Pop Genealogy: The 1975

The19751“Girls” was the first track I ever heard from The 1975. I was captivated immediately captivated by their groove, lyrical flow, and riff-heavy sing-alongs. I downloaded their first full-length album, simply entitled The 1975 and was surprised by the variety and nuance it contained. “Chocolate” was their breakaway hit that catapulted them into stardom. Pro-Tip: Never attempt to sing “Chocolate” at karaoke. Even if you think you know the words, you probably don’t. I thought that they were just… cool. Like, the definition of cool. What’s there not to like? Well, as I should have known, the appreciation isn’t universal. In fact, their music video for “The Sound” contains a succinct list of the kinds negative criticism I have heard when I say I love The 1975. That they have “unconvincing emo lyrics,” “terrible high-pitched vocals over soul-less robot beats,” and are just “punch-you-tv obnoxious.” Well, to those people I just want to say, “get over yourself. Seriously.” Yes, maybe the music harkens back to the polished pop of the 1980s, and the lyrics are inspired by depression and recreational drug use, and perhaps The 1975 have acquired a boyband-esque fanbase, but get over it. Their records, especially I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, are an ambitious mixture of infectious ‘80s pop with somber lyrical content, and electronic textures influenced by a variety of different sources.

UK Garage

UK Garage is a genre of electronic music with syncopated beats and chopped up samples that compliment a rhythmic structure. “This is a type of music I grew up with heavily and a subject I’m quite knowledgeable on,” said singer Matty Healy.

The Streets

The Streets’ Mike Skinner has been a major influence on The 1975’s Matty Healy’s lyrical style. “‘He was somebody writing about a pretty much middle-class scene of people who were within a world of the garage scene… It was the social narration that Mike Skinner always had that was a massive influence,” said drummer George Daniel. “ That kind of beat poetry inspired and really, really informed the way that I wrote lyrics,” Healy told MTV. “I never really had a formula for writing lyrics, but the only thing I did know was that I wanted it to be as earthy.”


David Bowie

The 1975 isn’t without its classic rock n roll influence. The funky intro in “Love Me” is highly derivative of David Bowie’s “Fame” and the verse and chorus like Bowie’s “Fashion.”


The Blue Nile- Hats

“‘This is the best band of the ’80s. Well, fucking hell… no, that is my favorite record of the ’80s,” Healy told Dan Hyman from Vulture. “Musically, they’ve inspired so much.”

From the first song, you can hear The 1975. With a low-tempo drum machine to the synth atmosphere, The Blue Nile’s “Over The Hillside” sounds a lot like 1975’s “If I Believe You.”


Works Cited for this post can be found here.

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