On Two For Tuesday, we celebrate two songs that are linked in one way or another. Maybe an artist referenced another artist’s song. Maybe one song features an interpolation of another song. Perhaps an artist references one of their earlier songs through a repeated line or riff. If they’re linked, you may just read about them on Two For Tuesday.
Today, we’re talking about a series of songs with the same title and sometimes the same lyrics, but with very different musical interpretations.
In 2013, The 1975 released their first, self-titled album, The 1975. It opens with “The 1975,” a short, dreamy and synth-laden tune. When The 1975 moved on to their second album I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, they decided to use the same lyrics with a different musical interpretation (slightly reminiscent of “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap). Around this time, they announced that the second album was part two in what would be a trilogy of albums. As such, when their third album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships was released, it also proved to contain “The 1975,” this time as a quiet piano piece performed by Healy, but with the vocals digitally edited in a manner similar to the second instance of the song (with slightly more stylized autotune).
With the trilogy of albums over, some began to wonder if the next opening track would continue to be named “The 1975.” Healy wasn’t shy about announcing that the title track would follow the same naming trend. “I love drama and subtext and all that sh**, so I think I’d keep those themes. It’s always a signpost of where we are,” said Healy.
For their next album, however, Healy elected to use the band’s platform to highlight other voices. The manager of The 1975 reports that Healy referred to climate change activist Greta Thunberg as the “most important person in the world.” The 1975’s publicist got the band in touch with the environmental editor of The Guardian, who in turn got them in touch with Thurnberg’s father. Healy referred to Thunberg as “the voice of this generation” and insisted that he felt she should be documented in pop culture and recorded on vinyl. Other bands had turned down opportunities to work with Thunberg, so she was appreciative of the chance to get her message out to “a broad new audience in a new way.”
When it was released in 2020, Notes on a Conditional Form opened with a track entitled “The 1975,” but not as fans had come to know the opening track. “The 1975” was released ahead of the record, in July of 2019. The band felt the message was too important to wait and that keeping it under wraps until the album would have made it feel like a “vanity exercise.” Instead of the minute-and-a-half songs of the past, the 2019/2020 “The 1975” clocks in at just under five minutes. It contains sparse instrumentation under a moving speech from then-16-year-old Greta Thunberg. Thunberg requested that proceeds from the song go to Extinction Rebellion, a grassroots environmental organization.
For last year’s Being Funny in a Foreign Language, “The 1975” was reborn yet again. The 1975 riffed on LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends” for their most recent “The 1975,” with multiple themes from the band’s previous works. The lyrics to “All My Friends” are clearly a source of inspiration to Healy.
“What it will probably always be is the aesthetic or the lyrical status update.” Says Healy of the self-titled introductions to albums, “That’s what it is on this song. It sets how culture is and then it goes into how I’m feeling in it. This is the culture that I’m seeing, and now this is how it’s making me feel and what it’s making me pursue.”
Many artists have covered their own older songs or changed lyrics slightly to reflect their evolving sounds or changed viewpoints. Few, however, have elected to create their own system to measure the evolution of their sound or viewpoints on every album like “The 1975.”
You can hear The 1975 (although not “The 1975”) on CD 92.9 FM! Catch them live this fall at Nationwide!
Editor’s note: I know, it’s not exactly a “TWO For Tuesday,” but I’m not gonna invent a new “Five For Friday” either. Mind you…
Feel free to suggest a future Two For Tuesday by emailing JustEmma@CD929FM.COM.
Written by: Emma Sedam
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