The 1975 release controversial single “People”


Photo by DigBoston

Thomas Tedesco, Music Writer

“Wake up, wake up, wake up! It’s Monday morning,” shouts singer Matt Healy in the opening line of The 1975’s newly released single, “People.”  Behind the alarming vocal, the band lays down a simplistic heavy alternative rock sound with a sense of urgency. While the band has been categorized in this genre throughout their career, this song is still quite a noticeable departure from most of their previous work. 

While The 1975 have been known to incorporate more of a pop and vintage 1980’s sound with an alternative rock on hit songs such as “Chocolate” and “The Sound,” this heavier approach has taken several listeners by surprise. Overall reactions to “People” have been rather mixed amongst fans of the band. Those who are aware of The 1975’s previous work are not surprised by the band’s creative risks but still may need to adjust to this drastic stylistic shift. Despite this, fans that are newer to the fold may be more apt to appreciate and accept the band’s more recent work.

One longtime fan of the band, Taylor, 22, from Niagara Falls, NY was very critical on the band’s new style and approach on “People”. She describes the mood of the song as, “tense and very angered.” She goes on to add, “I can maybe see where he was going with it theme-wise, but just the style and the way he [Matt Healy] presented it and how he did it lyrically was not, I think, his best performance or his best piece of work.” While Taylor admitted she understood that it is important for artists to change up their style, this change was not the best way to go about doing so.

Another fan of The 1975, Jamir, 18, from Niagara Falls, NY who is a newer fan of the band is more receptive and open to the heavy alternative stylings of the song. Although he said, “I didn’t think they would go for this kind of style,” since, “it isn’t soothing as in calming, it’s more of aggressive beats and sounds, as well as melody.”  Nonetheless, he still did enjoy the stylistic change and thought it was good to address that style as an alternative rock band. Jamir also added, “All I can say is pay attention to the message of the song… If they are trying to make an impact, this is a hell of a way to start”.

The general message of this song seems very self-indulgent considering that singer Matt Healy addresses all the current excesses that are present in the modern world. Throughout the song, he stresses that he nor his generation want to be slept on. Now trying to seemingly portray Marylin Manson in sound and image in this song, The 1975 are trying their hardest to change and discard the sound and image that they were initially founded on.

Even though The 1975 does not want to be attached to any specific style or genre, the lack of a cohesive vision is painfully apparent within “People.”  The band’s frustrations with fame and the superstar lifestyle are on full display in this angered and urgent song. In the seemingly confusing world that the band writes about living in, they respond to it with an even more seemingly confused sound and message. There are most likely many more directions The 1975 will pursue in the song’s upcoming parent album, “Notes on a Conditional Form.”