I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It.
The 80’s have made an endearing comeback with a wide variety of acts ranging from the indie duo Great Good Fine Ok up to the princess of pop herself, Taylor Swift, making entire albums dedicated to the bygone era’s sonic aesthetic. In the midst of this nostalgic pursuit is The 1975 with their highly anticipated sophomore effort verbosely entitled I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It. Boasting seventeen tracks and clocking in at a little under an hour and half long, the album rests on the laurels of its platinum predecessor with shimmering guitar hooks, swirling synth lines, hard hitting acoustic drums, and frontman Matt Healy’s poetic but liberally articulated vocals.
A warm midnight breeze and the cool glow of neon signs are the dominate imagery of the album with every song being a radio candidate for an evening convertible cruise through downtown LA. Surprisingly not chosen as a single, the track “She’s American” epitomizes this imagery with an infectious sense of movement and catchy arpeggiated guitar hooks that make the verses truly shine. The album possesses a beautiful, silky top end thanks to the skillful production and mix from prior collaborator Mike Crossey; the album really punches even at low volumes reminiscent of a Jack Joseph Puig production. Washy synth driven interludes such as “Please Be Naked,” “Lost My Head,” and the title track also add to the mood of the album providing a warranted departure from an incessant upbeat first quarter.
“Caught up in fashion – Karcrashian panache and a bag of bash for passion / You’ve got a beautiful face but got nothing to say” Healy sings on the opening single of the album, “Love Me.” This searing celebrity critique permeates throughout with Healy fixated on imbuing millennials with a greater sense of empowerment than that bestowed by current celebrity culture. The unique melodies and decidedly effected vocals give weight to Healy’s cause culminating in the self-deprecating “Loving Someone” in which Healy prescribes himself his own fame-numbing penance: “I’m the Greek economy of cashing intellectual cheques, and I’m trying to progress / But instead of selling sex – I think I should be loving someone.” Lyrically the album has a lot more on its mind than being radio fodder. Even the more obvious love songs of the album inevitably succumb to revealing Healy’s darkest ventures and insecurities as a “sycophantic, prophetic, Socratic, junkie wannabe,” hell bent on wearing his heart on his sleeve and looking cool while doing so.
More of the same is a good thing in the case of I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It. The 1975 have crafted a real statement piece with enough glamour for radio and just the right amount of grit for those looking for something deeper.
Roland’s Rating: 9/10
Key Tracks: “She’s American,” “Somebody Else,” “If I Believe You,” “Love Me,” “UGH!”