Review: “The Birthday Party” is a pity party

What is The 1975 doing?


A shot from the music video of “The Birthday Party”, which I didn’t care enough to watch.

Anna Woodward, Online Managing Editor

“The Birthday Party” by The 1975 is consistent with most of their recently released singles, but only because it sucks. It doesn’t have the same sound that brought the band to fame in the first place. I appreciate that they’re broadening their range and experimenting with new music elements like instruments and autotune, but at the same time, I would’ve liked this song if it was more like the band’s first three albums.

I didn’t have any strong feelings about “The Birthday Party”, probably because I didn’t have high expectations. It makes me sad even, because I used to love this band and I still do, but their new music has me listening to them less and less. It reminds me of the episode of Austin & Ally where they travel to the future and music is just lots of beeping and robot sounds because I hear more of a computer than I do meaning with The 1975’s latest work.

Even though it sounds like I’m completely bashing The 1975, I will say that “The Birthday Party” was at least interesting to listen to. The background of strings, a triangle and what I think was a banjo drew me in and had me listen to the very end to see what would happen next. I will give The 1975 kudos for using lots of different instruments in their songs because that’s definitely something that makes a song stand out. On the note of songs standing out, I had to do a double take for some of the lyrics of “The Birthday Party.”

When I was listening to this song and I heard “You put the tap on to cover the sound of your piss,” I stopped just hearing the song and actively started listening. What I love about The 1975 is how their songs have a deeper meaning than the lyrics, and those lyrics carried over to performances and stage presence. The times that I’ve seen them, I loved seeing lead singer Matty Healy pour his heart out on stage and frankly I’m wondering how he’s doing to do that with “listen, I got a missus, so there can’t be any kissing.” Granted, The 1975 does know how to take upbeat, lighter songs and make them into energetic and meaningful performances, but “The Birthday Party” seems like it would be an exception.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a fan of The 1975, but I’m not as excited for their new album as I was last year. These singles have been giving me lower expectations for the band, but I haven’t given up hope just yet. I don’t know how The 1975 will be able to produce an album that can compare to the preexisting iconic three, but it’s hard to say until their upcoming album Notes on a Conditional Form is fully released.