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9 Times The 1975 Shook Up Genre With Their Music

Does defining a band as a whole really matter anymore?

By Chandra Johnson

“Imagine if you woke up one morning, and you had your record collection, and the concept of genre didn’t exist,” The 1975 frontman Matthew Healy says. “The purity of that experience of listening to music without those rules is a blissful idea.”

Are genres dead? According to Healy, who stopped by MTV to talk about The 1975's upcoming album, they’ve never really mattered. There’s a ton of crossover in music, whether it’s a rock band putting out a mixtape (The Neighbourhood, we’re looking at you) or a pop artist unexpectedly putting out a dance record -- ahem, Justin Bieber.

With The 1975’s I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it slated for February 2016, fans have been wondering what their sophomore effort will sound like, especially after hearing “Love Me.” Like their debut album but even more so, every song on the album is different from one another.

The 1975 have continually blurred the line under which genre they fall given their eclectic mix of influences and sounds infused in their music.

“If you take ['Sex'] out of our arsenal, that’s the only rock song we have," Healy says. "Everything else has always been groove-based."

To prove that point further, here are nine times The 1975 unabashedly ruled them out of being defined to one genre:

  1. When they performed a cover of Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be,” but gave it an unexpected finish

    During their BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge performance, the boys took the opportunity to infuse their love of that aforementioned groove-based samples to completely restructure the original version. Instead of Clean Bandit's mesh of classical and pop, The 1975's version is a perfect marriage of R&B and rock -- really taking their love of D’Angelo and Burial one step further. Even the way singer Matty rolls his body to the sensual beat where the sax blazes around, it’s clear this is a genre they thrive in, but it wouldn’t be complete until they tied in The Weeknd’s straight-up love-making song “Wicked Games.”

  2. That time they remixed Travi$ Scott’s “Drive,” and Healy takes a turn at the mic

    Experimenting with myriad sonic elements, Scott’s song gets an unexpected verse from Healy himself, so maybe a hip-hop track is something we can expect on their forthcoming album? This isn’t the first time the “Anticode” rapper and The 1975 have teamed up; their track “M.O.N.E.Y.” is sampled throughout Scott’s “Don’t Play,” which also features Big Sean.

  3. UK Garage paved Healy’s adolescence & inspired his writing style

    Citing The Streets as a major influence in their music, this may have spawned Healy’s love of hip-hop.

    “That kind of beat poetry inspired and really, really informed the way that I wrote lyrics. I never really had a formula for writing lyrics, but the only thing I did know was that I wanted it to be as earthy as that is, like Seamus Heaney and people like that,” Healy said in a MTV Hive interview in 2013.

  4. They’re influenced by artists like A$AP Rocky and Kanye West

    Listen to their track “Undo” and not only does it sound like it was inspired by Brian Eno’s ambient composition but Rocky’s “Fashion Killa.”

  5. “Facedown” is as much My Bloody Valentine as it is Ben Khan

    The fuzzy, distorted guitar rock of My Bloody Valentine and the pulsating electronica of Ben Khan can be heard in one song -- two completely opposite wheelhouses together in one place.

  6. They’re blending cinematic themes into their sound

    Two instrumental tracks, “An Encounter” and “12,” find their way nestled in The 1975’s debut—creating that cinematic/score-type feel. With those ~ interludes,~ their album literally soundtracks your life (or adolescence just like a John Hughes movie).

  7. “Love Me” is a mix of groove-based funk and ‘80s pop

    If you close your eyes and strip away all of the guitar and little streaky annunciation’s Healy does, it has a rippling bassline similar to Rick James’ “Give It To Me Baby.”

  8. Just look at eclectic mix of artists who inspired their debut album
    Interscope

    “Sigur Ros’ Takk, Jesus and Marychain’s Psychocandy, Glassjaw’s Worship And Tribute, Speaking In Tongues and Remain In Light by Talking Heads, American Football, A$AP Rocky, Carol King’s Tapestry, James Taylor, Brian Eno’s Music For Airports and Scritti Politti. They were massive for us,” Healy had said on some of the key influencers in their sound. Peter Gabriel’s So, Michael Jackson’s Bad, The Streets’ Original Pirate Material, My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless and Brian McKnight’s 1989-2002 From There To Here album are other all-time favorites, Healy told us in 2013.

  9. Their new music is inspired by Destiny’s Child, Brian McKnight, SWB, D’Angelo to name a few.

    Listening to their new track “The Sound,” not only does it sound like Prince’s “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” but an interpretation of these very soulful artists. If you take a listen to “Love Me,” it shouldn’t have come as any surprise sonically given their massive '80s influence.