FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2016 |
Posted by: Don Saas
"The Sound" has been one of the best singles of 2016 so far. British alt-pop outfit the 1975 are in the midst of a hellacious run and today is the release day for their new (and atrociously titled) record, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It. To celebrate release day, they dropped the video for the album's best or second best single, "The Sound" (it's competition for that title being the New Romantics meets chillwave number, "Somebody Else"). And it pains me to report that it is a petty, self-pitying mess.
In the 1975's defense, I understand what they were going for here. I was personally guilty of dismissing them as shallow, vapid synthpop ever since they burst onto the scene. I (for snobbish and honestly probably slightly misogynistic reasons) branded them as a "boy band" and decided they weren't worth paying attention to anymore. But every single from I Like It When You Sleep proved that they had more depth than that...and that they were just expert pop craftsmen. But apparently the 1975 can't let those old conceptions of their music go, and the video for "The Sound" is a whiny, "feel sorry for me" middle finger to their early critics.
The video starts off promising enough with the band playing in a cube under an intense lavender light and smoke. It's nothing especially memorable but it fits the 80s coke pop pastiche the band has been curating with this record. But then a host of vaguely sci-fi esque viewers show up and then the video begins to be intercut with title cards that are a host of what I'm almost certain are word for word complaints that have been lodged against the band. And it all ends with the 1975 trapping their critics in the cube as they can escape.
Are you f***ing kidding me?
Look, Matt Healy...you're better than this. You've already proven your haters wrong. You wrote a fantastic album that is getting great reviews. You're part of a massively successful pop rock band that is revitalizing the British alt-pop scene. Your music speaks for itself. And if you want to escape your image as shallow, preening, overly sensitive, emo, vapid frontman, the way to accomplish this isn't to release a video that presents you as a shallow, preening, overly sensitive, emo, vapid frontman fueled by petty vendettas.
We're going to be running our review of I Like It When You Sleep later today and, spoiler alert, it's a great if majorly unfocused album that continues this run of stellar commercial pop that Carly Rae Jepsen helped to kickstart again last year. And there's no narrative that I want to write more than "sensitive British rockers prove that bubblegum pop can still have bite" and the 1975's music has that bite. But videos like the one for "The Sound" are not how you generate goodwill.