The 1975: A 21st Century Band with a 20th Century Feel

Almost a year ago, while sitting in my high school tech class, my friend had her Spotify open on her phone. I’ll admit, I peeked a little to see what she was listening to (I’m a sucker for new music I’ve never heard before). On the screen was a song called “Robbers” by a band called The 1975. Here’s the song:

For a second, I was curious, but chose to evade this new sound. However, it was only a matter of time until I came around; over the summer of 2015, I really started to listen to them. And boy, I have not one ounce of regret.

Hailing from Manchester, England, The 1975 formed when the ever-eccentric Matthew Healy, who’s the lead singer, met fellow band mates Ross MacDonald, Adam Hann, and George Daniel in high school and began to play music together. They began like any beginning band would by covering punk songs at local clubs. They went through many different names to call their band until they finally compromised on the Healy’s inspiration after finding scribblings on the back of an old beat poetry book by Jack Kerouac dated “1 June, The 1975.” Thus, the band was officially named and formed.

They finally reached mainstream success after releasing their debut self-titled album, reaching number one on the UK charts. “Sex”, “Girls”, and “Robbers” were three of the main singles that took control of the charts at the time of the album’s release. Soon after, their popularity swept across the internet, specifically blogging sites like Tumblr. People connected with the lyrics and the messages sent through each song. But why is this the case?

Healy, the main songwriter for the band, sometimes creates massive questioning to what his songs are about. I’ve had times where I have to listen to the song more than twice to really analyze the lyrics. What does he mean? What message is he trying to convey? He reads on a consistent basis, whether it be poetry or various books, whenever he’s on the road touring. This has helped influence his intelligence, his use of vocabulary, and the way he formats his sentences. Plus, the fact that the British population uses much more formal language than a small population of Americans only makes his lyrical style more sophisticated. Modern, mainstream musicians’ lyrics are easy to read and need no deep analysis. Healy puts this stereotype to rest by writing lyrics with deep-rooted, advanced meanings in the “dumbed-down” world of music that we live in today.

The reason why this band has a 20th century feel is not only because of their songwriting ability, but it’s also due to their sound. It’s no bubblegum pop that you’ll see topping the iTunes charts or an artist that takes home 7 Grammy’s (see how much music has changed over the years?). Their sound is that of an actual band, that writes their own music and plays instruments. Much like The Talking Heads, who is one of their main influences. Don’t believe me? Listen to this song, and you’ll hear them:

 

I strongly advise people to lend their ears to this band. In fact, you can check out their new album, I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware, here.

Songs you should hear: “Chocolate”, “Girls”, “Robbers”, “Love Me”, “The Sound”, “Somebody Else”

Feeling the Music

Picture this: imagine yourself plugging your headphones into your music device or computer. You could pick a song, any song for that matter. Whatever your heart sees fit, the song will definitely make you feel some type of way (did you catch the Rich Homie Quan reference?). You probably didn’t, and if that’s the case, I’d be glad if you didn’t catch it.

Finally, you pick a song. The opening chords start to play, the beat begins to drop, and the guitar riff starts to pick up. Little does the listener know that he/she is in for a ride that can be described by any adjective: enjoyable, emotional, laughable, etc. Whatever it is, be ready to not only hear the music, but feel it.

Most songs written nowadays or even in the past have touched certain people on a level that only they can describe. If you’ve ever had an emotional experience in your life, the feelings you have can only increase. You might be happy about a life changing event that just occurred, or you might feel sad and depressed because of a loss you’ve had close to you and your family. The music speaks to you; it’s almost a way of showing that you’re not alone. Others, maybe even the writers, have been in the same shoes, walked the same mile, and have journeyed on the same path.

For me, when my dad passed away at a young age, it was one of, if not, the greatest loss I’ve experienced in my life. For years, it was hard to even describe what this even meant to me emotionally and how it affected who I am today. My mom, being the major influence in my musical taste, had a large collection of music ranging from classical orchestras to to even some of today’s country. Being immersed in this world did its work on me; I soon discovered that one of the only ways I can express myself is through music.

Anywhere I go, I have to have some sort of music playing; it’s just what helps me get through the day. I’ll often get a nostalgia moment where I remember a song from a while ago and want to start listening to it again. It helps me move, in a way of speaking. The person I’ve become today is widely due to the music I’ve encountered throughout my life. As odd as it sounds, it’s who I am.

