The 1975: every song ranked in order of greatness
20 years ago, Wilmslow youths Matty Healy, Ross MacDonald, George Daniel and Adam Hann decided to form a band. At first, they went through many names and many incarnations eventually becoming The 1975 – a band that would go on to shake up the British and global music scene with their loquacious musings on modern life, love and self-loathing.
Over five albums – including the just-released brilliant newbie ‘Being Funny In A Foreign Language’ – and a handful of EPs, the four-piece have often confounded and (almost) always exceeded our expectations. They’ve shown you can follow your own path and become one of the biggest bands in the country, and if you commit to never being afraid to try something new, you can unearth some real magic along the way.
With The 1975 back on top thanks to their new album, we’ve gone through every song they’ve released so far and ranked them in order of greatness. You’ll find no covers, remixes, alternate versions, unreleased songs or tracks that were released under old names here – but everything that’s featured from the ‘Facedown’ EP to this latest release. This is how it starts…
The story behind ‘Woman’, the final track on The 1975’s debut EP ‘Facedown’, is certainly an interesting one – Matty Healy singing about a sex worker he met in Belfast as a teenager that he “fell in love with a little bit”, although didn’t partake in her services. Unfortunately, though, the song doesn’t amount to much more than a gently chiming guitar melody and the frontman painfully crying his way through the lyrics.
The made-up word in this song’s title refers to ‘a no-brainer’ and it would have been just that to leave this lifeless song off of the ‘Music For Cars’ EP. Unfortunately, The 1975 didn’t agree and made this song its opening track.
If ever there was an early sign of the verbose lyricism that was to come from The 1975 it was ‘Talk!’. Here, though, Healy was yet to nail that art, some of the lines feeling more like he’d spent more time studying a thesaurus than pouring real emotion into pop songs. “Totally wrecked and polemic in the way he talks,” he sang over the disorientating groove of his bandmates. “Vocal sabbatical, delayed by churning out the same.”
‘M.O.N.E.Y.’ provided another glimpse at where the Manchester band would eventually go in the future, opening on a twinkling, experimental tapestry of melodies. It would go on to be sampled by Travis Scott in his 2014 song ‘Don’t Play’, but the original would pale in comparison to what The 1975 would become capable of not long after.
‘Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You’ (2013)
The sentiment of the closing track of the band’s self-titled debut album is touching – Healy worrying about his younger brother, left behind as he left home to embark on his music career and dealing with their parents’ divorce. While you can feel the emotion in the singer’s mumbled lines, the bigger picture of the song feels undercooked.
‘The Man Who Married A Robot / Love Theme’ (2018)
One thing you can’t accuse The 1975 of is being uninventive. This two-part song from 2018’s ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’ is narrated by iPhone voice AI, Siri, detailing the life of a man known only by his online handle @SnowflakeSmasher86. Boundary-pushing? Yes. Grating after more than the first listen? Also yes. The string-laden instrumental in the song’s second half is still a beaut, though.
‘An Encounter’ (2013)
‘An Encounter’ is only one-minute-and-14-seconds long, but it’s an intriguing snippet of softly bubbling synths and glittering, droning notes. Its brevity stops it from being one of The 1975’s best instrumentals, but there’s a feeling that they missed an opportunity in expanding it into something bigger.
From 2012’s ‘Sex’ EP, ‘Undo’ is another slow-moving, drifting song. Its choruses tease something more exciting on the horizon but fail to follow through – an anticlimactic offering that joins much of The 1975’s early material in failing to make a strong impression.
So-called because it’s the 12th track on The 1975’s debut album, ’12’ gave another early look at what would become a tradition for the band on every record: instrumentals. This one clocked in at barely over a minute, drifting by on a pleasant bed of synths and clicking beats.
‘Haunt // Bed’ (2013)
“I’m sorry that your dad is dead,” Healy opens this ‘IV’ EP song, before offering himself up as a coping mechanism to a friend dealing with grief. It’s a fresh take on the different intimacies and intricacies of friendship that exist in the world.
At one point, Healy thought ‘Fallingforyou’ was the best song he’d ever written. Thankfully, he’d go on to write much better because this 2013 track, while an early example of the storytelling he could share in his songwriting, lacks anything particularly special.
