Editor's note: If you have photosensitive epilepsy, this music video features strobe lights. We recommend streaming "People" instead.
Over the last month, The 1975 has been teasing its forthcoming album, Notes On A Conditional Form, on social media with an exhortation: "Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!"
Matty Healy sings those words — and much of "People" — with an as-of-yet unmatched level of gut-churning urgency; the song thrashes with all the big-guitar swagger of turn-of-the-millennium dance-punk. The video, directed by Healy, Warren Fu and Ben Ditto, has frenetic visuals to match. "It's Monday morning," Healy warns, "and we've only got a thousand of them left."
This is the second song we've heard from Notes on a Conditional Form; the first, "The 1975" (not to be confused with tracks called "The 1975" on previous albums) features the voice of climate activist Greta Thunberg, urging listeners to take serious action in an era of potential global catastrophe.
Last year's A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships was mainly interpersonal, focusing on the way our relationships today are inherently mediated by the Internet. It seems like this record might turn outwards, to reflect what it feels like to live through a moment of global political and environmental upheaval — and all the feelings of desperation, urgency and paralyzing anxiety that can accompany it. Even the color palette for NOACF — a DayGlo-meets-hazmat-suit chartreuse — seems to present the pop album as public service announcement; the mood, it would appear, is "panic."
"People like people," Healy sings on the chorus, then turns to what feels like a send-up of inaction both personal and systemic: "Stop f****** with the kids."
Notes on a Conditional Form comes out Feb. 21 on Dirty Hit.