Matty Healy can't help stepping all over himself to explain away his millennial ennui. It's the ultimately charming feature, not the bug, of The 1975 — his British pop band is perfectly attuned to the hyper-aware environment of this over-connected age.
When the band began teasing something new on social media centered on "A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships," it felt a little too on-the-nose, cheeky or even a little heavy handed. But maybe that's the point. Healy, after all, seems to be an open book, at least in what he sings about; in any given song, he scales an emotional range equal to a messy Twitter thread written at three in the morning.
"The 1975 is kind of like my diary," Healy told NPR Music in 2016. "I'm either really, really frank or it's kind of conversational."
In the 1975's new song from A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, "Give Yourself A Try," Healy wants to have it both ways.
"You learn a couple things when to get to my age," he begins. "Like friends don't lie and it all tastes the same in the dark / When your vinyl and your coffee collection is a sign of the times / You're getting spiritually enlightened at 29."
Healy just turned 29. Personally, as someone who also thought he was too smart for his own good just before hitting 30 myself a few year ago, this stings in a very specific way. There is wisdom in growing older, but it's half-wisdom — scratch that, it's a micro-fraction earned from hard luck and hard love that you're only too happy (and too naive) to impart on anyone willing to listen. Eventually, you figure out that it's usually better to quietly sit with the life lessons you've learned and take a beat or two until the meaning becomes clear enough to implement in your own trash-fire existence.
So yeah, Matty Healy is typically over-wordy here, cramming as many syllables as possible into a quippy pop song that's somewhere between the quirky-guitar-jangle of Phoenix and a sped-up version of Daft Punk's tender (and underrated) collaboration with Julian Casablancas. But his aim, however wobbly, is true: You have a good probability of being obnoxious in the "adulting" era of your 20s and you might even be aware of it, but cut yourself some damn slack. Not everyone — as Healy sings — is going to have a hard time growing a beard or getting into good whiskey (#millennialproblems), but the minutiae of growing up is a pain worth knowing and sharing.
A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships is due out in October, with a follow-up coming May 2019.