A standalone single released in 2014, ‘Medicine’ was originally written for a re-scored version of the movie Drive. It’s fittingly cinematic in its scope – one of the more expansive-feeling songs from the band’s first releases – and shares its reverb-heavy percussion sound with ‘60s girl-group pop, if slowed down somewhat. This song would sparkle when performed live.
The 1975’s first instrumental track, ‘Hnscc’ was written in response to Healy’s grandma dying of cancer (the letters in the title stand for “head and neck squamous cell carcinoma”, the type of the disease she was diagnosed with). A brief two-and-a-half-minute interlude on the ‘Music For Cars’ EP, it gently takes a glacial guitar line, drawing it out and interweaving it with distortion and other sound effects.
Shapeshifting between two different points of view, ‘Me’ is dripping in guilt and darkness. “I’m sorry, but I’d rather be getting high than watching my family die,” Healy sings at one point, petulant and self-destructive. Musically, the melodies never lift off the ground – even when a spectral sax solo comes in towards its end.
The 1975 might famously have another song with a title that’s a euphemism for drugs – aka ‘Chocolate’ – but that wasn’t their first to do so. Here, ‘Milk’ refers to cocaine, Healy singing about a girl who’s fallen into an addiction to the substance and is “doing it all the time” over a bright, buzzing guitar-led foundation.
Ambient in nature, ‘Facedown’ – the first song on the band’s debut EP of the same name – kickstarted things beautifully. Icy notes chimed like wintry bells, while Daniel’s fragmented drum beats and a shadowy synth line underpinned the prettiness.
“What you sitting ‘round here for and why you sad?” Healy asks on this burbling mesh of electronics. “Cos everybody’s pushing out babies now.” It’s a pensive take on the pressures of adulthood, life and its ensuing responsibilities creeping up on you without you realising, but the music doesn’t quite convey those feelings as effectively.
Healy often has the power to make the most mundane or crude subjects sound poetic in his songwriting, but 2013’s ‘Head.Cars.Bending’ doesn’t quite manage it. Instead, “Drink, fall spew / Telephone you” sounds almost sixth-form level, although his bandmates’ quivering electronics add new layers of gold to the track.
‘So Far (It’s Alright)’ (2013)
The 1975’s songs might not always be optimistic in nature, but 2013’s ‘So Far (It’s Alright)’ manages to look on the bright side. Despite the hardships Healy mentions in the verses – from his dad’s friends dying of heart attacks to relationships reaching their end – the chorus finds him always returning to a point of shrugging it all off: “Yeah, so far, it’s alright, baby.”
Now the band’s biggest single so far commercially – it’s been certified twice platinum in both the UK and the US – ‘Chocolate’ details the musicians’ love of smoking weed and their misspent youth in small towns. From the grating delivery of lines like “Oh we go where nobody knows / With guns hidden under our petticoats”, to the insistent bounce of Hann’s guitar melody, other singles would prove worthy of the success.
Although you can easily date ‘You’ back to the early 2010s now, there’s still a charm to its chiming indie sound, Hann’s guitar riffs bursting with the kind of energy that lights up the sticky floors of indie discos. As he spools out the track’s best parts, Healy depicts a relationship in jeopardy with the kind of cutting lyrics he’d go on to perfect as part of his craft.
‘Surrounded By Heads And Bodies’ (2018)
A plaintive ode to a girl Healy met in rehab while battling his heroin addiction, ‘Surrounded By Heads And Bodies’ starts life sounding like a simple acoustic song. Between its verses, though, the guitar lines snap are joined by a syncopated rhythm of percussion, sounding like something Radiohead might pen.
‘The 1975’ (2013)
By now, you’ll know The 1975 always start off their albums with a song named after the band. Over the years, the track has mutated and morphed into many different beasts, but this version – the 2013 original – is in its purest form. “Go down / Soft sound,” Healy murmurs over whirring synths. “Midnight / Car lights / Playing with the air / Breathing in your hair.” Simple but evocative.
Another instrumental, this time from ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’. ‘Streaming’ lifted many of the sounds that recurred throughout that record – like rippling, trembling string melodies – and created something atmospheric with them, providing a pretty break from the experimentation of the album
‘The End (Music For Cars)’ (2020)
This gloomy mesh of instruments softened the blow of ‘Notes…’ opening punk powerhouse ‘People’, an orchestra coming together to create something that felt like a big, black cloud drifting menacingly through the album’s sky. It had drama and tension, not least in its big rolling drums.
