Anyone who has been anywhere on the internet – particularly sites like Tumblr – in the past decade, is almost certainly aware of the existence of The 1975. Formed in 2002, the band consisting of lead singer Matthew ‘Matty’ Healy, guitarist Adam Hann, bassist Ross MacDonald, and drummer George Daniel, released their fifth studio album, Being Funny in a Foregin Language on the 14th of October, 2022, which joined their other albums as number one in the UK.
A cultural phenomenon for the past two decades, The 1975 have shaped the lives of teenagers across the world – including mine. Best put by Matty Healy himself, “these kids at the moment are living their lives soundtracked to The 1975”. But, like many bands, The 1975’s popularity took a dip during COVID. They released their fourth album, Notes on a Conditional Form during May of 2020 and although reaching number one in the UK and being objectively a highly impressive album, Notes is often regarded as being the weakest of the band’s work. Further pushing them into the beginnings of obscurity, the band was forced to cancel their highly anticipated 2021 tour. Unless you were a diehard fan, with a stan twitter account and a box tattoo, The 1975 drifted into the background, just another band with a hot yet slightly unhinged frontman and a progressively poppier sound.
This all changed with the release of Being Funny in a Foreign Language. After its release, it seemed like The 1975’s renaissance had happened overnight, largely thanks to Tiktok. The hashtag for their current tour, #the1975attheirverybest has amassed over 3.4 million viewers just from the first few weeks of the tour. “About You”, one of the most popular songs off Being Funny, has over 28,000 videos. Matty Healy himself has a hashtag with over 300 million views. As a fan who discovered the band during their peak Tumblr, I am not surprised at all that The 1975 has once again found their groove on an app that has consistently shown itself to be repeating the trends of Tumblr, from “edgy” fashion trends to promoting unhealthy eating habits. The accessibility TikTok offers of concert videos, fan interactions, and lyrical analyses are no doubt spurring a whole new wave of fans as well as a re-interest in those fans who may have lost faith in the foursome.
I do, however, believe that TikTok should not garner all the credit for the exponential resurgence in The 1975’s popularity. Credit should be given where credit is due, and where it truly is due, is to the band itself. In the release of Being Funny in a Foreign Language, they return to their roots, appealing to the nostalgia their fans feel towards their teen years, particularly in songs like “About You” which Healy has declared a direct continuation of their seminal 2013 hit “Robbers” off their debut album and “When We Are Together” which shares the sincerity and lyrical vulnerability of renowned songs like “Fallingforyou” and “I Couldn’t Be More in Love”. The production, or lack thereof, on Being Funny, as well, is far more similar to previous albums than that of Notes, another possible factor in recent praise, particularly from seasoned fans.
Additionally, I think there is something to be said in how the Being Funny era appeals to an audience who has known and loved The 1975 for years, in not just sound or lyrics. Concert videos circling the internet show Healy mimicking positions from earlier music videos, their outfits – suits and ties – and Healy smoking and drinking onstage all feed into the nostalgia for an earlier era for seasoned fans. Furthermore, as most fans now are in their early twenties, it is no surprise that connecting with something can bring them back to their teen years. Whether it be a similar sound and aesthetic or the assistance of TikTok, The 1975 have proved their tour name right – they really are at their very best.