism they would later revisit in the self-aware video for "The Sound". But put aside the fact that you have heard this probably hundreds of times on daytime radio and TV sport compilations and you are left with a fun, summery pop nugget that matches a dark lyrical topic (drugs? Or is it just about teenage rebellion?) with a catchy upbeat tone you can't stop getting under your skin.
Sexual politics and jealousy is a continuing theme in the band's songs, most recently articulated in the mid tempo jam "Somebody Else". Here however, the ideas of coveting someone else's girl is matched with arguably their most straightforward rock sound, reminiscent of indie stars like Kings Of Leon but without falling into generic imitation territory. Remains a fitting and energetic set closer in their current tour.
Pure confection, the video famous included Matty claiming, ironically, that the group were "not a pop band". The singalong chorus, jangly guitar line and tales of teenage love certainly beg to differ, creating one of their biggest hits to date. Side note - the can opening noise at the start is a really nice touch isn't it? Like they are opening up their fizzy, sugary "pop" side or something. Just a thought...
You cannot truly appreciate the genius of this number unless you have been on a Stag/Bachelor/Wedding party with a group of #LADS culminating in a messy night out in central Manchester. Having spent many such evenings in the Fallowfield area of the city, we can vouch for the authenticity of lyrics like "I met her out, dressed in nowt, telling everybody you were shagging about", further displaying Matty's knack for a painting real characters in the songs. Great beats too, as hazy and dazed as the sore head of the narrator.
In many ways this was the first sign of where the band would go next, adding some saxophone and even more synthed up 80s goodness to their guitar pop sound, paving the way for the second album's key cuts like "She's American" and single "Love Me". A former set opener, live it still warrants a HUGE response, particularly now that their stage show includes an actual sax player!
Now that they have grown into arena-straddling, festival slaying levels of fame, one rather sweet discovery has been watching the tortured love ballad grow into a lighters-aloft moment, sparking choirs of teenagers to join en-masse in fields and stadiums from Manchester to South America. It's also the perfect encapsulation of The 1975 as a band, defying convention yet still holding onto to a hummable melody. "Robbers" may have achieved a "Don't Look Back In Anger" level-status of anthem but not many of these crowd faves have lyrics as abstract and evocative as "Now everybody's dead, And they're driving past my old school, He's got his gun, he's got his suit on, She says, 'Babe, you look so cool'". When this was dropped into the set at Brixton Academy earlier this year, we saw young couples across the room join hands and sing their little lungs out. And isn't that what being young and reckless is all about? This tune will certainly outlast the band but, when they can provide moments of joy like this, we hope they ain't going away anytime soon.
So, that's what we think - but what about you guys?