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With the release of The 1975's third album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, I came to realise just how much this band means to me, and how much they have truly shaped my life since I started listening to them. Let me take you on a journey.
"The 1975" (2013)
Surprise, surprise, the first song I ever heard was "Chocolate." I remember exactly where I was, lying on my friend's bed after we'd just got back from a gig in our city. I distinctly remember it starting to play and thinking "this isn't something I've ever heard before." I asked her who it was by and immediately made a note of it in my then—probably a battered Samsung—phone so that I could look them up when I got home. I immediately fell in love with every song they had out, from the band's EPs to the singles released for The 1975 (self-titled album) as I waited for the full album to drop. I became a huge fan, telling everyone about them, downloading their MP3s onto my phone, and re-blogging all their photos on Tumblr.
It was around this time that everything took a turn for the worst. I was about to endure one of the most challenging years of my entire life. It was my final year of compulsory school in the UK, and exams were approaching fast. I went into Year 11, just turning 15-years-old and not knowing what was wrong with me or why my body was doing the things that it was. I was terrified. I was missing school, losing weight, as well as friends, and breaking down. It was after about two months that I got diagnosed with GAD. Sitting in that counseling room, having questions fired at me like "do you get on with your family?" or "have you ever thought about hurting yourself?" or "how often do you experience those feelings?" made me completely recoil from the world. It was during this period that I almost used music as a safety blanket, particularly The 1975. But my relationship with the band turned sour, as I started to associate certain songs of theirs with memories—awful memories. So bad, that for YEARS after I would get a shiver down my spine if I ever heard the first note. One of these songs was "Girls," and arguably my favourite of theirs before everything changed.
But don't worry, this chapter (despite being incredibly long) has a happy ending. I made it through therapy, with the help of my amazing mother and incredible counselor Abbie (who I will always be thankful for), and I started to become myself again. I even managed to get back into The 1975, and I grew a new love for them, especially Matty (sigh) who had such a genuine way of addressing his feelings, music, and the world we live in.
"I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it" (2016)
This era was a weird one for me. Now, when this album came out, I was 17, about to leave sixth form in four months, and f**king clueless. When seeing the release of the title and cover I just thought, "oh christ help me I'm going to love this so much," and I was right. I remember one time actually dragging my friend back so I could put on BBC Radio 1 to hear the first play of "Love Me." Despite it going in a pop direction, a genre I have a serious love/hate relationship with, there was still that underlying indie-alt feeling to it.
I preordered the CD version, and when it came, I shoved it straight into my CD player (yes, I was stuck in the 2000s) and sat on my window sill waiting for it to start. I listened to it all the way through, dancing about my room and staring blankly at the walls when a song managed to completely stop me in my tracks with its intricacy and poignant lyrics. I, like old times, would tell everyone about it at school and force my friends to let me add their songs onto the playlists we would put on during free periods or art class. I was just so in awe as I didn't think it was possible for an album to be so artistic. Every song painted a picture in my mind and completely sucked me in. Funny enough, the same thing happened with this album.
I rarely listen to it now, despite having it on the prettiest clear vinyl (basic bitch alert). It just takes me back, you know? It's like I have a photo album in my brain that starts flicking through pages when a certain song comes on. So many songs have memories attached to them, ones that I am not so keen to relive, others that have pure happiness embedded in them. I don't know why I do this with music; I can't help it.
I think it's fair to say that, once again, this album helped me through hard times. I had exams, the rest of my life to think about, and social pressures that I am so glad I am now free from.
"A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships" (2018)
Fast forward to today, I am now 20-years-old, studying at university, and still so unbelievably in love with this damn band. I tried so hard to imagine what this album would sound like, and although for the most part I was completely wrong, I was no less absolutely stunned. I woke up, went straight onto Spotify, put the album on to play it through its entirety, and sat wrapped in a blanket on my bed staring out my window. I had no idea what I was in for. At this point I have been listening to this band for five years, longer and more consistent than any other band in my life. I can't believe the thought that I might be disappointed even crossed my mind. Let me just say this now, if you haven't listened to it, fan of The 1975 or not, you definitely should. I am so proud that they had the courage to write about very sensitive and high-profile topics in our society today. Something which many artists may shy away from for fear of being too controversial or losing their following, this band does not care. They will say exactly what needs to be said.
Now I am seeing them on their 2019 tour for the fourth time. I couldn't be more excited. I can't wait to hear this new album live and experience their show, which they put so much time and effort into creating, so that you feel completely immersed, like nothing else matters in the whole entire world for that short evening. It is one of the best feelings in the world, and one that I will never tire of or be able to get enough of.
Looking back, I often think to myself that I feel like I have changed along with each new album. Like each one did a perfect job of reflecting exactly what my life was like at that time. I can't thank The 1975 enough for the music they have produced—and for always being so kind to their fans. May they never stop making such incredible art.