Reading List: 'A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships'

Perhaps the only event bigger than Christmas worth celebrating this year is the release of The 1975's latest album A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, which dropped on Friday.

I've been enjoying the album a lot. So much so that I'm actually interested in reading about music again—at least in this case. Having no intention to write anything about the record myself, I'm sharing some articles written by others which pair nicely with the release.


Dork: The 1975: Modern life is rubbish?

On their first two albums, The 1975 wore their hearts on their sleeves and hoped other people would relate. ‘A Brief Inquiry...’ sees the band just as bare and open, but this time around, they know they’re not the only ones feeling this way.

“As you grow older and grow as an artist, you become more of a global citizen through touring, meeting more people and just learning about the world. It just becomes a more natural thing to do.”

Every magpied piece of inspiration is fully embraced, every bold decision is celebrated, and every song explores something real. It’s a masterpiece with a lot to say. It’s why The 1975 are such an important band.

"You don’t have to like a band to admit that they’re important. We’ve made an impact. We’ve made an impact on young people. I see it. It’s important to me, it’s a massive part of my life, and if I didn’t believe it, I wouldn’t act accordingly. Music and bands, they were important to me so when I see that replicated in a young person, it’s immediately validated."

A hint at the vibe for Notes On A Conditional Form, due next June

“There are a few lyrics. There are ideas, but there’s a bunch of music. It’s deconstructed. It’s quite English. We’re always going back to a time in our life and referencing certain bits of music from there, and I think this is referencing a lot of UK garage and the feeling of driving on the M25 at night.”

Dazed: Sincerity is scary, Matty Healy is brave

"Self-love, and looking after yourself, and celebration, and not taking the piss, letting go, allowing yourself to look like a knob in front of your mates, these are things that are starting get embraced… I think people (are) honestly owning their fears and their insecurities. But, being open about it is even becoming more attractive to people. Because we’re so aware of it now, we’re aware of how much society deals with mental health issues – but also how popular it is as a subject."

A humorous aside on Piers Morgan riling up his base with inauthentic distain.

"My thing with Piers Morgan is like, listen mate, if you’re a beacon of traditional masculinity, why has the public only ever seen you with a face of make-up on? Maybe I’ll tweet him. I really want him to get me on the show, because he would hate this album more than anybody."

On creating Notes so quickly after A Brief Inquiry...

"My only fear is that because I’ve put this umbrella over both albums, they’ll be perceived as intrinsically connected. The only connection is that we live in a culture where we’ll watch the best thing we’ve ever seen on Netflix, and be like, “That’s the best thing I’ve ever seen”, and then just wanna watch something immediately next. The only reason there’s two albums is because my attention span, like everyone else’s, is shortened. It’s definitely going to have a relationship with (the previous album). But that was never my intention; I’m just making records"

Rolling Stone: The 1975: Drugs, Hits, Rebirth

“It wasn’t partying too hard,” he says. “It was the polarity between connecting with 10,000 people and then going to a hotel room by myself. Mass acceptance and genuine loneliness. It was easier to mediate that with drugs.”

“I do not judge anybody who can’t hold it together. But you’ve got to fucking try. The alternative is so bleak.”

Pitchfork: The 1975’s Matty Healy Dissects Every Song on A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

Do you think this current generation of teenagers has it harder than you did?

"Definitely. I have a brother who’s 13 years younger than me. Back when I was in high school, if there was a fight, there’d be the buildup, then the fight, and then the aftermath where people talk shit, but then people would go back to their houses and that was it. But my brother was telling me that now, with Twitter, the fight is the start of it. Once everyone goes home, everyone’s adrenaline is up, so everyone’s like [mimics excitedly typing on a phone]. Then another 15 fights get organized for after school and then that shit kicks off and then you go home, and everyone’s up till like four in the morning, going, “Bro, you’re going to get fucked up!” And then everyone’s super tired and turns up to school all craggy. Nobody can concentrate, everyone’s fighting."

On "Surrounded by Heads and Bodies":

The title of this song is from David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. What significance does that book hold for you?

"I was reading that when I was in rehab. There was no one there. It was me and my nurses, who’d come in and check on me, and then Angela, miles away. I was surrounded by no one, and the book was just open on the front page, as most copies of Infinite Jest are."

The quote comes from the literal opening lines of the book.

"That was kind of the joke. Because nobody reads it all the way! Everyone our age has got a battered, quarter-read copy of Infinite Jest."

Billboard: How The 1975's Matty Healy Kicked Heroin and Took the Band to New Heights

Vulture: Interview: Matty Healy of the 1975

NPR: The 1975's Matty Healy Negotiates With The World

The Times: The 1975’s lead singer on new album and beating his heroin addiction [paywalled]

AV Interviews

Radio X digs into the entire record with Matty [1:13:30] - YouTube

Genius Verified song dissections:

  • "I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)" - YouTube
  • "Sincerity Is Scary" - YouTube
  • "Love It If We Made It" - YouTube


Andrew Sacher at Brooklyn Vegan:

The brilliance is more than occasional, and while the lengthy ambient stuff on the last album was respectable, The 1975 benefit from Brief Inquiry‘s more fat-trimmed approach. They’ve actually fit more different types of music on this album than either of its predecessors, but it goes down easier than both of them.

