Updated: Oct 9, 2019
I still think the album cover should have been an image of Captain Planet but whatever.
The 1975 are back. Kind of. Actually, they never really left us considering the fact that their last album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, was just released back on November of last year. But lo and behold, here we are with the announcement of their follow-up, Notes On A Conditional Form, which, according to everything I've seen thus far, releases on February 21st of 2020. Which, if true, is quite definitely the longest intentional album rollout I have ever witnessed in my life.
Albums get delayed, sure - but they get delayed after the album was first announced to be coming out a couple months after the initial announcement. To intentionally set a date seven whole months away from the get-go is a whopper of a move. But I suppose I get it.
This album was initially supposed to be released back in the Spring. When that date was not hit, the band started looking at sometime in May, then they attempted to hit the 1st of June which, as most fans of the band know, holds a very specific significance within the bands name. After that date was missed, everything was kind of up in the air. We stopped hearing about potential release windows, their manager Jamie stopped teasing dates - we were just kind of left wondering. And it's not that we feel entitled to this album considering the last one JUST came out and traditionally artists are only expected to release new records every couple of years.
But I guess the minor frustration just had to to with the mixed messaging - but we love and respect this band and if they need until February to finish it then by all means, take that time. But anyways, back to why it makes sense - The 1975 is a fairly vocal band - they are active on social media, take a lot of interviews and play a lot of shows - most specifically, they're headlining Reading & Leeds at the end of August and they are surely going to be asked about the release of Notes. So rather than continuing to dance around months and days they most likely just picked one so far ahead in the future that they know for sure that they can land it and it gives them an answer to the question that everyones been asking them.
Also, it's 22 tracks - so they can easily keep their fans invested over the course of these seven months by releasing a new song every month or so without even giving away too much of what the album has to offer. Even if they were to release 6 or 7 songs ahead of time, we're still going to have 13-14 tracks that will be brand new to us, which is the length of what standard album releases are anyways.
Alongside this announcement we also got our first taste at new music with the release of the first track on the album, properly titled, "The 1975" - the same title that all three of their prior albums used for the intro track. However, unlike the previous versions, this one didn't contain a reconstructed recollection of road-head, but instead they decided to throw a curveball and start the album off by addresses climate change and the ecological crisis. They used the same instrumental track heard throughout A Brief Inquiry, and featured a speech, written and composed by 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Why, you ask? Simply because they can. The 1975 is and always has been a band that does whatever they want - they're blunt, honest and if they feel something, they're going to let you know. And for this album and this stage in their lives and careers, they don’t just want to exist in this world - they want to make a difference in it. They understand the platform that they have and instead of using it to convey fear and hate into the world like some certain politicians like to do, they are going to preach the word of a dying world to their current fans and anyone else that decides to listen to their music.
To put this song first on what may prove to be their most important album is a mission statement. And to release it first just emphasized that fact. It let's the fans know that they aren't the same band that starts their records with the same "slow down, soft sound" anymore. They want to to stand for something bigger. And I for one, can't wait to hear what Matty has to say this time around.
It's worth noting also that according to the track listing on Apple Music, the second track on the album will be called "People" and the fact that we can see that title amongst the other "Track 3" and "Track 4" filler titles seen on the other 22 tracks, must mean that we are going to be able to hear it soon. If the countdown on their website is any indication, that might not be until August 21st or so, but hey, maybe we'll get lucky. Or maybe we'll just have to start being patient now considering, you know, the album, again, isn't out for seven months.