I have been listening to The 1975 for a few years now. “Girls” was on repeat during the summer of 2014. Two years later it was “Somebody Else.” Now it’s “Frail State of Mind.” Their music has been in my rotation for years. I have not only grown a liking for their art but them as people. Leader singer Matty Healy has a way with words that is astonishing. Tell me “I’m the Greek economy of cashing intellectual checks” isn’t an amazing line. Please. This band has been making vibes before vibes were a thing on cherry Twitter. Now, Matty Healy’s name is in thousands of tweets. Not because of his band’s moving music, but because of his remarks in an interview with Brut Mexico.
Matty Healy is lauded for speaking about the unspeakable—topics such as his heavy drug use throughout his career, his complicated relationship with religion, and his disheartening relapse. The singer has multiple songs dedicated to this topic, his most recent being a track titled, “It’s Not Living If It’s Not With You” from their third album, A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships.
But in this Brut clip, Healy is noted to say some extremely controversial sentiments. He truly lives up to his lyric, “saying controversial things for the hell of it.” The 1975 singer tackles all topics—religion, social media, and of course, the meaning of life.
“Where are my rights as an atheist?” is one of the sound bites being the most criticized. Healy rants about the “dogmatically faithful” in the video titled, “Matty Healy from The 1975 on his search for meaning.” Healy unabashedly tells the camera, “I’m not an ‘ist’ so I’m not going to spend my life scared that somebody could wrongfully accuse me because they disagree with my politics or something like that.”
Healy makes an unsettling remark about journalists, “Journalists have said it’s their job to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”
Brut showcases Healy’s courageous act of kissing a male audience member in Dubai where “the highest punishment for homosexuality is the death penalty.”
Healy states, “It’s ridiculous that any government, no matter how dogmatically faithful they are, thinks that they can get involved with what people do with their genitals or their mouths…” Healy follows this with, “Nowadays, I think if you’re like piously religious, if you’re dogmatically faithful, you should be kind of ashamed of yourself.”
The way Healy talks about this reeks of ignorance towards religion and those who practice it. Not every religious individual is full of hate, the same as an atheist.
Sadly, many of the replies echo Healy’s close-mindedness about religion and especially Islam.
No such thing as islamophobia.
— nel bell (@nelbell5) December 9, 2019
No, Islamophobia is also intelligent people who understand Islam. If you're not afraid of it, That's when you're thick.
— Kaiser Basileus (@HavenBastion) December 10, 2019
Matty Healy explains his frustration with organized religions and their association with a certain “racisms,” making him feel like he can’t critique them, using Islam as an example. “You can’t criticize these kinds of things because you’re inherently criticizing people.”
One fan even brought up how Healy worded his complex relationship and feelings towards religion, specifically Christianity, with the aforementioned song, “If I Believe You”. However, the tweet is no longer available.
Healy’s “Whereas, I love people, I love brown people, I don’t care about people’s color,” is another statement that rubbed many the wrong way.
“I have to get up every day and read something abhorrent that’s happened in the name of religion…I never get a day where I’m allowed to be offended. Where are my rights as an atheist?”
In a world where Muslims are judged for the actions of a terrible few, Matty Healy questions his rights as an atheist. Atheist rights were never threatened, and this entire interview is another example of Matty Healy’s Terrible Way with Words Not In Song or Poem Form. In his art, Healy brings up his intriguing discussion about his non-existent relationship with God, especially on the chorus of “If I Believe You.”
“And if I believe you / Will that make it stop? / If I told you I need you / Is that what you want? / And I’m broken and bleeding / And begging for help (there’s no use singing a song) / And I’m asking you Jesus, show yourself”
In “Nana,” Healy confesses, “And I know that God doesn’t exist / And all the palaver surrounding it / But I like to think you hear me sometimes” when talking about his deceased grandmother.
But when it comes to voicing his opinions—whether via Twitter or in interviews—Healy sometimes lacks the eloquence. And it really shows.
He talks about social media and how humans are “incredibly flawed.” Healy sees profiles as a great medium to self-reflect, but all we do is look at other people, echoing sentiments expressed on ABIIOR.
On other topics he vents, “I just get angry with injustice…And I get angry with hypocrisy. And whether I find myself being hypocritical I’ll get angry about that…” Here’s the part about the meaning of life. “We pretend like we’re not hurtling into infinite nothingness. We waste a lot of time worrying about other people’s behavior superficially, as opposed to…really trying to connect with one another.” Healy describes himself the best in a 2018 Vulture interview, “I’ve always been staring death in the face. Always an existentialist, a nihilist.”
“I think that when people truly understand that we’re all going to die…And everything that happens, every fight, every war over this tiny bit of this, every sexist remark, every moment of love, every person that [explitive], every Napoleonic [expletive] whatever he used to do, anything of greatness from humans doesn’t really mean anything.
“When you realize that it’s from absence to absence, to not make everything in-between as beautiful as possible is a waste…it’s about true empathy and making sure that the human experience is as unlimited to as many people as possible.”
Healy ends the interview on a higher note. “You don’t need to care about what everyone thinks about you…And it feels better when you don’t.” Spoken like a true nihilist. Whether you agree with Healy’s politics or not, there’s a lot to take away from this interview and honestly, it’s headache-inducing.
Many are comparing the thirty-year-old to Morrissey, former lead singer of The Smiths and alleged racist. Healy comes off an entitled and privileged in this video, even if that is not supposed to be the main takeaway.
We’re going to wake up in 20/30 years and find out Matty Healy is the new morrisey int we pic.twitter.com/LnTbzqlSRt
— emma (@emma_louiseoh4) December 10, 2019
But how did we get here? What about “separate the art from the artist?”
Over the last couple of years, society has become more socially aware. A result of the post-#MeToo era is extreme consciousness about ours and others’ actions. But calling out our favorite celebrities has been a custom since before the new wave of being “woke.” Popular Tumblr blog, Your Fave Is Problematic has a laundry list of celebrities and the problematic things they have said or done.
People like supporting others with the same values as them, and in this situation, Matty Healy is proving that his values don’t align with those who value him. This is more than just Healy word vomiting, this is him wedging a further divide between him and his fans, particularly his Muslim fans.
What I take away from this chaotic interview is that Healy does have a God-shaped hole in his heart, and it truly is infected. Hopefully, he can fill it with learning to live outside of his biases while enjoying life even though to him, it’s meaningless.
Until then, I’ll be dancing around my dorm singing to “Frail State of Mind” to get me through finals week, pretending I never watched this interview in the first place.
Featured image via Creative Commons.