The great surprise of last year was Carly Rae Jepsen's Emotion. Here was a songwriter known for Canadian Idol and for her single, "Call Me Maybe," which was the highest selling digital single of all time. And then, out of the blue, she released arguably the best top 40 pop album of the last five years. What artist is poised to drop that surprise this year? My money's on the 1975.
The British pop-rockers burst onto the scene in 2013 with their hit single, "Chocolate," and their self-titled debut album. I don't have a lot of attachment to that album. It's serviceable synth rock, but they never won me over the way they won over a legion of adoring young female fans. But, the band will be releasing their atrociously named sophomore album, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It, and while the name is a trainwreck of hilarious proportions, all three of the singles have been masterclasses in classical pop construction.
The band stopped by Saturday Night Live this weekend and although the story from that new episode might have been that host Larry David and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders shared the stage, the 1975 have officially won me over with their coked out charm. I'm not joking about that "coked" out part. Have you listened to "Ugh," the second single off the new album? Between that track and Matthew Healy's frantic gyrations on the SNL stage, the new album should be titled COCAINE!!!, and that's fine. Coke led to some pretty f***ing great tunes back in the day, and considering the 1975's roots in 80s throwback pop-rock, it's not all that surprising that they're going all-out in their embracing of everything about that scene. Matthew Healy is on the verge of evolving into his final form: a reincarnation of INXS's Michael Hutchence and he's making it work.
The yayo jokes aside, if the rest of the 1975's new album sounds half as good as the singles (and as good as this band sounded on SNL this weekend), there's a good chance that they could release the best top 40 pop record of the year. And, oh hey, what showed up in my inbox Friday as my shift was coming to a close? It's the new 1975 album. I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but you can bet your ass that we'll have a review going live in the days ahead. And if it lives up to its expectations, I'm pretty sure you'll be able to find me somewhere hidden in their crowd when the band takes to the desert at Coachella in two months. Are you ready?