REVIEW: The 1975’s “Being Funny in a Foreign Language”

Written by on November 29, 2022

On October 14, The 1975 released their fifth album, Being Funny in a Foreign Language. I’ve been a fan of The 1975 since my middle school Tumblr days, but I have to admit, this album differs just a bit from their usual pop rock sound. I prefer their previous sound, but I still enjoyed this album nonetheless because of the band’s usual upbeat sound. It’s fresh and warm, like linen straight from the laundry machine. What’s not to love about it?

Album cover for Being Funny in a Foreign Language.

If I had to describe this album using a color, it would be off-white. It’s not exactly The 1975’s usual sound, but it’s still gorgeous. In this album, the band moves away from their usual synth and pop rock sound and into a more experimental area. I love when artists do this, only because I like how polarizing it can be. Experimental albums like this one can be a hit or miss, but in my opinion, this one was a hit for the most part.

I loved the upbeat beginning of the album. The album begins with the tracks “The 1975” (as usual!) and “Happiness.” I heard “Happiness” back when it was released as a single in August, and it lives up to its jovial title. It sounds just like The 1975; it’s reminiscent of a song that would be on their second album, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It.

“Part Of The Band” music video

The middle part of the album is where The 1975’s newer sound comes in. I first listened to this album late at night, so I wasn’t feeling it initially. After a couple more listens, I actually enjoy how “mature” it sounds. It still sounds like The 1975, but the new sound feels “grown up,” for lack of a better description. “Part Of The Band,” for example, has a familiar melody that is distinctively The 1975. However, it has acoustic guitar, stringed instruments and trumpet. It’s slower, more pensive, and not something 13 year old me would dance to. I love it.

Other songs, like “I’m In Love With You” or “Oh Caroline” have that familiar synth pop sound that The 1975 are known for. The “maturity,” however, is due to the fact that these songs are much more subdued. They’re also slower, and the vocals are much more pronounced than the beat. This doesn’t take away from how good these songs are, though. They’re perfect for when you want to listen to the band, but want something new.

The reason I say this album was a hit “for the most part” is because some songs still haven’t grown on me yet. For example, “Human Too” is quite strange for me to hear, even now. It’s not that these other songs aren’t good, because they are, but they have a sound that takes a couple of listens to enjoy. I didn’t like “When We Are Together” at first, but now I love how gentle it is. It’s the perfect end to this album.

via @the1975 on Twitter.

I can’t review this album without talking about the viral hit, “About You,” which is the penultimate song on the album. It’s gone viral for its gorgeous duet with Carly Holt, the wife of The 1975’s lead guitarist Adam Hann. I understand the hype completely. This song is the most “The 1975” song on this album, featuring haunting, ethereal vocals, and a beautiful melody. It’s the musical continuation of their song “Robbers,” released in 2013. It’s the perfect addition to this album, and it heals my middle school self. I can’t gush about it enough.

All in all, this album is incredible. The newer sound coupled with The 1975’s usual sound is perfect. Being Funny in a Foreign Language is a perfect way to end the year, and I can’t wait to see what this band has in store.

The 1975 in concert.

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