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The 1975's Matty Healy has an adorable new puppy and a bonkers new album

Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Oh, and an opening cut that sets an original monologue by Greta Thunberg over twinkly ambient music inspired by Healy's hero, Brian Eno.

"To be a type of band that plays a type of music -- I just see it as cosplay," said the singer, dressed in a long-sleeved Obituary T-shirt, as he leaned down to pick up the 10-week-old puppy he's been training while in quarantine. (The dog's name, Mayhem, nods to a Norwegian black-metal band even more extreme than Obituary.)

As the mastermind of one of the key acts of the streaming age, in which the idea of genre means less than it ever has, Healy says he's just trying to catch the anything-goes spirit of the day. Lyrically, too, he fills his songs -- about sex and religion and celebrity and the internet -- with the preoccupations of now, though he insisted, "I don't like time-stamping my work too much. If you're putting it too much in the zeitgeist, then you can't get away from it.

"Like when Katy Perry said 'epic fail'," he added with a theatrical squirm, in her hit "Last Friday Night." "I'm like, 'Wow, I hate that so much.'

"Love Katy Perry, though."

For "Notes on a Conditional Form" -- which Healy co-produced with the 1975's drummer, George Daniel -- the singer said he tried to remove his ego from the music and just ask questions that amount to: "Is the current set of circumstances, in terms of society and the way it's impacting the individual, sustainable? Can the center hold?"

 

"The economy's a goner/ Republic's a banana/ Ignore it if you wanna," he sneers in "People," which also rhymes "Barack Obama" with "living in a sauna with legal marijuana."

But it's not quite the case that Healy's new songs don't reflect his particulars. On the band's breakout album, 2016's "I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It," Healy was doing a kind of postmodern riff on the self-centered rock star -- best exemplified in "Love Me," which he went on to perform on "Saturday Night Live" in a willfully grotesque display that triggered countless variations on "Who does this guy think he is?" from online commenters.

Yet the 1975's members -- the others are guitarist Adam Hann and bassist Ross MacDonald -- quickly became actual rock stars with devoted fans and a clear influence on pop music. Jamie Oborne, who manages the band and runs its label, Dirty Hit, said he can detect the 1975's impact in the new artists he meets.

"Though I've been very cautious not to sign another 1975, only because I don't think my mental health could take it," he said with a laugh.

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