To close out, here’s a song that always reminds me of my dad anytime I listen. Once the opening chords are played, the memories take over and I go back in time. Here’s “Sullivan Street” by Counting Crows:

My Best Concert Experience

As a music lover, I get thrilled whenever I have concert tickets in my hand. But those feelings come about months before the concert; I get so excited that I set countdowns on my phone, I listen to nothing but the artist that I’m going to see, and I tell everyone about it, whether they care or not. I have had many great concert experiences; so many, that I even have a list of the best ones that I’ve seen and ones that I need to see. However, my best concert experience to date was one that took place on November 14, 2009. My mom and I had been looking out for shows that we could go to together (it’s one of the many things me and my mom connect over). When we first found out about this particular show, we went berserk and my mom got them immediately, thus creating one of the best weekends of my entire life. This is the small story of the best concert of my life: Metallica at Madison Square Garden.

When we first got to the venue, you could see the Metallica faithful outside the arena in great fashion. Young and old alike displayed their love for the band showcasing their knowledge of all their great albums and past experiences seeing them live. I was amazed; at just 13, I was exposed to what a true fan base was, and I’ll touch on that more later. We enter the arena and get to our seats, which, hilariously, were in a handicap section. My mom and I chuckled about it, but overall were pleased with the view we had. The stage was at the center of the floor, making enough room for the pit of people who would jumping and moshing all night long. There were light fixtures above that looked like coffins, as a way to promote their new album, Death Magnetic, which has a coffin on the cover. These fixtures would move up and down, left and right throughout the night creating an amazing spectacle. A platform in the very center of the stage spun was triggered to rotate as a way for drummer Lars Ulrich to see everyone and connect with the crowd.

The first two opening bands’ sounds offset each other; Volbeat, from Denmark, had a very calming heavy metal/hard rock sound which I very much enjoyed (they even did a cover of a Johnny Cash song). Lamb of God, however, was strictly heavy metal; they had long, black hair and screamed into the mic. I thought the drummer was gonna fall off the stage because of how hard he was banging on the drums. My mother showed her affection for the band by leaving during their set to go to the bathroom, as did I.

Finally, the whole arena knew that the time was about to arrive. Some of the designated stage crew members took their places by climbing rope ladders to get in their positions. Their jobs were to manage the laser lights and pyrotechnics to create an organized show that would make everyone leave the concert amazed and sad that it was over. At least, that’s what I felt after it was over. The lights suddenly dimmed and the headlining band’s entrance music was played: “The Ecstasy of Gold” from the movie The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The four men hit the stage with a bang and took no hesitation into starting the show. Their first two songs were new and then continued to play their classics. As I was watching, I couldn’t seem to grasp on to a very noticeable, but amazing factor to why this band is so great: at the age that all four of the men were at, they still had the energy to put on a show for all their fans every single night and connect with their fans on an emotional level. A lot of artists today have a love/hate relationship with their fans and often receive criticism for treating them like they don’t mean anything. Metallica, I’ve noticed, makes sure that all the fans get involved. Because if not for the many, long years of support ever since their formation in ’81, they would never been able to play on this type of venue, or even headline huge events and festivals. It’s because of the fans that they show their appreciation and gratitude every show.


  
This is why Metallica is not only my best concert to date, but it’s why they are my favorite band. When I heard they were going to play at the Grammy’s a couple years ago, I was afraid for them; because of the direction that music is headed in these days, I feared that they wouldn’t be appreciated by today’s audience. In this generation, it seems that true musicianship, the ability to play instruments, and the skill to write songs on your own is often overlooked. Beyonce, who also performed at that year’s Grammy’s, can sing and perform a song that she wrote with the help of five people, which includes repeated lines and lyrics that don’t have a deeper meaning to them. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe that Beyonce is talented in a certain aspect, but compared to Freddie Mercury, the late, great leader of Queen, he wrote the timeless “Bohemian Rhapsody” by himself. There’s a huge difference between true musicianship and being an entertainer. Metallica is a prime, modern-day example of why this should still matter to the world of music. I truly believe that the music industry should pay more attention to the ones who spend hours of practice mastering their respective crafts and creating a familiar sound to a new generation of listeners.

Why Reddit Can Appeal to Anybody

For a little over a year now, I’ve been using Reddit after I had first only heard of it, and it’s become one of my favorite places to go on the internet. I had previously watched videos from RoosterTeeth and they referenced the site quite often. I was confused and intrigued as to what they were talking about. They had their own page, called a subreddit, and would receive comments from their viewers. However, interesting usernames mask the people behind the comments and posts, and the only way to see their other posts is to click on their username to see their profile. Sounds a little familiar to Tumblr, another blogging site where a user can subscribe to different tags and pages based on their liking. Both sites have their artistic, creative appeal to their respective users, but the deeper depths of both sites can reveal how weird and downright strange some users can be. Here are some different subreddit subjects that prove that Reddit has an appeal to any audience:

