The 1975's new album Notes on a Conditional Form never approached Chinese Democracy levels of delay but it was a bit of a microcosm of the COVID-19 pandemic the world is in the middle of. It's been delayed at a minimum of four times and now it's come out for better or worse. The band touring on the record seems unlikely at best, but we did get something from a prominent current band that we don’t really get these days - a studio album that's meant to hold its own as a piece of art.
What's cool about Notes on a Conditional Form is it manages to do just that. From speeches by activist Greta Thunberg, to big sweeping dramatic scores more suited for National Geographic documentaries to just plain pop songs. The 1975 says something with their new album, and it's something that everybody who loves modern music needs to hear.
The 1975 can be accused of a lot of different things. Sometimes they feel like they're a little pretentious, sometimes they can be seen as eccentric, and to the UK… they can be seen as basic pop. There’s more to them than that. Since their inception in 2012, they really haven’t repeated themselves. It seems like with every song they’re doing something new. With this album that’s the case too. They’re all over the map. There are some artistic statement songs, there are pop songs, acoustic-folk inspired music new wave – there’s a little bit of everything on the sonic scale.
As diverse as this is sonically it's just as diverse lyrically. There's a lot to digest here, a lot to go through. Personal feelings from Healy, stories, speeches, weird lyrics… you can listen to this album multiple times and find something new.
The 1975's Notes on a Conditional Form is kind of a sad tale. It should be this groundbreaking album for the band but instead it's likely to get lost in a shuffle. Still, if you're a fan you're going to love this record. It's weird, there's new stuff all over, and Healy and the rest of the band really do their best to put their best foot forward while approaching new ground with everything they do.