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December 2020 / January 2021

The 1975 - People

"It's time to rebel," they said. No shit.
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The 1975 - People
Published: 7:30 pm, August 22, 2019Words: Stephen Ackroyd.

What. The. Fuck.

It's not every song that can guarantee a reaction. It's not every band who can stop you dead in your tracks.

On their third album, 'A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships', The 1975 shifted between sub-genre and mood at will, creating one of the most essential, thought-provoking, playlist-like mainstream records of recent years. From the call-to-arms of 'Love It If We Made It' to the pure vibes of 'Sincerity Is Scary' and the flat out top bop of 'It's Not Living (If It's Not With You)', even its preceding singles zigged and zagged between interesting, vital new missions of intent.

But even with that mood music - one of a band freed from their own expectation and boundaries - their latest track 'People' is something else.

Seriously. What the fuck?!

After the grand statement of the Greta Thunberg backed opener 'The 1975' - a song to instigate change marked by its closing statement, "it is time to rebel" - the first single proper from 'Notes On A Conditional Form' is nothing short of a fully-fledged riot. The easy route isn't enough - it's time to get radical.

With an opening salvo of "Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!", 'People' is scrawled in a completely new colour palette, gaudy and brattish in the best possible way. Audibly straining, screaming and yelping, Matty Healy is going all-in on his teen punk daydreams with a level of authenticity and abandon which could disarm even the harshest cynic. Anyone who pays even the slightest attention to the fast-approaching iconic frontman can't help but note his genuine affection of a certain strand of rock, and it's that influence that pushes through. Propulsive and direct, drummer George Daniel sounds as though he's determined to thump his way right through the planet's outer crust inside two minutes and forty seconds. It's positively visceral.

But really! What the FUCK!

Sure, 'People' is also a track with the ability to divide - it's harsh, rough and totally unfiltered - but it's that stabbing urgency which makes it the most exciting, life-affirming hard left turn in recent memory. The fact it might sit on a jagged, uncomfortable edge is the point. That friction creates sparks, and those sparks set the ground for something exciting and new. As the second track on an album already refusing to stick to any template, that could be anything at all.

Though those early descriptions of 'Notes...' suggested a night-time record - one of car stereos, urban landscapes and the yellow glow of dirty streetlights - 'People' is wide-eyed, fully awake and spitting blood. For even a solid set rock band, it would be a point of significant order. For one of the biggest groups on the planet - and one not known for quite this kind of incendiary firebomb - it's positively revolutionary. A moment to force a heart-stopping pause for effect, it really is time to rebel. 

And yeah, we fucking love it.

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