‘The 1975’ (2018)
‘A Brief Inquiry…’s ‘The 1975’ switched things up, ditching the synths and opting for a more “organic” piano instead. Instead, Healy’s voice was filtered through a vocoder, keeping the track’s futuristic edge in the face of the new instrumentation.
‘The 1975’ (2016)
An updated take on the first ‘The 1975’ song, this version from ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’ was given a makeover with a choir backing Healy’s voice and fresh sonic noodlings layered over the top. At the end, it sounded like a rocket taking off, segueing seamlessly into ‘Love Me’ – a track which felt like it was leaping into a new world.
‘The 1975’ (2020)
Perhaps the most impactful and attention-grabbing of the ‘The 1975’ family, the opener to ‘Notes…’ featured the voice of Greta Thunberg. Over a minimal base of keys, the young eco-activist delivered a message about the climate emergency, sharing a dire warning but urging the world to take action before it’s too late.
Another track from the ‘Facedown’ EP, ‘Antichrist’ sounds like a band in their first steps. Drum beats crash between the glittering guitars, while Healy’s voice is still an unrefined bleat compared to what it’s become now – most spectacularly evidenced when he yelps: “Criminaaaals and liars!”
‘Inside Your Mind’ (2018)
‘Inside Your Mind’ opens with a gigantic thud of a piano chord, but even that can’t match up to the heavy desires Healy shares in its lyrics. As the song progresses, he shares the want to crack open his partner’s head, so desperate is he to know just what is going on beneath their skull. “Maybe you’re dreaming you’re in love with me,” he ponders. “The only option left is look and see / Inside your mind.”
‘I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’ (2016)
As well as filling their second album with a ton of bangers, The 1975 also delved deeper into instrumental territory. The record’s title track isn’t entirely voiceless – Healy sings the line “Before you go, turn big light off” four times – but its rhythmic synth melodies are the main focus and biggest draw here.
The immediate successor to ‘Please Be Naked’ – see below – ‘Lostmyhead’ ramps things up again, distorted guitars chugging back into view after a moment of tranquillity. “And you said I’ve lost my head / Can you see it? Can you see it?” Healy asks meekly, teeing up the themes of the song that follows it, ‘The Ballad Of Me And My Brain’.
‘Please Be Naked’ (2016)
The first instrumental on ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’ is almost serene in its sound, three piano notes softly cascading in repetition before a gently thudding beat enters in the distance. As it grows, it doesn’t lose any of its calm, only becoming bigger and greater with each new sound.
‘Having No Head’ (2020)
Written and composed by drummer George Daniel, this instrumental from ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ is one of the longest in The 1975’s discography, clocking in at just over six minutes. During that time, it slowly grows, new layers coming in and changing the mood as the minutes tick by. It’s quite majestic.
‘Playing On My Mind’ (2020)
Another observational summary from Healy, ‘Playing On My Mind’ gently deals out the things that have been occupying his brain – from how long the band will last, to whether he’ll one day get divorced. As he paces through his thoughts, an acoustic guitar twangs away beneath him – pretty and fitting for the song’s pensive nature.
This ‘A Brief Inquiry…’ track – inspired by John Coltrane – saw The 1975 delve into jazz. It was an unpredictable curveball on an album that was hard to pin down. They mostly managed to pull it off, too, although not to the extent that Healy hoped, with him telling Pitchfork at the time he wanted to create a new “standard”.
‘Don’t Worry’ (2020)
A duet between father and son, this ‘Notes…’ song was written with Healy’s dad Tim about the singer’s mum, Denise Welch, and her experience with postnatal depression. It’s a touching and pretty song, the pair reassuring, “Don’t worry darling, cos I’m here with you” as their voices occasionally get processed through some of the band’s trademark vocal effects.
‘Settle Down’ (2013)
Looking back, you can hear elements of the sound that The 1975’s second album would explore in ‘Settle Down’, one of the highlights of the band’s debut record. It boasted that same jittery approach to guitar lines, but was held back by the use of a similar vocal melody rhythm to much of the rest of the record.
In 2016, Healy revisited the subject of his grandma and her sad passing on this touching, largely acoustic song. “I wish you’d walk in again / Imagine if you just did,” he muses, later sharing moving details of her last days: “I sat with you beside your bed and cried / For things that I wish I’d said.”
