I rarely ever like boy bands, in any incarnation. I even skipped out on the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC craze as a kid. But something about The 1975’s self-titled release last year assaulted my emotions and made me fall madly in love with them, so of course I was looking forward to their latest release, I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it.
The album opens on a familiar note with what I call “a classic The 1975” song. It starts off minimal and ambient, exploding into a cinematic and emotional climax for an all-too-brief minute and 23 seconds.
This promising start leads directly into their single “Love Me,” which is not only the the worst song on the record but one of the worst songs ever. The track is reminiscent of “Young Americans”-era David Bowie and it’s only one St. Elmo’s Fire cheesy saxophone line short of perfectly horrendous (the saxophone line eventually makes an appearance on “This Must Be My Dream”). Both “Love Me” and “I Believe You” really highlight the fact that The 1975 used the worst elements of ‘70s music, disco and classic pop to make this album. Is the band trying to channel their inner Whitney Houston, gospel choir included?
The entire first half of the album wavers between bad and banal, leaving fans hoping the whole album won’t totally suck – a wish that is granted in “Somebody Else” and “The Sound.” In the pre-album release roll out, these were the last two singles to be released. After the raging disappointment that was the release of “Love Me” and “UGH,” these two songs stood out even more. Amazing hooks and standard Matt Healy lyrical witticism make these two singles as enchanting as the old The 1975 cuts we know and love.
The band really tried to expand their influences on I Like It When You Sleep, an effort that comes to fruition on “Lostmyhead.” This song is edgier than expected, with a harsher guitar sound as opposed to exclusively dreamy synths. While the band’s lyrics have never shied away from personal content, it is nice to see another emotion from the boys.
“Ballad Of Me and My Brain” has the same slightly grittier quality with a rougher approach to the vocals. This song also includes my favorite lyric, “Where would I be if I was my brain?”
“She’s American” is another flat song with no real dynamic quality and a basic hook, but the synth part sounds almost identical to “Chocolate” from their previous album, which perhaps explains the song’s good reception.
The concluding tracks, “Nana” and “She Lays Down,” are random guitar acoustics that feel thoughtlessly, if not accidentally, tacked on to the end of the album as a strange and unwelcome afterthought.
I like it when you sleep certainly has its high points. While not a complete flop, it definitely did not live up to the promise of their first release.
Alessandra Licul is a singer from NYC. Her hobbies include singing, photography, writing and fanatically obsessing over the local music scene. She is the proud owner of an adorable dog and is currently studying music business and music history. She likes coffee that has so much sugar it doesn’t taste like coffee and vodka with so much cranberry juice it doesn’t taste like vodka. She also never says no to a plate of tacos.