THE 1975: A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships (Dirty Hit/Interscope) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The 1975

A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

Dirty Hit/Interscope

Dec 17, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Chuck D once said, “Don’t believe the hype” and if it wasn’t for the fact he made the statement back in 1988, the Public Enemy frontman could well have been talking about The 1975’s A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. Arguably the most over hyped and over lauded record released in 2018 by one of the most overrated acts to emerge from any year. It’s difficult finding anything interesting to say about something so bland and conceptually average as this.

At best, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships could be described as slightly passable background music. At worst, a self-indulgent mess that’s taken far too many stimulants in the early hours and believed its own hype. There it is again, hype. A word we’ll keep coming back to throughout the course of this review. See, it’s difficult to be objectionable about something so ordinary that’s been placed on such a high pedestal by so many. I’ve listened to it numerous times; indeed, here in the UK at the moment it’s an achievement to avoid The 1975, whether that be on the radio, television, or in the supermarket. They’re everywhere like the proverbial flies around dogshit and contain about as much substance as the latter to boot.

I guess the writing was on the wall five years ago when that awful “Chocolate” single launched them into mainstream consciousness in the first place. Because this record is so mainstream; a throwaway pop record that tries so hard to be something it really isn’t. Some of the arrangements wouldn’t be that bad if they hadn’t been sampled and sequenced to death. But if over-producing the life out of something is one thing, any use of the dreaded Auto-Tune facility is another. It runs through A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships like the plague to the point where numerous listens later I still have no idea what Matty Healy’s actual singing voice sounds like.

Which brings us onto the cocksure frontman, whose narcissistic persona overshadows the whole album. Taking the lyrics of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” to heart, these songs really are about Healy. So we have lyrics about sex (“TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME”), heroin (“Sincerity Is Scary”), and sometimes both (“Love It If We Made It” with its “fucking in a car, shooting heroin” missive). It’s not all bad. “I Couldn’t Be More in Love” and its story of a broken relationship is plausible, as is recent single “Give Yourself a Try” apart from the damn Auto-Tune. “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)” rewrites Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” for the millennial generation, which is also passable.

But these glimmers of hope are very few and far between on a record that’s been built up as something it really isn’t. Of course it will sell by the bucket load, but then sales aren’t always a barometer of quality or indeed longevity. So while some people in a parallel universe might be comparing A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships to Radiohead’s OK Computer, this record has all the staying power of a broken laptop.

Avoid at all costs. (

Author rating: 3/10

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Average reader rating: 4/10


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December 17th 2018

Look, I don’t even have any particular love for this record, but god damn, this is such a transparent attempt to be contrarian. You spend most of the review talking about how the album has hype around it. “I guess the writing was on the wall five years ago when that awful ‘Chocolate’ single launched them into mainstream consciousness in the first place.” As if artists can’t change, can’t refine their sound? I’m not saying it’s anything revolutionary, but it’s definitely more refined than their earlier stuff. You sound like someone stuck in the past. It’s 2018, get over yourself. Music with autotune isn’t inherently bad, it’s often used as a stylistic choice. That isn’t to say it’s always used well, but you sound like you’re stuck in 1997, we’ve moved past the time where it was solely used to supplement poor vocals. This is such an unambiguous bash on something simply because it’s popular, and it’s frankly gross. Terrible, lazy review.

December 18th 2018

You can’t be a music critic if you reject mainstream music just for being mainstream. The record is quite decent, some of these songs very well could become milestones. If the only thing about ‘‘Love It If We Made It’’ that caught your attention was the ‘‘shooting heroin’’ line, I don’t think you actually listened to it. Angry, biased review.

December 20th 2018

I still don’t understand how reviews like these get aggregated into the Metacritic scores.

December 22nd 2018

The thing is this review is atrocious not because it wants to go against the curve, it’s because it literally does not say one thing to justify why you hate it. Something isn’t bad because it is hyped or praised, nor because it has autotune (you ever heard of Kanye?). A review like this makes you the IKEA of music critics, meaning cheap, uninspired and appears fancy from the outside. And as much as you won’t like to admit it, it helps you drive a lot of traffic.

January 18th 2019

Such a terrible review; I have never heard of Under the Radar before, but now I know it is a publication with zero credibility.  Will avoid at all costs.

January 22nd 2019

Hahahahaha. I loved your review. Your the only person who ripped into this record and it’s marvelous. I feel like it’s generally weak as a concept album and agree that it’s just an over-hyped album with not much substance behind it. And maybe it’s just my taste, but it’s way to bubblegum-y for me personally.