‘She Lays Down’ (2016)
Just like his dad did on ‘Don’t Worry’, the frontman tackled the topic of his mother’s postnatal depression on the closing track of ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’. “The chemicals that make her laugh don’t seem to be working anymore,” he observes as he picks away at his guitar strings. “She tries her best, but it hurts her chest.”
‘Bagsy Not In Net’ (2020)
The glistening strings of this ‘Notes…’ cut feel like they’re ushering in a Disney score, but then The 1975 zag again, bringing in distant dance beats and talk of the end. On the gentle chorus, Healy asks his partner, “Do you wanna leave at the same time?”, inquiring whether they’re up for leaving this mortal coil together when the time comes. No fairytale ending, then.
A blistering indie-rock anthem, ‘Sex’ recants a fumbled tryst, one that becomes undone quicker than each other’s shirts because of existing partners and lovers. “Now we’re on the bed in my room / And I’m about to fill his shoes,” Healy narrates, but a conscience kicks in follows: “But you say no, you say no.”
The closing song on their fourth album, ‘Guys’ is a love song not to any partners in Healy’s life, but to his bandmates who’ve been on this journey with him. It’s a sweet and sentimental tribute to his childhood friends, the singer describing them as “the love of my life”. Grab the tissues for this one.
‘I Couldn’t Be More In Love’ (2018)
‘I Couldn’t Be More In Love’ might be another song that sounds like it’s about a partner, but this time Healy is writing about The 1975’s fans. On it, he envisions their supporters moving on, leaving him and his bandmates behind. “We got it wrong and you said you’d had enough,” he cries over an emotive organ melody. “What about these feelings I’ve got?”
‘She Way Out’ (2013)
The chorus of ‘She Way Out’ – taken from the band’s self-titled debut album – is where this song really shines. It’s at that point that the complex rhythms spooling out of Hann’s guitar come into their own, crafting a big, grooving hook that’s impossible to ignore.
One of the more experimental songs on the band’s first album, ‘Menswear’ at first appears to be completely instrumental. It’s not until nearly two minutes in when Healy’s voice enters the fray, the mood set by gliding, muted melodies before he recounts attending a wedding.
‘Shiny Collarbone’ (2020)
Originally, ‘Shiny Collarbone’ was set to feature a sample of Jamaican dancehall singer Cutty Ranks and his song ‘The Going Is Rough’. But when the band approached him to clear the sample, he offered to redo his vocals afresh. The results give a new energy to this rippling electronic voyage.
‘The Birthday Party’ (2020)
This song takes a microscope to moments at a house party, zooming in on different social interactions over the course of the night, from drugs of choice (Adderall) to snippets of tedious conversation. Where much of ‘Notes…’ deals in electronic sounds, ‘The Birthday Party’ switches things up by opting for folky acoustic guitars, providing a much-needed refresher.
‘Then Because She Goes’ (2020)
A big ol’ plaid-flecked piece of ‘90s slacker rock, ‘Then Because She Goes’ flips the sound of ‘Notes…’ on its head even more, but listen closely and you can hear some of its experimental side creep in. Buried among the fuzzy guitars are chopped up cuts of vocals that slowly emerge with each fresh listen, making it feel like a mini treasure trove.
‘Oh Caroline’ (2022)
A big, bold pop song that feels both classic and completely fresh, ‘Oh Caroline’ finds Healy trying to right his wrongs. “Oh Caroline, I wanna get it right this time / Cos you’re always on my mind,” he sings on the gigantic chorus, but it’s the rasped, urgent bridge that hits hardest.
‘I Think There’s Something You Should Know’ (2020)
Imposter syndrome might not feel like something worth celebrating, but that’s the atmosphere ‘I Think There’s Something You Should Know’ creates. Its hushed house beats gently push you towards the dancefloor, just in time for the bridge when Healy finds peace from his brain: “You get a moment when you feel alright.”
Fame might be a common topic in The 1975’s latter work, but it first popped up on their debut album in ‘Pressure’. Between slatherings of sax and an infectious groove, Healy compares his then-newfound-celebrity to “living in a house with just three walls / So I’m always getting recognised”.
‘What Should I Say’ (2020)
Although the band were thinking about New Order as their inspiration when working on this song, the results feel more akin to Ye – fka Kanye West – in his ‘Yeezus’-era in places, not least the powerful but lightly deployed bassline. The track is a marriage of light and dark, though, those thudding notes contrasted by twinkling melodies and airy backing vocals from FKA twigs.
