Matty Healy, looking for a way between pop and Bon Iver

Matty Healy, looking for a way between pop and Bon Iver

Last week the frontman of The 1975 Matty Healy was praised by Robbie Williams who indicated it as unique among today's pop-rock stars which differs from the general greyness. Today the musician born near London turns 35. We celebrate it by offering you to read our review of his band's latest album, “Being funny in a foreign language”released in October 2022.

It starts like a Bon Iver album, with those rarefied and minimalist atmospheres typical of Justin Vernon's albums, with the voice that seems to come from a very distant point, masked by the effects. But already in the second piece it becomes a more danceable Coldplay record, those of “A head full of dreams”, between funk and ultrapop, continuing to flirt with the revival of the 80s – this time the more synthetic ones – of Chris Martin's band in ” Looking for somebody (To love)”. Three minutes later and in “Part of the band” we are back in the bucolic and rural territories of Bon Iver (complete with “ma ma ma” which sounds like “Skinny love”), between strings and acoustic guitars. Perhaps the 1975 had to do something else, to be able to find their dimension again at the end of a recording silence that lasted two years and a revolution within their working group.

After the separation from Mike Crossey, the first, historic producer of the British band, alongside the 1975 from the beginning until “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it” in 2016, this time it was the head – so to speak – of Jonathan Gilmore, another historic collaborator of the formation led by Matt Healy.

Only this time the changeover in the production cabin was more troubled than expected (and you can feel it when listening to the album). At first the 1975 had decided to entrust the bunch of songs destined to be part of “Being funny in a foreign language”, the ideal successor of “Notes on a conditional form”, to BJ Burton, Justin's alter-ego Vernon, the producer behind the minimalist and introspective sound of Bon Iver's records.

“1975” (superstitious title recurring in every album of the group), the same “Part of the band”, “Human too”, “When we are together”: evidently it was late, compared to the schedule, when Matt Healy and companions they realized that the album was entering too much into Vernon's reference sound orbit, moving away from the track-filling sounds of their works.

And something of the original matrix inevitably remained in “Being funny in a foreign language”, recorded between the Electric Lady Studios in New York and Peter Gabriel's Real World in Box, in Wilthshire, England. Late, but not too late. Jack Antonoff, the man capable of bringing together Taylor Swift and St. Vincent, Florence and the Machine, worked miracles to tear the 1975 away from that Wisconsin autumn mood typical of Bon Iver's records. and Lana Del Rey, who gave the band back its more pop attitude, after the chaos of “Notes on a conditional form” (one hour and twenty minutes in length, between confused ideas and others that were not very focused: certain publications reached give it one star out of five).

The car – the one on the cover, set in an apocalyptic scenario, is abandoned near a beach – has been put back on track. Now it's up to the 1975s not to lose control again.