Album Review: The 1975 – Being Funny In A Foreign Language

On the band's fifth album Matt Healy's lyrics are more on the nose than a pair of glasses — but this is The 1975 at their most endearing.

“I’m feelin’ apathetic after scrollin’ through hell,” wavers The 1975’s Matt Healy above a distinctly ‘All My Friends‘-esque piano line on the eponymous opener to their fifth album Being Funny In A Foreign Language. “I think I’ve got a boner/ But I can’t really tell,” he continues.

Bathed in bathos and loaded up on the mood and language of the times, this is quintessential Healy. Like it or not, it’s a style that has earned the English pop rock band a rare and certain kind of adoration, at once reflecting a generation’s modern lived experience while pulling them into their own intimate circle.

The 1975 - Part Of The Band (Official Video)

On Being Funny, Healy’s lyrics are as clear and on the nose as a pair of glasses. Young people drinking Aperol. Public shootings. Cancellations. Casual and carefree masturbation. Men like soy milk. But though in the years previous, with the likes of 2020’s Notes On A Conditional Form and 2018’s A Brief Enquiry Into Online Relations, their ever-swelling following afforded them grounds for indulgence, here it all feels a little neat.

It’s not just a case of runtime either, though some fans did seem shocked to find only a modest 11 tracks. Some of the band’s more eclectic venturing has indeed been their best, be it the jazzy hip hop bop ‘Sincerity Is Scary’ or the 90s soulful R&B of ‘Nothing Revealed / Everything Denied’. But here the sound is pulled in tighter, building on the snap crackle and pop and the sheeny guitar pop they made their name with, as on the infectious ‘Happiness’ and ‘I’m In Love With You’, while creating valuable space for the piano seat creak of ‘Human Too’ and ‘All I Need To Here’.

These two styles feel in equal balance, and the effect is tender and endearing. Jack Antonoff’s production does well in this light, capturing the appropriate textures for each and enjoying its finest moment with the many subtleties of lead single ‘Part Of The Band’. But much of Being Funny‘s warmth comes from its moments of palate cleansing earnesty, as on its folk closer where Healy realises that “The only time I feel I might get better is when we are together.”

Catch The 1975 At Their Very Best in January 2023.

Being Funny In A Foreign Language is out today (14 Oct) on Dirty Hit. Stream it here.