Rated: 8.7 [out of 10]
Saving You Time:
2.) Love It If We Made It
3.) I Like America & America Likes Me
4.) Sincerity is Scary
“A Brief Inquiry…” finds Matt Healy and his Manchester-based band the 1975 toeing the line between beauty and arrogance, once more. A somehow smoothly schizophrenic album - at times American retro-inspired, at times futuristic-sounding. What truly sets them apart is their ability to feel modern while maintaining the charm that runs through Healy’s lyrics and persona. In “A Brief Inquiry…,” Healy takes aim at American themes and sounds, while wrapped with the daily intrusions of technology in our lives.
The most raw commentary on the era we live in might not come on the Billy Joel-inspired lead-single “Love It If We Made It,” but during the almost-unintelligible auto-tuned wails of, “I Like America & America Likes Me” where he exclaims, “Kids don’t want rifles, they want Supreme/No gun required!/Oh, will this help me lay down?/We're scared of dying, it's fine”
The song is dotted with American tropes like “on fire,” which is dually employed to be a cliched and touchingly desperate plea for attention. This is ultimately Healy’s point with “A Brief Inquiry.” The world is wrapped by technology and he half-mocks, half-loathes the weight of its advance. The trap-assisted sound of “I Like America” highlights Healy’s wide melodic ability, while also flashing the understated lyrical irony that makes the album as clever and romantic as it is political.
The band’s take on the American soundscape leads us to something shockingly honest at a moment where popular music tends to shy away from writing outward. The album as a whole proved they’re intent on growing, and willing to push the boundaries of what pop music is ahead of 2019.