1. Sports

As an avid sports fan, I always look for the latest sports news and trends. I have notifications sent to my phone daily basis by both ESPN and Bleacher Report. I get updates about my favorite teams and news from around the leagues I follow. On Reddit, they have multiple subreddits dedicated to any sport you desire to follow. Personally, I follow subreddits that feature information about pro football, college football, Barclays Premier League and World Cup soccer, MLB, international rugby, and college basketball. I enjoy reading all the various stories about team transactions and stories, especially events that happen in the near-daily featured “This Day in History.” Joke subreddits are also a huge success where they make fun of players and coaches and other humiliating moments that happen during games. For example, the Patriots vs. Colts game this past season showcased a head-scratching fake punt attempt that left everyone pondering what Chuck Pagano was thinking. This was one of the memes that was produced only moments later and posted on r/nflmemes: 

Joke accounts are probably some of the more entertaining places to go on Reddit, and I find it to be one of my main destinations.

2. Music

Music is a big part of my life and Reddit highlights news about upcoming albums, tours, and what musicians are collaborating with who. I avoid the sites that are tabloid-like and attack some of my favorite artists. In fact, r/music is where I first found about Guns N’ Roses upcoming reunion tour. Subreddits also include a place to post music videos and new music from Soundcloud and upcoming artists. r/listentothis is a perfect place for this; when you discover a song by an overlooked band that fits the qualifications to be posted on the site (usually has to have <500,000 on Spotify), they’ll be featured for music lovers to open their ears to.

3. Movies & TV

Movie reviews are featured daily ranging from box office hits to independent and foreign films. The best part about it is that you, an average user, don’t have to a five-star film critic to review movies on Reddit. You can offer your perspective and comment others’ reviews. TV shows are also a huge topic of discussion; subreddits can be dedicated to Saturday Night Live (which is a really interesting and creative outlet for all who contribute to the site), or cult-following shows like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. Once you enter, you’ll be immersed in discussions about the shows where people continue to just talk about their favorite show. Netflix suggestions are also offered including a link to another site called http://whatthehellshouldiwatchonnetflix.com/ which is exactly what it sounds like. It helps you decide what to watch based on what ratings and critics say about the show. Very helpful for the Netflix addict who thinks they’re all “Netflix’d” out.

4. Funny Videos, Images, and GIFs

I, along with a lot of other people, always enjoy seeing funny viral videos and images (standing or graphic) on social media. Reddit is just another outlet for all of these things. r/funny, r/gifs, r/pics, and r/mildlyinteresting display user-generated content linked through imgur.com. In order to post this kind of content, it’s a pretty useful asset to use, or else you’ll have difficulty uploading. I have seen some of the funniest gifs and pictures because of Reddit and I know a lot of people who’d be willing to agree if they were to take a look as well.

5. Photography

Amateur photographers can always go to either Tumblr or Flickr to post their material and they can get a lot of attention. Reddit can be another source for these types of photos, yet not a lot of people take advantage of that. It could get possibly the same amount of viewership and audience as Tumblr and Flickr. For example, I found this absolutely stunning photo of the landscape of Norway, which I currently use as my Twitter header.

I would advise photographers to experiment with Reddit and see how much attention their work gets. You may be surprised.

6. Deep Thinking

We all enter that deep state of thought from time to time and Reddit takes this to the extreme. I’ve never seen more creative and innovative thoughts than on popular subreddits related to deep cognitive thinking. r/philosophy posts texts from ancient and modern-day philosophers like Plato, Socrates, and, jokingly, DJ Khaled (bless up #major key). Users can also post their own ideas and thoughts. r/writingprompts post prompts that won’t be seen on middle school writing prompts, but instead there are different scenarios based on today’s world and fictional Dystopian societies. Users take to this and write their hearts out. If you were to read some of what the users post in the comments based on the prompts, you’d be amazed and wouldn’t even bat an eye to public school writing prompts anymore. My personal favorite is r/showerthoughts. Whenever you’re in the shower, it’s a time to yourself. You can think about anything you want: your day at work, sing a song, or remember that embarrassing moment in middle school that labeled you the “weird kid” for the rest of your schooling days. It’s a time to yourself, when suddenly an unusual thought pops into your head: “The object of golf is to play the least amount of golf,” or “A bed is a shelf for your body when you are not using it.” Simply put, woah, I would’ve never thought of this. Ideas could be so obvious and you could think you’ve been oblivious to something that’s been in front of you this whole time.

Reddit is weird, but it’s just as weird as Tumblr. I always say that Tumblr is a place for the artist in you, whereas Reddit is for the nerd in you. Both can help you get the news and your daily fix on funny trends. No matter what, if you use either site, you’ll stay in the loop of whatever it is you love to follow.