‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’: The 1975’s most prophetic work so far

“Healy’s understanding of the impact moves to provide human contact on an interactive and real level — leading to the penultimate understanding that trying to live is succeeding in not dying.”

I know titularly this article is going to piss some people off — and rightfully it should — however much I miss the guitar-driven sound that The 1975 had on their self-titled debut, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships has easily slid into one of my favorite albums.

The album follows singer Matty Healy’s journey of recovery and healing as well as how the internet, social media and human interaction played a part. Furthermore, the album while, nodding to Healy’s recovery, heavily takes on the true role of our online interactions and where the line is between reality and the internet.

Not only does it have depth lyrically, but the overall mood of the album is one that has diversity and sway — no two tracks are identical. But they still flow together. “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)” fits into “TWOTIMETWOTIMETWOTIME” the same way that “Love It If We Made It” and “Its Not Living (If Its Not With You)” ease into “The Man Who Married A Robot.”

Delving into the heart of the album, there are a few songs that need some attention. “Be My Mistake” and “Surrounded By Heads And Bodies” are reminiscent of the 2003 era emo stylings of Dashboard Confessional.

“The Man Who Married A Robot” is a Siri spoken tale on an internet troll who marries the internet — the man dies alone in his house but “you can go on his Facebook.” It is both good and mildly terrifying to know that the internet will forever live on so to speak and that regardless of what happens to us, so do our stories — good and bad.

Notably, “Love It If We Made It” is a modern reboot of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” — throwing our behaviors in our face one blurry timeline scroll in a song while mimicking the cycle of news. This song was also written entirely in retweets and uses the infamous “Thank you, Kayne, very cool” tweet to bolster the problems the internet and social media have placed upon the modern world.

Smearing the line between auto-tuning and his real voice, singer Matty Healy uses “I Like America and America Likes Me” to show the unprocessable speed with which the internet throws things at us. 

Moving past the general issues the internet brings to society, the album then dives into the relationships portion with “Sincerity Is Scary.” The track hones in on the question of your online persona and your real personality. How can these two concepts exist in the same person if they aren’t the same? The dissonance that these personalities have – a meticulously crafted online one and then the human part — creates a veil that stops real human connections. Healy is simply asking if the listener is willing to open themselves to real-life connections.

“Give Yourself a Try” is an introspective look by Healy, what could have been done differently, better? The song also alludes to two different suicides — Joy Division’s Ian Curtis and a 16-year old fan. This song is countered with the affirming “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)” which is simply asking the listener to try, “If you can’t survive; just try.”

Throughout A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, the album takes the listener on a journey both of healing and on seeing the internet’s issues. Healy’s understanding of the impact moves to provide human contact on an interactive and real level — leading to the penultimate understanding that trying to live is succeeding in not dying.

You can stream the album here and purchase tickets to their upcoming spring tour here.

Hope Winkles