The 1975’s new album ‘Being Funny In A Foreign Language’ covers heart wrenching memoir

Written By Kylie Thomas, Co-Features/A&E Editor

I, like many people born in 2001, grew up with the lovely (and also terrible) world of Tumblr. For those of you who didn’t grow up chronically online, Tumblr was a blog-like platform that allowed people of all ages to share their interests online. While there were a variety of people who used the platform, one of the biggest pulls the blog had were the bandom (band fandom) communities, specifically The 1975 community. The 1975 came to fame due to their 70s and 80s pop beats mixed with modern day alternative music practices. Plus the pretty face of lead singer Matty Healy didn’t hurt the band’s rise to stardom. 

This is all to say 13-year-old me was ecstatic to hear The 1975 were releasing a new album on Oct. 14, called “Being Funny In A Foreign Language,” especially when the first single ended up being one of the best songs I’ve heard from the band. 

The first single called “Part Of The Band” came out during the summer. The song is strongly inspired by old folk music and features a variety of string instruments that make up most of the instrumentals. What is really unique about this song is that it uses a storyteller’s perspective with an almost poetic delivery through the vocals. It’s honestly unlike anything I’ve heard before from The 1975 and I was immediately excited to hear the rest.

However, that’s where the band lost me for a bit after they released two more singles titled “Happiness” and “I’m In Love With You.” “Happiness” has potential whenever you listen to it a few times over but at first listen it sounds like a very generic track. In fact, it sounds like an AI generator reviewed every The 1975 song and then created a song but in the worst way. The instrumentals aren’t too bad since they’re 70s disco influenced but the melody seems too familiar. The chorus is also very short and repetitive, a trait that carries over into “I’m In Love With You.”

I actually really enjoyed “I’m In Love With You” until I listened to the chorus. The song starts out with basic happy riffs below a fun first verse from Healy. It’s a dancey song that would be perfect to jump around beside a lake on a sunny day. Then the chorus comes along and just repeats the phrase “I’m in love with you,” over and over again followed by many background vocals singing “I” repetitively to fill the instrumental spaces. Needless to say, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the album with the singles’ track record so far. 

Then the first track called “The 1975” played and I was immediately hooked on the album. This track name appears in every one of the band’s albums as the intro track but it’s different every time. This time may have been my favorite since it’s reminiscent of a musical theater introduction song. The song is a call out to younger generations as songwriter Healy analyzes the lives of youth today. The chorus even rings out “I’m sorry if you’re living and you’re 17,” a ghostly reach out the struggle teenagers face. It’s a catchy track that opens up a portal to someone else’s world, someone else’s story. This seems to be a theme throughout the whole album. 

“Looking For Somebody (To Love)” is another memoir-esc track from Healy about trying to understand school shootings as a person from England. As someone living in the United States, it’s really interesting to hear someone else’s perspective from a different country. His thought process is put with 80s pop-rock synths and beats that make this song feel old school and pop-y in the best way. It sounds like something that could be in “The Breakfast Club” but the intention behind the song keeps haunting my thoughts regardless of the sound. 

The rest of the songs on the album flip back and forth between upbeat, dance-beat songs, and more acoustic ballads. “Oh, Caroline” is a hopeless romantic love song set to what sounds like the band Toto’s instrumentals. These two characteristics work in the best way and produce a Phil Collins or Peter Gabriel sounding song. It’s that feel good 80s music that warms my heart and that makes this track a standout for me. 

If you know anything about the way albums are usually set up, the seventh track is almost always a ballad. So for the seventh track of this album, Healy takes piano and guitar to make the perfect wedding first dance song or the perfect cry in the bathtub song depending on how you look at it. It’s called “All I Need To Hear” and features Healy calling out to his lover that all that matters is that they love him. He looks back on experiences with this person and how he lost contact with them. So yes, while I slow danced with my boyfriend to this song in the kitchen, it still hurts every listen. 

The last four tracks of the album continue the band’s memoir starting with the song “Wintering.” This song is in a happy folk-pop style and talks about how all families want to do during the holidays is fight when they should be enjoying their time together. It’s a cute track and definitely worth a listen just for the feel good vibes that it gives off. 

“Human Too” completely contrasts the previous cheerful tone and instead brings out the deepest of emotions from Healy. It’s about making mistakes, knowing that humans mess up sometimes and being able to put that in the past. The vocals make it sound like a struggle for Healy to get out but when the words do come out, they’re heartbreaking. It’s a beautiful track that makes use of different odd vocal samples throughout like a dream. 

Speaking of dream-like tracks, “About You” is an ethereal folk song with almost too much going on. There’s strings, horns, synths, guitars, drums, saxophones, it’s insane. But I love every bit of it because it reminds me of a David Bowie song. Bowie always had that talent of taking listeners amongst the clouds in the sky and The 1975 are able to do the same thing in this song. It’s a reassuring track about never forgetting the ones you love. I’m not sure I could listen to this song twice in a row with earbuds in since there is a lot going on musically, but it is one of my favorites on the album. 

The last song on the album is called “When We Are Together.” It continues the theme of the album about needing people in one’s life for support. The song features acoustic instruments and fiddles that set a country scene. Topped with loving lyrics and soft vocals, this song feels like a romance novel. It’s another one of those songs that you could either slow dance to or cry to depending on the mood. I’m not sure I’d pick this song as the final closing track but it’s still a good song nevertheless. It just doesn’t bring the album all together in the way I’d like. 

When “Being Funny In A Foreign Language” was released, I sat down and listened to the album the entire way through without stopping. I even listened to the singles I didn’t particularly like just so I could live out the album as one cohesive piece. When all the songs come together, it all makes sense, even regardless of my dislike for a number of the songs. This is a solid story album and I feel closer to the band after listening to it since it’s so personal. While it has its ups and downs, “Being Funny In A Foreign Language” shows growth for this band that I didn’t think was possible.