‘Part Of The Band’ (2022)
The 1975’s big comeback single for their fifth album, ‘Part Of The Band’ is folky, but not in the finger-picked way. Instead, it feels more like something Tuung would write – or big, sawing strings cutting back and forth beneath the verses. It is, of course, full of instantly quotable lyrics, Healy singing them with a Dylan-like intonation to cement the folk feel.
‘Human Too’ (2022)
A piano-led beauty on the band’s latest record, ‘Human Too’ is as introspective as they come, diving into the frontman’s flaws – and sharing some “overdue” apologies. Instead of fully accepting his (many) cancellations, though, he makes his argument that no one’s perfect – not even celebrities – through the repeated line: “Don’t you know that I’m a human too?” It’s a thoughtful summation on his own mistakes, but also the way society reacts to those who cross a line.
‘This Must Be My Dream’ (2016)
“Let me tell you ‘bout this girl / I thought she’d rearrange my world,” Healy shares early on in ‘This Must Be My Dream’, a velvety ‘80s pop cut from ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’. But the song’s first flushes of positivity are short-lived, him soon after admitting: “Well, I thought it was love, but I guess I must be dreaming.” Poor Matty.
‘Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy)’ (2020)
This ‘Notes…’ track feels like it shares its spirit with another part of Kanye’s discography, the Temptations-sampling song burrowing into a similarly retro sound as the rapper’s earlier albums. As ‘Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy)’ progresses, though, it moves into its own lane – soulful, smooth and sensitive.
Set to a boot-scootin ‘country twang, ‘Roadkill’ shares Healy’s thoughts on people’s views on him in typically wry and crass form. “Man in the gift shop called me a f*g,” he sings in the first verse. “I feel like my tucked-up erection / There’s pressure all over my head.”
‘Be My Mistake’ (2018)
Elsewhere on ‘A Brief Inquiry…’, the frontman might deny cheating on his partner but, here, the story is quite the opposite. Backed only by an acoustic guitar and some ripples of keys, he sings to someone he feels he’s betraying another person with – whether they’re still in a relationship or not. It’s painfully honest but all the more arresting for it.
‘The 1975’ (2022)
The latest evolution of this introductory track, ‘The 1975’ in its current form is a four-minute, piano-led cut that takes obvious inspiration from LCD Soundsystem’s ‘All My Friends. “I’m sorry about my twenties, I was learning the ropes / I had a tendency to think about it after I spoke,” Healy apologises midway through, referencing the numerous backlashes he’s put himself through during his outspoken career.
‘Nothing Revealed / Everything Denied’ (2020)
“I never fucked in a car, I was lying,” Healy admits, dismantling one of The 1975’s most striking lyrics (from ‘Love It If We Made It’): “I do it on my bed, lying down, not trying.” His candidness is backed by a shuffling, jazz beat from Daniel and decorative piano turns, his pleas for “something to be true” cushioned by a chorus from The London Community Gospel Choir.
‘All I Need To Hear’ (2022)
One of the slower, statelier songs on their latest record, ‘All I Need To Hear’ creaks with the echoes of fragments of guitar noise through its melancholy waltz. It’s incredibly understated but that’s where it wields its power, its despondent glimmers reeling you in as Healy asks: “Just tell me what I want to hear.”
‘How To Draw / Petrichor’ (2018)
Another two-parter on ‘A Brief Inquiry…’, ‘How To Draw / Petrichor’ reimagines a 2016 bonus track of the same name, Healy’s vocals fed through a vocoder as he sings: “What if you die with all of the cameras?” The ‘Petrichor’ half, meanwhile, shifts into a stuttering dance track at odds with, but melding perfectly into, what came before.
‘Yeah I Know’ (2020)
Inspired by both Thom Yorke’s solo releases and the music released by Kode9’s label Hyperdub, ‘Yeah I Know’ is a glitchy piece of minimal electronica, and perhaps one of the most interesting and unexpected songs The 1975 have released so far. “Hit that shit, go hit that shit,” Healy’s pitched-up voice repeats over and over, sounding like – were it to be transplanted onto a different sonic bed – it would be perfectly at home on a Charli XCX track.
