Matty Healy On The 1975's New Album 'Notes On A Conditional Form'

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Illustration by Britt Spencer

"Artists have shown me how to aspire to live, more so than politicians or world leaders."

The 1975's fans are obsessed with "every f***ing song" by the pop/rock band, says lead singer Matty Healy. That gives the band no reason to backtrack over content they've already created on topics from politics to climate change, addiction and religion. But their latest album, Notes On A Conditional Form, released May 22, dives even deeper with a breath of added vulnerability. Notes' first single was a hard-rock rager titled "People," followed by "Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America," an acoustic track that speaks to strict religious views on sexuality. The band topped off their pre-releases with the bubbly "If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know), which fans have already declared one of the band's best thus far. "By now, I expect people expect the unexpected to a certain extent with us," Healy told Newsweek. "Our first [self-titled, concept-driven] album is still the odd one out. I think if we'd gone from the EPs to the second album to the third album to the fourth album, this idea of having no genre would have made total sense from the beginning."

In Notes and your last album, you've become more political. Greta Thunberg is even featured on Notes. What makes you so willing to push those topics as a band?

The best artists, in my opinion, kind of held a mirror up to the world around them. Artists have shown me how to aspire to live, more so than politicians or world leaders. After I made my first record or my second record, I was just taking up space if I wasn't making meaningful art.

You've talked a lot about The 1975 potentially ending as a musical entity, but you continue.

I think that comes from any writer's desire for a good ending. This record very much felt like it was going to be some kind of resolve, like some kind of final chapter. It's a bit like the end of The Graduate. It's more about new beginnings, and it's more about reality and it's more about that there isn't, kind of, ribbons to put on time.

You're about to release this album in the middle of a pandemic. It already has some lyrics that reflect the time: "People" and "Frail State of Mind" talk about not going outside. Have these songs developed different meaning for you in the current times?

Yeah. But also, it's all the same s*** now. I think I was saying, if we don't change, something is going to make us change. The record just feels justified. I don't know whether it feels prophetic.