It’s hard to imagine a super-star act that has been more divisive in recent years than The 1975. On the other side of widespread critical acclaim and attention lies the numerous detractors, whose ire is split between the band’s actual music and the band’s contentious front man Matthew “Matty” Healy. Healy, in the band’s music and his public persona, can be extraordinarily obnoxious and prone to inflammatory statements, and that makes him understandably repulsive to a lot of people. But who better to be the medium that channels the pop culture obsessed and controversy starved section of the modern world?
In order to properly represent a people addicted to any information of any kind that they can get their hands on, you might need to cast aside any attempts at nuance or patient analysis. The world has not begun to move any faster, but the increasing pressure to know every controversy, minor or major, has caused life to look like various objects passing through our periphery while leaving us without the proper faculties to retain hardly any of it. This is why a song like “Love It If We Made It” by The 1975 is so effective.
“Love It If We Made It” comes off of the band’s third record, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, which released two years ago in the fall of 2018. The band had been building momentum since the 2013 self titled debut that led to their indie pop star rise. A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, however, was their true transition into being not just pop darlings, but critical darlings as well, receiving numerous positive reviews from publications from their native United Kingdom and across the sea alike. “Love It If We Made It” was one of the singles and subsequent stand outs from the album, landing the number one spot on Pitchfork’s Top 100 Songs of 2018 list, among multiple other accolades.
The song takes on the daunting task of capturing a single moment and making it stand still, like a tick trapped in amber. This song, like the rest of the album, pounces on the years 2016 through 2018 with an intense immediacy and urgency, as if time itself might escape into oblivion if you don’t hold on tight enough. Ironically, a lot of the references made in the song have already become somewhat stale, like Trump tweeting Kanye or the Access Hollywood tape that caused so much uproar upon its release.
However, this doesn’t mean Healy and The 1975 failed at what they were trying to achieve, but rather proved a greater point by attempting this nearly impossible task. Everything is so transient and agile now that it’s hard to comprehend anything, let alone retain it. The real heart of the song lies in the eponymous and celebratory chorus of “I’d love it if we made it.” In a car travelling at breakneck speed, all you can really do is hope against hope that either the car slows down or someone else steps in to drive. Along with this, Healy lays out his plans for the ride in the first lines of the song: “We’re fucking in a car, shooting heroin/Saying controversial things just for the hell of it.”
Thankfully Healy is clean now, but the sentiment still remains. It’s even reflected in the actual music of the song, which is both an almost direct call back to sophisti pop legends The Blue Nile and to bombastic 80s new wave, which is a well they’ve tapped many times in their career. The verses are shimmering and driving, with a thundering drum track operating almost independently of the low-key synth line and Healy’s maddened and uncharacteristic shouting. Healy ends each verse with the most truthful and resonant line in the entire song, “Modernity has failed us.”
The first time around the chorus keeps in line with the verse, but when chorus comes back for seconds it has now metamorphosed into a party, wayward synths falling all around like streamers as the drums read the room and begin to dance with the rest. The music seeks to manifest the spell cast by the title of the song, trying it’s damndest to carry along Healy at his maddest, almost screaming Trump’s quotes by the time the final verse arrives. Whether or not it works has yet to be seen, and it’s hard to keep that optimistic mindset in the current year, but to quote Jason Molina on the song “Farewell Transmission”: “Real truth about it is/No one gets it right/Real truth about it is/We’re all supposed to try.”
I will concede that The 1975 are an often annoying and obnoxious project, but I won’t concede that it doesn’t work. It’s a constant “swing for the fences” attitude, and that’s honestly what makes the band so adept at reflecting our current moment, however fleeting that reflection may be. It can be tempting to want only tact and sophistication out of your cultural analysis, but why put into culture what it’s not going to give you back? “Love It If We Made It” is such an obvious song because, honestly, there was no other option.