The 1975 cuts to the core in “Being Funny in a Foreign Language”

The 1975 returned this year with another album of hits, “Being Funny in a Foreign Language.” It is packed with commentary on modern society as well as real glimpses into lead singer Matty Healy’s struggles with drug use.

The album starts off with a track titled “The 1975,” something long-term fans would be excited and expecting to see. Throughout the band’s five albums, every opening track has had the band’s namesake as well as identical lyrics, with the only difference being the rhythm.

However, this time Healy surprises us with a song commenting on social media and capitalism. A good line in the song was, “You see, I can’t sleep ‘cause the American Dream / has been buying up all of my self-esteem.” It is clear commentary on how capitalism has become a personality trait in today’s society.

The next song on the album is “Happiness.” This song is more upbeat than the last, it follows a one-sided love. He is pleading for a girl to show him affection, claiming that without it he will never love again. He shares a relatable thought for those who have fallen in love with someone who cannot return their feelings, singing, “I’m gonna stop messing it up because I’m feeling like I’m messing it up.”

Following “Happiness” is “Looking For Somebody (To Love).” This song made my jaw drop the first time I listened to it because I anticipated something lighthearted based on the title. However, Healy surprises us once again with more commentary on modern issues by crafting a track about shootings. He creates a binary, repeatedly singing “looking for somebody to love” before switching to aggressive lines.

The lines “Oh, they ran, oh, they ran, you should have seen how they ran when / I was looking for somebody to love / You should have seen it, man, I was all, ‘Bang, bang, bang, bang!’ / Looking for somebody to love” demonstrate this stark contrast. When he brings back the introductory lines of the song, I got chills because a darker context has been established.

Then, Healy takes a moment to reflect on his personal struggles in the song “Part of the Band.” In an interview with Rolling Stone, Healy talked about his addiction to heroin and going to rehab in 2018. He checked into rehab in Barbados for six weeks where he went through cognitive-behavioral therapy and spent time with a therapy horse.

He refers to this period of his life throughout the song, first mentioning, “So many cringes in the heroin binges / I was coming off the hinges / Living on the fringes of my, my, my imagination.”

Since then, he has stayed clean and only smoked marijuana. He expresses this dedication to sobriety in what is arguably the best line of the song, “I’ve not picked up that in a thousand-four hundred days, and nine hours and sixteen minutes babe / It’s kinda my daily iteration.”

The last track worth pitching as a reason to check out the album is “Wintering,” because I enjoyed listening to it in October despite its subject being Christmas. It is about his loved ones and his anticipation of returning home on Dec. 23.

This song has a comparatively happier tone and includes some comedy. Healy sings about giving his mom his seat since she has a bad back, then later says, “Now mum’s not a fan of that line about her back, she said it makes her sound frumpy and old / I said ‘Woman, you are sixty-four years old.’”

I left out a few songs because there is still so much to say about them, so I had to choose the very best. This album deserves the entire five out of five stars for its focus on real issues and creative lyricism.


5/5 stars

Photo courtesy of Jasminewallis24, Wikipedia.