All five albums by The 1975, definitively ranked from worst to best
If you lived on Tumblr in 2014 you’re not going to be happy
I make no apologies about how much I love The 1975. I truly believe that if you don’t think that they are high up in the conversation for the best band in the world, you’ve let your personal dislike of Matty Healy cloud your judgement on truly outstanding and varied albums. What makes the band’s discography so special in my opinion is how they’ve evolved into this masterclass in genre hopping – you never know where an album is going to take you next from track to track. I feel like the fandom of The 1975 is split between the purists of Tumblr days of yore, indie kids who’d sneer at the words ‘pop music’ like they were a bad smell – and music fans who’ve fallen in love with the band’s adventurous journey through genre, production and Healy lyricism. Here’s my definitive and considered ranking of all five albums by The 1975, ranked from worst to best.
5. The 1975
As I type this, I’m reinforcing the battlements around my home for the onslaught of Urban Outfitters clad girlies who are going to storm out of 2013 or 2014 with their c1garettes-and-alc0h0l url Tumblr blog in tow to raise me to the ground for having the audacity to rank their Bible last, but I’m sorry to say that without your nostalgia tinted glasses on this is clearly their least good album. It’s not bad, it’s fine – it’s actually quite seminal in its cultural impact and I give that status a polite nod. But this album is the band just not at their most exciting, it’s only a glimpse of what’s to come. The big hitters are the band at their most conventionally indie, and that’s just not personally what I come to them for.
Probably also factor in the fact that circa 2013 when it dropped I had no interest in this band, so the nostalgia just doesn’t factor in for me. But look, if a die hard Lana Del Rey fan like myself can look back on Born To Die and accept that it clearly is not even close to being her best album, you guys can manage it with this one.
4. Notes On A Conditional Form
This album is a record of sheer, unbridled chaos. It is full of swings and misses, but when it hits, it’s like nothing they’ve ever done before. A lot of fans would probably rank Notes last out of all The 1975 albums, but it has far more
The issue with the much maligned Notes is its length and its lack of restraint. Where 2018’s A Brief Inquiry was experimental, Notes takes it a step further beyond that record’s focus and becomes even more unrestrained. All of life is here, from the anarchs-punk and scream of People, to UK garage tinged bangers like Frail State of Mind to opening the whole thing with a spoken word protest song right out of the mouths of Greta Thunberg.
It’s… a lot. And I love it! When I’m in the mood for this album, nothing else quite hits like it – brave, weird, daring. But when you’re in the mood for something succinct it’s not always the easiest pill to swallow – an intentional move on the band’s part, but it’s simultaneously the record’s biggest strength and weakness.
3. I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it
I’ve really been splitting hairs between second and third place on this ranking, but I’ve settled on the decider being focus. This second album is as long as its ridiculously sentimental name, and gets away with it by being chock full of some of the best pop songs this side of the 2010s. Absolutely insanely great tunes to be found here.
I remember the first time I heard Love Me – was in the midst of a particularly bleak shift at River Island in my uni days. That opening riff, the way it panned the stereo field somehow even on a menswear shop floor? Suddenly, I was alive. And it’s not even close to being the best song on the record! Not when it shares a home with A Change Of Heart – one of the most gut punching songs in The 1975’s discography in my opinion – and Paris, long heralded by Matty himself as the band’s best. He very well might be right.
But for me, it’s The Sound that hits every spot the hardest – a magnum opus track that hits new heights of euphoria that they’d never hit before. And arguably never hit again! What a record.
2. Being Funny In A Foreign Language
The latest release from The 1975 is their Jack Antonoff record, as all artists in today’s climate must commit to making once in their career. You’ll find no moans about that from me – Jack Antonoff is in demand for a reason, a producer and writer with a near unbeatable ear for hooks, interesting instrumentation and songwriting. Pair that with George Daniel’s skills and I am a very happy man INDEED.
What I love so much about Being Funny In A Foreign Language is its focus! A 1975 album running at 43 minutes I could NOT believe it! I still can’t believe it. It’s refreshing to hear the band bring it back in, get some control. They’ve already proven they can be chaotic and experimental, the next most adventurous step is naturally to reverse that and show everyone they can make a concise and focused record that’s equally great, if not even more so.
From lead single Part Of The Band, a strings laden, ridiculously well written and conversational masterpiece – to the band’s every album staple banger that sounds like Charli XCX could have recorded it, Happiness, Being Funny In A Foreign Language wastes no seconds, it’s endlessly charming. Whether they’re taking us back to the early days sound of their first album with About You or writing lyrics about Denise Welch complaining about her bad back on the unexpectedly delightful Wintering, this record is one of 2022’s and the band’s best ever.
1. A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships
I will not beat around the bush: A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships is not only ranked as the best of all 1975 albums, but arguably sits comfortably within my top 20 albums of all time. I think it is an absolute masterpiece, that should be in everyone who considers themselves a serious fan of music’s record collection. It’s weird, daring, fascinating and anthemic.
The reverb, autotune and vocoder turned up to the absolute max alongside the conventional power pop rock they made their name doing, it’s a beast of an album that takes you on a ride through its millennial analysis of digital dependancy, nihilism, depression and death. It sounds gloomy, and much of it is existential – but with The 1975 fronting it this album still manages to put me in the best mood.
Of all the albums ranked here, it’s this effort from The 1975 with the most songs that I would consider some of my favourites of all time. The sheer euphoria of TooTimeTooTimeTooTime, the Charli XCXian epic I Like America & America Likes Me… there’s a reason why most of the songs from this album got performed in the “At Their Very Best” section of their gig on tour – A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships is as great as it gets.
Listen to all of The 1975 albums ranked here by streaming them on Spotify in this playlist.
Related stories recommended by this writer:
• A look back at the wankiest stuff The 1975’s Matty Healy has ever said
• It’s time to admit The 1975 are the lamest band in the world right now
• You can now get an official rating of how tragic your Spotify truly is