‘Frail State Of Mind’ (2020)
Although ‘Frail State Of Mind’s vocal melody is reminiscent of that found in ‘TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME’, released one album earlier, its subject matter is far less nonchalant. Whereas that tropical single batted away suggestions of infidelity, the ‘Notes…’ track deals with social anxiety, sharing a look at Healy’s mind over a brooding garage instrumental.
‘Wintering’ puts everything from veganism to trends in body size in its jangly crosshairs – if it wasn’t so good, you’d probably roll your eyes at it. Perhaps you should anyway. Its shining highlight, though, comes in the form of a nod to Healy’s mum, Denise Welch. “Mum’s not a fan of that line about her back she said it makes her sound frumpy and old,” he sings at one point, before sharing his response: “I said, ‘Woman, you are 64 years old’”.
‘When We Are Together’ (2022)
‘Being Foreign…’s closing track dips back into the acoustic guitars, fingerpicked, folky lines cushioning the song’s melancholy-tinged narrative. After the first chorus, a gorgeous string melody pierces through the layers, elevating its emotional qualities to new heights.
The 1975 go tropical on this summery dance track, a satirical take on the world of modern dating, it succinctly analyses the boundaries we draw and shift around relationships, and the temptation our digital world offers us.
‘Me & You Together Song’ (2020)
Although 2020’s ‘Notes…’ took a more experimental shape largely, the jangle of ‘Me & You Together’ gave it one of its biggest bangers. Subject-wise, it details feeling smitten by a friend and both “being in love with her for ages” and falling “in love with her in stages”, building up to a big confession at the end.
‘The City’ (2013)
The idea of metropolises is something The 1975 have returned to multiple times over their careers, but one of the first instances came in ‘The City’. “You wanna find love then you know where the city is,” Healy shared over dark, crashing instrumentation, capturing the feeling of limitless possibility and adventure that comes from running around urban streets in your youth.
An early example of the band’s trademark bouncy pop sound, ‘Girls’ is an ode to young love – or lust – Healy sharing a nonchalant assessment of the women he met. “They’re just girls breaking hearts / Eyes bright, uptight, just girls.” A little reductive, perhaps, but it captures the youthful feeling of going out on the pull, looking for anyone to hook up with.
‘If I Believe You’ (2016)
Here, on this ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’ cut, the band’s contradictory nature and inventiveness is in full force. What’s the perfect genre to share your feelings about religion and searching for some kind of salvation in your life? For Healy, the answer was a snapping gospel song, complete with the glorious backing of a choir.
‘Loving Someone’ (2016)
“I’m the Greek economy of cashing intellectual cheques,” Healy offered on this jewel of a song, instantly self-deprecating, pretentious and smart at the same time. Like that line, ‘Loving Someone’ is multi-faceted – putting a spotlight on the need to share your life and love with another, commentating on modern culture and society, and sharing a piece of spoken word poeticism that’s buried so low in the mix it really makes you lean into the song.
Another loved-up highlight from The 1975’s latest record, ‘Happiness’ finds joy in a new partner who “showed me what love is”. This being The 1975, though, there’s still a hint of doom lingering around the corner, as Healy sings on the ‘80s jam: “I’m gonna stop messing it up because I’m / Feeling like I’m messing it up.”
‘Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America’ (2020)
Teaming up with Phoebe Bridgers, this acoustic track deals out words on both religion and love, Healy lamenting his relationship with God while their guest star struggles to tell the girl next door how she really feels. Like many 1975 songs, it’s simultaneously touching and subtly witty.
Hann’s sharp guitar melody here is one of the most recognisable in The 1975’s discography – and one of the most effective, perfectly mirroring the desperation and dejection in his bandmate’s lyrics. Another powerful moment: when Healy rasps, “Now everybody’s dead” as if he’s holding back a flash flood of tears.
‘About You’ (2022)
The penultimate track on ‘Being Funny…’, ‘About You’ is also that record’s longest moment. It builds from sax-flecked rushes of sound to a softly fizzing crescendo, Healy singing more beautifully than he ever does all the while. It’s an absolutely stunning song – equal parts emotional and swooning, and completely impossibly not to fall in love with.
