Here are our suggestions for how to make The 1975’s Notes On a Conditional Form a more pleasurable listening experience.
“There are actually quite a few good highlights on Notes On a Conditional Form, but their impact is lessened by being a part of a track list that is overloaded with half-baked songs [and] derivative detours.” This comment from The Needle Drop’s Anthony Fantano pretty much sums up the early reviews for The 1975’s fourth album.
At 22 tracks and 80 minutes long, there’s a lot to get through on NOACF, especially when there’s no discernible rhyme or reason to the band’s indiscriminate genre-hopping. In a three star review, The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis attempted to discern the band’s rationale, describing Notes as “Music for the no-filter generation, with all the good and bad that entails.”
The Telegraph’s Neil McCormick also awarded the album 3/5, writing that “Like many double albums, there is a fine single album here fighting to get out.” Fantano offered the same criticism towards the end of his 5/10 review. “I think there’s a pretty good album hidden in here if you chopped away a third of the tracks.”
However, he speculated that the band doesn’t really “care about how all of this shit sounds together.” Why? Because they know their demographic. “Maybe they expect their fans to chop their favourite tracks out and throw those in a playlist they love,” said Fantano.
We’ve gone ahead and done exactly that, flipping the sprawling 80-minute album into a 13-track, 50-minute piece. Is it sacrilege to do so? We prefer to think of it as an instance of interactive art, with the band providing the raw materials for us to mould according to our preferences.
So, what didn’t make the cut? We’ve chopped the two fairly pointless instrumentals that occur early in the album; ‘The End (Music For Cars)’ and ‘Streaming’. We’re also saying goodbye to the waffling garage throwback ‘Yeah I Know’ and the misguided neo-soul/hip hop number ‘Nothing Revealed/Everything Denied’.
Also on the cutting room floor are the late album fillers ‘What Should I Say’, ‘Bagsy Not In Net’ and ‘Don’t Worry’. For the sake of coherence, we’ve also let go of the dancehall homage ‘Shiny Collarbone’ and the Jon Hopkins-esque techno number ‘Having No Head’, though these tracks certainly warrant curiosity.
Here is what remains – the only sequencing revision is bumping ‘If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)’ further up the track list.
- ‘The 1975’
- ‘Frail State of Mind’
- ‘If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)’
- ‘The Birthday Party’
- ‘Then Because She Goes’
- ‘Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America’
- ‘Me & You Together Song’
- ‘I Think There’s Something You Should Go’
- ‘Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy)’
- ‘Playing On My Mind’
Check out ‘Then Because She Goes’ by The 1975:
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