Drew Beringer at

If 2016’s I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it was a band changing the narrative surrounding them, then A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships is The 1975 creating the narrative...

Podcast Recommendation: The Undersiders

A new podcasting publisher has popped up called Engle and their first show is a hit.

The Undersiders is a series about the intersections between the burgeoning hip-hop movement and the sale of drugs at mass. The show is produced in binaural sound and really well crafted. Being that Engle is a french company, the show has been produced in both French and English languages.

From Engle:

It’s the 80’s... Hip-hop is beginning to emerge.

Cocaine is already everywhere and crack is about to make a dramatic appearance into ghetto life. This unprecedented consumption will make some dealers into the new kings of the streets, and also new role models for their community.

The Undersiders will tell you the story of eight of them. True and crude. Tales about millionaire drug dealers who at one point directly impacted on the development of hip-hop.

Dr Dre, Tupac, Lil Wayne and many more… would these pop culture icons have had the same career without these figures? Without being judgmental, without glorification, the Undersiders will guide you down into hip-hop’s turbulent underground and follow its rising up as a worldwide culture.

The first few episodes are already up and I listened through at a steady clip last evening. Episodes are less than 30 minutes and packed with information and well-written story-telling. I highly recommend it to any fans of hip-hop and its origins.

The MV Podcast 205: My Dear Podcast,

From Modern Vinyl:

Episode 205 of The Modern Vinyl Podcast takes on The Weeknd’s new release (NOT EP), “My Dear Melancholy,.” Chris and Mike, along with special guest Jacob Tender (Bantha Fodder), discuss where the EP belongs in the Abel Tesfaye story, along with misogynistic trends in his writing.

Lovely chats with the MV guys about the new album from The Weeknd.

Wedding Hits With A Same-Sex Twist

In a new EP titled Universal Love, six classic love songs have been reimagined to be more inclusive.

As marriage has become more inclusive, it seems like it’s time the music we use to celebrate it caught up. That’s why [MGM Resorts] partnered with Legacy Recordings and a diverse group of iconic artists to create Universal Love, an album that re-imagines what a first-dance song can be.


  1. He's Funny That Way" by Bob Dylan
  2. "And Then She Kissed Me" by St. Vincent
  3. "My Guy" by Kele Okereke
  4. "Mad About The Girl" by Valerie June
  5. "And I Love Him" by Ben Gibbard
  6. "I Need a Woman to Love" by Kesha

From the project's liner notes by Anthony DeCurtis:

The performances here leave no doubt about the same-sex nature of the singer’s desire. Male and female singers have flipped the pronouns in “He’s Funny That Way,” but it takes Bob Dylan to lend the song a simmering, homoerotic heat. Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie retains all the dreamy sweetness of the Beatles’ original in his version of “And I Love Him.” Similarly, Kele Okereke of Bloc Party places his man on the lofty pedestal the Temptations build for the gorgeous “My Guy.” Valerie June brings a delicious, elegant slow burn to Noel Coward’s “Mad About the Boy,” and St. Vincent finds all the adolescent wonder and excitement in the Crystals’ “Then She Kissed Me.” Finally, please, can someone arrange an invitation for me to the wedding of the couple that chooses Kesha’s incineration of Janis Joplin’s “I Need a Woman to Love Me” as their wedding song? That’s going to be a party!

Like desire itself in its most exquisite form, these re-imaginings of classic love songs are playful and intense, erotic and idealistic, fun, forceful and yearning. At first it may be jarring to hear these emotions expressed out loud in songs that are so familiar. But many millions of people will feel a liberation in not having to perform the psychological gymnastics required to make yourself feel included in an environment to which you have not specifically been invited. Like consent, inclusion is sexy.

Listen to Universal Love on Apple Music, Spotify, or Pandora and read more about the project at The New York Times.

Purevolume to Shut Down

Jason at noticed today that PureVolume will be shutting down at the end of the month. According to a pop-up on the site's homepage, folks with songs hosted there "will have until April 30th, 2018 to download" them.

There was a period from 2008-2011 where PureVolume was my homepage. There's not much I found there that I listen to on a regular basis today, but it was the hub for music discovery when I was in my late teens.

As sad as it is, this doesn't come as a surprise to me. As a horder of old demos and early EPs, PureVolume has been a treasure trove of music artists forgot existed. For instance, some of Noah Gundersen's earliest solo songs were hosted there—seemingly forgotten to time. When I found this page, one of the tracks was already purged from PureVolume's servers, like so many other tracks have been in the past 5 years. The writing has been on the wall if you paid any attention.