‘It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)’ (2018)
While this bright, upbeat track might at first glance sound like an ode to a lover (“All I do is sit and think about you”), it quickly reveals itself to be about heroin (“Collapse my veins wearing beautiful shoes”) and Healy’s attempts to get free of his addiction to it. As well as one of the best pop songs in recent years, it also provided a ludicrously daft moment to rally around at their live gigs where fans belt out a throwaway line. All together now: “SELLING PETROOOOL”
‘I Like America & America Likes Me’ (2018)
Described as the band’s leader as a “homage to SoundCloud rap”, ‘I Like America…’ is The 1975 in some of their most brilliantly experimental form. In part, between its glitchy beats and metallic production, it stands as a protest against the gun-culture of the US (“Kids don’t want rifles, they want Supreme”), while encapsulating the feeling of being young in our modern world.
‘Give Yourself A Try’ (2018)
A needling guitar riff immediately set ‘Give Yourself A Try’ out as something new and different from The 1975 upon its release in 2018. Insistent and piercing, it perfectly backed up the song’s sentiment of Healy urging himself, his fans and the world at large to do as the title says and give themselves a try.
‘I’m In Love With You’ (2022)
A pure, unabashed celebration of romance – but with a very 1975 edge – ‘I’m In Love With You’ is a joyful rarity in the band’s catalogue. The chorus makes Healy’s feelings for his partner crystal clear, while he still manages to pack some laugh-out-loud moments into the timeless sound of the song, notably when he tells himself: “Don’t fuck it, you muppet.”
‘A Change Of Heart’ (2016)
This glistening synth-led ballad is perhaps one of The 1975’s simplest songs but it loses nothing in its effectiveness. Lyrically, the frontman delivers some of his best put downs – from “You were coming across as clever / Then you lit the wrong end of your cigarette” to the subtly mocking “Your eyes were full of regret / And then you took a picture of your salad / And put it on the internet.” Ouch.
‘I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)’ (2018)
“I bet you thought your life would change / But you’re sat on a train again,” Healy sings in the opening lines here, highlighting the idea that, despite all our grand plans for life and no matter what fame, fortune and achievements come our way, we’re all just the same regular people in the end. It’s a thought-provoking start to one of The 1975’s most poignant songs – one that tries to centre hope in the face of despair.
‘The Sound’ (2016)
The biggest The 1975 song in terms of pure pop sound, this ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’ single pogos through four-to-the-floor beats and funk grooves as Healy does what he does best – doles out wordy verses that send you running to the dictionary, but has you dancing the whole way there. ‘The Sound’ is such a great pop song that it was nearly given to One Direction – but thank god that deal didn’t come off in the end, else we’d be robbed of one of the shining moments in The 1975’s career.
Crowned by Matty as The 1975’s best song during their Reading 2022 headline set, ‘Paris’ might not quite win out for us, but it’s certainly up there. A brilliant and incisive piece of observational songwriting, the 2016 track takes aim at materialistic, self-centred party friends and Healy’s himself, and contains some of his sharpest lyricism to date.
‘The Ballad Of Me And My Brain’ (2016)
Set to a revolving chorus of choral backing vocals and a distorted rumble, this gem from ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’ is one of the smartest, most darkly humorous takes in pop on the collision of failing mental health and the side effects of fame. Healy’s twisting journey takes him from flirting with girls on buses to dodging autograph hunters in the supermarket, all while summing up the panicked frenzy that comes with feeling like you’re losing your mind.
‘Looking For Somebody (To Love)’ (2022)
The most Springsteen the band have ever sounded, ‘Looking For Somebody To Love’ is the latest curveball from The 1975 camp – but it’s a style that suits them down to a tee. It rollicks through its three-minute run time, fun little inflections – like the muttered “bang bang bangs” meshed into its middle – coursing past as it goes. If ‘Being Foreign…’ is the four-piece’s brightest, most consistent album then this song is its dazzling high point – an irresistibly euphoric piece of classic rock that you can’t help but give yourself over to completely.
The 1975 go punk on this abrasive bolt from the blue – an unforeseen veer off their usual course that introduced the ‘Notes…’ era to the world. Through blistering riffs and battering drums, Healy urges the world to “wake up, wake up, wake up” and address climate change, the declining economy and more. His screamed lyrics are hard to ignore, sending sparks of electricity down your spine.
