Album Review: Notes On A Conditional Form (The 1975)

May 25, 2020

I admit, I didn't really track the timeline of the creation of this album. I was actually pleasantly surprised when I learned that the release date of the album was just weeks away. And of course, the anticipation build up was inevitable for me from that moment on. I waited for the actual release date to listen to the album. I read of rumors of leaks, but delaying gratification is what I do best (most times 😅) and so at the strike of midnight of the 22nd of May, I looked up on my Spotify app and 'lo and behold, the album is already there ready for me to divulge. 🎧💗

Timestamp: 2 minutes after midnight.
Listening to songs from my favorite artist for the first time is a sacred ritual of mine. I make sure that I am undisturbed for that hour (or so) as each of the tracks graced my auditory senses for the very first time. And so, here's the output. Here are I am, doing my tradition (since ILIWYS) of going through all the tracks in succession in one go and writing down my impressions on each of them. It's always a joy for me to do this. Here we go!~

The 1975
I hear the opening notes and I instantly recognize it as the tunes that played during the start of their ABIIOR tour (which I attended last year). It is almost 5 minutes long which contains Greta Thunberg's speech about the role that we can do to minimize climate change. I was anticipating the trademark "go down, slow down" in the intro track of the album. Well I guess the band decided to break from that tradition to broadcast this very important message that needs to be heard by as many people as possible.

This is the first song that the band performed in their previous tour. It is the perfect song to follow Greta's speech in The 1975 track. Her last words of "It's time for civil disobedience. It's time to rebel." followed by Matty screaming "WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S MONDAY MORNING!" is enough to give me some kick of adrenaline. I think this is the perfect song to set as alarm in the morning. 😅 I place this song along the ranks of Love Me because I think I would need more time for this song to grow on me. 😂

The End (Music for Cars)
And then we do a 180 degree turn to shift into full instrumental mode with this track. At this point, I knew the band is really flexing the range of their musicality based on how they arranged the songs in this album. Sometimes I can't believe that this song came from the same minds that created People. 

Frail State of Mind
This is one of their released tracks and I liked it immediately on first listen. The lyrics "Go outside? Seems unlikely" hits extra hard, especially nowadays. Rereading the lyrics, this reminds me of a friend whom I'm having some difficulty reaching out, although I understand I'll have to keep my distance especially if he doesn't want it in the first place. But please let it be known that he is always in my mind. I long for the day that I'll be able to meet my friends in person again and hang out with them like we usually do. Apparently George Daniel does the harp in this track. Wow, that guy is really talented! He's the real deal.

This is another instrumental track. Coming from Frail State of Mind, listening to this track made me feel like I'm going somewhere deeper, like in another phase in a dream.

The Birthday Party
When the song played, IT. JUST. BLEW. MY. MIND. This is one of the smoothest transitions to a song I've ever heard. I had to pause for a bit to just absorb the greatness of it. I could compare this to the passage from Little to The Sound of Reverie tracks in the Lovely Little Lonely album by The Maine. Also, the line "I depend on my friends to stay clean" will always hit hard knowing what Matty had gone through and is still going through. 😞

Yeah I Know
This actually reminds of I Like It When You Sleep... and another one of their earlier songs (I just couldn't make out which one specifically). The track feels like a soundtrack of some weird dimensional dream. During my first listen I was like this is is so trippy wtf is this. But on the second listen, I was already groovin' to the beat. And the members all well know how this song is going to affect us. 🤣

Then Because She Goes
The song opens and ends abruptly. It feels like it is just a portion of a whole song. But reading Matty's commentary on this song, looks like this is exactly how he wanted to do it. I'm proud that the band is bold enough to do experimental stuff like this. The song makes me reminiscent of some 90's romantic movie that I never watched. 

Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America
This is such a relaxing tune. I heard Matty's soft counting in the beginning and I immediately see him bopping his head while he strummed his guitar. It feels different listening to this song at 1AM. It makes me feel waves of sad emotions that I know is not mine. I think this is the first track that I heard wherein Matty sang a duet with anyone.

This is it. Just with the opening beat, I knew this is gonna be a fan favorite. This lifted my mood after listening to the previous song. There are some lines that are subtly political and then there's a lyric reference to Robbers! Hmm I wonder what inspired this song, especially after reading the tweet below (Jamie is the band's manager).

Me & You Together
This gives some 90's movie vibe, especially after watching its movie video.

I Think There's Something You Should Know
This song is the melting pot of the musicality of The 1975. Their trademarks are all over the song. I want this to be the background music of my lucid dream wherein I'm flying high in the sky at night looking at the city lights below. 

Nothing Revealed
People proclaiming their beliefs at the start and then that choir makes this the If I Believe You of this album. And wow, Matty rapping is the content I never knew I needed.

Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy)
If not for the intro, this wouldn't be a skip for me (I'm so sorry guys 😣). And I knew it, this was inspired by a 90's song.

Shiny Collarbone
Am I still listening to the same album? Is this really from The 1975? Sometimes I wonder what these guys still can't do musically. I'm really really amazed how diverse their songs can be.

If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know)
I realized during my first run through of the album that it was my first time to listen to the unedited version of this song. It sounded so much better on headphones. And that out-of-this-worldly singing at the beginning is just glorious. Also, I now feel weird singing this song out loud around the house. The band always releases stuff that sounds so good melody-wise but so depressing or explicit lyrics-wise. 😅 

Playing on My Mind
If She Lays Down and Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America had a child...

Having No Head
This is another instrumental track and it's 6 minutes long! I feel so much bliss listening to the song. Really, this album presents a complete buffet of song genres.

What Should I Say
This is another trippy track from them. I noticed they always had that "chipmunk voice" (I'm not sure what to call that) in their songs, which I'm really not a fan of. But overall I love the beat and groove of this track. And can I say I'm so happy to hear George Daniel's masterpieces? This is lit 🔥.

Bagsy Not In Net
I never thought orchestra and the band's synths would work together, but it did.

Don't Worry
This is written by Matty's dad. He even sings in the track, although if I didn't know that, I wouldn't really notice. I would think that the double voice is just some special effect. I especially liked the lines
 "When you wake up and you don't know what day it is" -- this is how I felt in some days during the quarantine 😣, and "Don't worry darlin' cause I'm here with you" -- my heart just melted.

I so much love the fact that they made this the last song of the album. It gives such a dramatic closing, given that they said that this album ends an era of their music. It's so heartwarming that these guys will always go back to their roots and into the center of what their band is really all about. There's even a line about their first ever tour outside Europe and how it made them feel. That's says a lot about them and their outlook about everything about their band. It's never about the fame or the money or the awards. Their music and their career will always be about them, their friendship and their experiences. And I so much love them for that. Also, the video that accompanied this is the best thing that ever happened.

Again and again I realize how much I really adore this band. I've been with them since their debut album and look where we are now -- the release of their fourth full-studio album! They sure have come a long way. And I'm glad I've been with them every step of the way. I realized just now, I've seen them live in each of the eras: self-titled album, iliwys (where everything went pink LOL), and abiior. I hope to see them during noacf too. I look forward to hearing these new tracks live.

And yes, Adam. I feel the sentiment right there. 😂

Listen to the album here. Enjoy! 

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