The 1975’s Being Funny in a Foreign Language: Album Review

The 1975’s Being Funny in a Foreign Language: Album Review

Sophia Weber, Features Editor

The 1975 released their fifth studio album, Being Funny in a Foreign Language, on October 14th of this year, after much anticipation. While the band truly is a product and icon of the 2010s, many wondered if it would continue its cultural relevance into the next decade. They need not worry.

When listening to the album, it is obvious that the band has matured in its sound and audience, as the teens who grew up with them from their emergence are now fully grown adults. As a current teen and more recent fan of The 1975, I noticed this change immediately in the heavier reliance on acoustic guitar and saxophone solos, rather than the electronic, fast-tempo songs I had grown used to, not to mention the shorter length of the album itself.


The 1975

This is the title of each album’s opening song in The 1975’s discography and attempts to capture the cultural atmosphere at the time of the release. I went past this one quickly the first time I listened to the album, until I was able to digest the repetition of “I’m sorry if you’re livin’ and you’re seventeen” and understand the true impact of lead singer Matty Healy acknowledging the weight of the world on young adults. The lyrics go on to describe the hardships young people face, with clever commentary such as “You’re makin’ an aesthetic out of not doing well” and “I’m feelin’ apathetic after scrollin’ through hell”.



This was released as a single over the summer, and I was excited to hear a more upbeat track than the previously released singles. I love when artists record or insert speech at the beginning or end of songs, and Matty’s spoken “I’m happiest when I’m doing something that I know is good” is one of my favorite parts of the album. A common theme continuing from their earlier work, the line between being intelligently cynical and genuine is explored throughout the album, and this line contrasts in a satisfying way with the divisive lyrics in other songs.


Looking for Somebody (To Love)

Although it is common for The 1975 to discuss serious topics buried under fast tempos and enthusiastic instrumentation, the subject matter of a school shooting caught me off guard when I first looked into the lyrics. At first, I was skeptical of this exploration of the impact, causes, and overall tragedy of these events. Singer Healy says of this song, “For me as a British person, school shootings are an abstract phenomena I don’t understand. These shootings have reasons and cause, and that’s what I’m trying to figure out.” This explanation better led me to better understand Healy’s perspective when writing the song. 


Part of the Band

As “Part of the Band” is the first single of the album, I was disappointed at first by the more acoustic production compared to previous albums. However, I have grown to enjoy the deviation from typical 1975-sounding production, and I think it fits well here, especially with the saxophone solos and generally jazzier sounds. The song felt much more serious and mature-sounding, and on my first listen, I began to worry I would be unable to relate. Upon succeeding listens, I began to appreciate the deeper lyrics, many of which concern Matty Healy’s recovery from addiction and growing into his new identity as a sober person.


Oh Caroline

This is another song discussing serious topics to a fast, upbeat tempo, as The 1975 does best. I truly do not have much to say about this one. I liked the sound of it the first few times I listened, but it did not stick out to me as a song I would go back to.


I’m In Love With You

This song can be seen as a companion in both music video and subject matter to the song from a previous album, “Change of Heart”. I enjoyed the references and its return to color after being black and white for most of the video. The lyrics and sound itself are addictive, if repetitive, and one of the most easily accessible on the album. The atmosphere and production of the song are euphoric, reminiscent of previous albums and an aspect of The 1975 this album seems to cut back. 


All I Need to Hear

The music video includes two minutes of Matty Healy discussing the making of the album as if on a phone call, casual and reflective until the view pans to the camera crew, and Healy says, “None of this is real, can’t expect anything real if you’re trying to make a piece of art.” I found this interesting commentary on the creation of art in our digital world, with many layers inviting discussion. This song also connects with the subject of the existence of sincerity in our modern world and how it exists inside and outside of cynicism and irony often found among the younger generation. This exploration makes the cynicism and irony present in most of the album’s songs even better.



A “going home for the holidays” song, “Wintering” is not something I would have expected from The 1975 as its subject matter aligns similarly to songs by many other artists. However, The 1975 tackles this issue with the same style as their other songs. The family’s issues and characteristics are used to mirror topics present in society.


Human Too

“Human Too” is about empathy. The repetition of “Don’t you know that I’m a human, too?” is likely a response to the overly critical and vicious world of celebrities. A truly atmospheric song, the lyrics are an act of empathy themselves as they call for understanding and connection among all of us.


About You

This is my favorite song on the album, purely based on how it sounds. The female vocals on the bridge are the best part, and I wish they could have been more present. Similar in sound and instrumentation to their older work, “About You” works exceptionally well due to its themes of memory, forgetting, and remembering. To me, this one feels the most alive and likely to become a well-loved song among the fanbase.


When We are Together

Upon first listen, I dismissed this one altogether because of the acoustic guitar, but “When We are Together” includes my favorite lyrics of the album. Describing a way to navigate relationships in the modern world, it gives a solution to the worry and confusion present in the first song “the 1975” by showing the benefits of human connection within a relationship.


In all, this album was satisfying to listen to and contains a depth of thought worthy of at least a few listens. However, like most albums, and especially with The 1975, I have a few favorite songs (“About You”, “When We are Together”, and “Happiness”) that I listen to regularly, and the rest I would not seek out. If you’re new to The 1975, I would recommend listening to a few of their more popular songs from their older albums and taking a look at their older music videos as they give a better representation of their sound.