‘Somebody Else’ (2016)
We’ve all been through those places where a relationship has dissolved and you can’t stand the sight of your former partner, but you’re not quite ready to let go. On ‘Somebody Else’, The 1975 neatly sum up that sensation, their singer sighing, “I don’t want your body but I hate to think about you with somebody else” on this beautifully sad, almost nihilistic post-break-up paean. When Healy later spits, “Get someone you love? / Get someone you need? / Fuck that, get money”, you can almost see his wounded heart putting the barricades up around it as it tries to heal.
Drugs have never been far from Healy’s lyrical arsenal and ‘UGH!’, as jittery and arrhythmic as someone who’s way too coked up, is one of his finest portraits of someone who’s indulged a little bit too much. “This conversation’s not about reciprocation no more,” he sings over a squelchy bassline, accurately capturing the moment you get trapped being yakked at by someone full of gear. “But I’m gonna wait until you finish so I can talk some more / About me and my things, my car, my living / And about how I’m giving it up again.”
‘Heart Out’ (2013)
The jewel in the crown of the band’s debut is ‘Heart Out’. Driven by a retro-futuristic, staccato bassline in the verses, it abruptly switches its dynamics up for the quieter chorus – flipping the approach artists usually take on its head. That move doesn’t make the song any less anthemic, though, but puts more of a spotlight on Healy’s challenge in the hook: “It’s just you and I tonight / Why don’t you figure my heart out?” His barked backing vocals only add to the provocation, goading you into trying to beat him at his own game.
‘If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)’ (2020)
At first, ‘If You’re Too Shy…’s opening doesn’t signpost where the song is going, a bubble of undulating notes and an elegant female backing vocal. Then, the guitar riff cuts into view, the drums enter and the bop is upon us. Examining intimacy with a partner online as opposed to someone in the flesh, Healy veers from being magnetised by “the girl on the screen” to feeling “weird” about being naked on the other end of the phone. A very modern predicament – but matched brilliantly with sounds that feel very ‘80s, without ever becoming pastiche.
‘Sincerity Is Scary’ (2018)
Perhaps The 1975 at their most meta, this ‘A Brief Inquiry…’ moment is nothing short of stunning amid its self-referencing. As sax lines float through the shuffling drums, Healy turns the sharp nib of his pen off other people and onto himself. “You lack substance when you say / Something like, ‘Oh what a shame’,” he sings. “It’s just a self-referential way / That stops you having to be human.” If other songs in The 1975’s catalogue find their principal songwriter becoming a larger-than-life character, observing everyone else from up above, this song brings him back down to earth with a gentle, but solid bump.
‘Love Me’ (2016)
When ‘Love Me’ first burst out the gates as a single in 2015, it presented something of a shake up from The 1975’s first album. The potential that debut record had shown in parts was now fully realised and demanding attention in the form of a spiky, Bowie-indebted and genuinely great pop song. It was here that Healy’s lyricism showed just how brilliant it could be – from the delicious satirical punning of “Karcrashian panache” to digs at superficial cultural figures (“You look famous, let’s be friends / And portray we possess something important”). Most importantly, though, it was such an undeniably massive banger, it forced people to do a complete U-turn on their thoughts about the band – including little old NME.
‘She’s American’ (2016)
Another of the “what a shame” gang – alongside ‘Paris’, ‘The Ballad Of Me And My Brain’, ‘Love Me’ – the spangled synth-pop of ‘She’s American’ took a big swipe at people Stateside. It played on perceived stereotypes about people on both sides of the pond – Brits have bad teeth but accents that make them sound smart, Americans have guns and sleep medication – to somehow create a magnificent anthem about cultural differences. The song also comes with a warning for anyone who might find themselves in a similar position to Healy, though: “Don’t fall in love with the moment / And think you’re in love with the girl.”
‘Love It If We Made It’ (2018)
If you boil The 1975 down to their simplest form, what do you get? Hard-hitting, meta and endlessly quotable lyrics. Big, glittering melodies underpinned by inventive, experimental rushes. Pop gold that is both infectious enough to lift the roof off an arena anywhere in the world and refuses to settle for the same old thing that’s been done a hundred times before.
No other track in the band’s discography is quite as exemplary of all those things as ‘Love It If We Made It’, which invites you to come for the Instagrammable lyrics – “poison me daddy” and “thank you Kanye, very cool” being just two – and stay for the incisive, insightful analysis of where our world is at. Backed by a nagging, insistent musical foundation, it’s a masterclass in songwriting from all aspects and, if you ask us, The 1975 at their very, very best.