A Brief Inquiry into ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’

In a generation that is so insecure – yet so self-centered – due to our obsession with social media and the act of sharing every little detail about our lives online, The 1975’s new album A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships discusses the political and social unrest that millennials and the people of gen z have dealt with over the past few years.

As someone who has grown up in the age of technology and political controversy, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships hits home by discussing many aspects of my life that I felt pertained only to me, when in fact, it seems that a whole generation is actually going through the same daily woes and struggles.  The seventh track on the album, “Sincerity Is Scary,” discusses the difficulties that younger generations face in simply being human; it blatantly calls out how an entire generation would rather speak entirely through irony and sarcasm then be direct and sincere with one another.  This irony and sardonicism that young adults (and teenagers) utilize on a daily basis, according to lead singer Matty Healy in a recent interview with Genius, is what feeds into the social media epidemic.  Our dependence on social media causes us to grow increasingly insecure, which in turn leads us to be more frightened by the idea of sincerity, causing irony to be our main point of communication.

The scope of technology and how it affects our everyday lives is a main theme that is used as a basis for lyrics and commentary throughout the album, including how it can be used to share and influence people’s opinions and views on the world.  In another recent interview with Genius, Matty discusses the fifth track “Love It If We Made It,” and labels it as a “jam of hope,” for he hopes it inspires people to simply love each other in order to overcome the “rage-based society” that has recently formed in the past years, caused by the extensive outreach of social media.  “Modernity has failed us,” is my favorite quote from the track, and possibly the entire album.  It’s screaming at us, telling us how we let ourselves be distracted from the simplicity of human connection because we would rather focus on a screen with a bunch of dancing gifs and Twitter fights.

The two tracks above deal with the heavier quarrels in society, while the rest of the album plays with the ideals of online love, and the heartbreak and confusion that come with falling in love with someone’s text messages instead of their person.  “Be My Mistake,” “Inside Your Mind,” “Mine,” and “I Couldn’t Be More In Love” all dabble with being in love, yet the love is either unrequited, illusional, or falsified.  Online relationships never produce anything concrete; they always lead to confusion and devastation.  You think you’re in love, the messages and Snapchats make you giddy and you can’t wait to finally hangout with them, until you meet them in person and there’s nothing there.  You fell in love with the idea of someone rather than falling in love with them, and now you’re devastated because you’re still in love with that idea, but you know you’re not in love with the person.  The album comments heavily on modern relationships by blaming social media and technology for creating “deep” connections that are purely illusions.  Oh how we are all so interconnected, yet so distant due to the lack of human connection. 

That is why A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships is so important to this generation; it is calling us out on our self-destructive ways in a desperate attempt to reconcile our connection with other human beings, instead of perpetrating our tendency to resort to social media for attention.