Header photograph courtesy of Caitlin Leow (24A01B)
Written By Shannen Lim (24A01A)
The first time I ever heard a The 1975 song was in 2018, when the radio station I listened to played “Girls” from their debut album, “The 1975”. I was immediately intrigued, but I only started listening to them regularly after the release of their fourth album, “Notes on a Conditional Form” (which, if you ask any other The 1975 fan, would be considered their very worst album). So began a love affair between me and their music, as their songs accompanied me on long bus rides home after school and during homework sessions with friends.
On the 18th of July, this love affair was somewhat actualised when I laced up my Doc Martens to see them perform live at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.
The concert started off with a bang. Matty Healy, the band’s lead vocalist, appeared amidst fog emitting from the smoke machine and thunderous applause from the crowd. The first song of the night, “Looking for Somebody (to Love)”, belonging to their recently released fifth album, “Being Funny in a Foreign Language”, was performed to screams of joy and excitement.
The opening was followed by a slew of the most joyful and heart-pounding songs from their discography. Fans jumped around to “I’m in Love with You” and “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)”. Friends and couples alike danced along to “Me & You Together Song”, a personal favourite that celebrates the idealism and joy of teenage romance.
With gentle vocals and soft drum beats, they performed their Tik Tok famous “About You”. Strobe lights and darkness of the room settled the crowd to a swaying, humming mass. Performed live, the song was more ethereal than when played on a phone, as hundreds of voices sang “I never know what to think about/ I think about you” in unison.
“We’re going back to the time of Tumblr, Lana and Taylor”Matty Healy
He starts singing their 2013 smash hit, “Robbers”, which had fans swaying along with soft smiles on their faces. It was coupled with “Chocolate”, the more upbeat, dance number from the same album.
“It is a The 1975 concert. It’s not about being happy– it’s about being in the moment.”Matty Healy
The band delved into the deeper, sadder tracks of their discography for a good part of the night, performing songs like “Somebody Else”, “fallingforyou” and “Love It If We Made It” to a misty-eyed crowd. As any The 1975 fan would know, they are truly at their very best when they are at their saddest. This was most clear as fans wailed along to “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)”, one of their most heart-wrenching hits.
The mood was briefly lifted up with an acoustic cover of “Paris”, an underrated song from their album “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it”. Crowds sang along with beaming smiles. On a personal note, the softness of the song impelled me to start drafting this article there and then, a clear testament to its depth and ability to strike inspiration.
The night was rounded out with earnest performances of “When We Are Together” and “Give Yourself a Try” – anthems of hope and joy amidst difficult times. The 1975 played everyone out to cheers for encores, but alas, the magical night had come to an end.
As a band, The 1975 has had their fair share of controversies (which I shall not discuss for the sake of propriety). However, at their core, they always prove to be a band that knows their fans, whether it be through Matty Healy’s strange jokes or their relatable references to teenage heartbreak that thread all their songs together.
In the end, music, like theirs, is always a love affair between artists and their fans. The 1975 proved that this love affair was at its very best that night with their setlist of fan favourites, old and new, performed to a crowd thoroughly in love.