The 1975 will soon be no more if notoriously erratic singer Matty Healy is to be believed. If the rumours are true, it would mark the end of a band that defined pop over the past decade and sparked a resurgence for corporate rock. Would you believe it that some people hate the 1975?
The dislike for the British quartet stems from a variety of reasons. Some believe their music is watered-down, uninspired and will not stand the test of time. There are those who think that the band’s embrace of various political issues is not genuine. And, finally, there are Taylor Swift fans who’ve launched a widespread and, frankly, terrifying vendetta against Matty Healy.
And while corporate rock will most likely be just fine, on the eve of the disbandment of a band famous for being famous and for taking themselves extremely seriously, I look at the reasons why some folks hate The 1975 and Matt Healy.
Spoiled rich kids in expensive clothes?
Matthew Healy has fashioned himself as a modern philosopher. Hearing him answer a question feels a little like watching a frustrated, drunk math professor shout out formulas at students from a speeding vehicle.
Healy’s demeanour is reminiscent of Willow and Jadon Smith’s, the boys in SWMRS, or The Strokes. Like them, the singer seems to be carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Like them, Healy’s parents are rich and influential.
Healy was born into a middle-class family and grew up in the affluent Wilmslow, just outside Manchester.
His parents are entertainment-industry-connected. Both Tim Healy and Denise Welch are well-known actors who’ve appeared on shows like the British soap opera “Coronation Street.”
So, no. The next time you see Healy post a video about kids living out on the streets of the United States, know that he’ll be travelling back to his country-estate in England when this is finally over.
And, no, he won’t be answering your call for a quick pint in the pub either.
According to Matty Healy, one of his first memories is of feeling entirely unlike the working classes: “My dad had his bohemian actor mates, but he’d also have his welder mates. I remember watching a video of Michael Jackson, and all of my dad’s mates expressing how alien it was and how he’s from a different planet, and me standing there thinking, ‘I’m a lot more like him than you.’”
The 1975’s corporate pop sound
The 1975 are, if you’ve based their opinion on articles written in NME, a rock band a la Arctic Monkeys.
But have you heard them? Really heard them? They sound as much like Arctic Monkeys or The Libertines as Phil Collins resembles Megadeth.
In fact, in my opinion, were you to sandwich The 1975’s farewell gigs in between Huey Lewis & The News and REO Speedwagon, nobody would bat an eye. It’s poppy, corporate, edgeless music.
There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, especially not if you’re a finance lawyer or an accountant trying to unwind drinking cocktails on a cruise ship.
In that case, why is The 1975 presented as a rock band? Because rock bands still look cool. No, rock music is rarely heard in the mainstream. But it’s more profitable to sell Healy & co. as a guitar band than as a teenybopper boy group.
Proof? Listen to the guitar work of Adam Hann. You’re unlikely to have heard his name. He is in The 1975. He plays lead guitar, and he has a job that requires the same level of responsibility as a night watchman guarding the restaurant in Chernobyl, a real place, by the way.
Scandals involving sex, drugs, and commercial pop
All bands wear costumes on stage, to a degree. However, few bands put in as much effort into their wardrobe as The 1975. Early pictures reveal the quartet, which also includes Healy’s mate, George Daniel, decked out in Prada-styled biker gear and expensive mohawk haircuts.
But, for such people pleasers, The 1975, chiefly Matty Healy, also loves to antagonize people and get their name in the papers.
In August 2023, a festival in Malaysia that the band was headlining was cancelled when an inebriated Healy kissed bassist Ross MacDonald and launched into a furious slur-filled rant.
These actions first landed the festival organizers in hot water. Same-sex activities are still criminalized in the country. The soon-to-be bankrupt organizers have since sued the band for $2 million.
Some see Healy as a daring defender of human rights. Others feel he merely mines controversy to fuel his band’s popularity. It’s not hard to see a pattern.
There was an incident in which the singer appeared to mock singer Ice Spice and make remarks that some have considered racist.
There was a brief Twitter moment in 2014 where Healy insisted on proving the link between Islam and Isis. He deleted his account subsequently.
But he was back on Twitter (now X) in 2023 for a quick joke about the band Boygenius. The always comedic Matthew Healy took to saying he wants to start a band called “Girlr**ard” in response. The comment was received as well as you’d expect, and Healy once again deleted his Twitter.
The Taylor Swift saga
Healy’s dubious, NME-powered popularity could not prepare him for the moment he would come in contact with the Swiftieverse.
In early 2023, numerous news outlets reported that Healy and pop superstar Taylor Swift were possibly dating. Love was the air, and such PR was bound to launch the 1975 singer into a popularity stratosphere, right? Wrong!
Taylor Swift fans loathed Healy with a passion that bordered on the maniacal. These devotees unearthed a number of incidents involving Healy that further fueled their rage.
The first, and rather overblown, was a typical Healyesque remark from 2016, where he said that dating the singer would be “a de-masculinating, emasculating thing,”
Healy was also a former drug user, a drinker, a smoker, and some fans even speculated about his hygiene. It wasn’t pretty. But, yes, some people really do hate the 1975 and Matt Healy.
Serious allegations against Healy? No, not really
While Matt Healy’s self-righteous attitude and ego-maniacal speeches understandably rub some people the wrong way, the man is no fool. In fact, apart from his music, there are many interesting things about him. He collects original punk vinyl, follows Premier League football, has an interest in French poetry and was once obsessed with Nine Inch Nails.
But that hasn’t stopped some internet users from going on the warpath. A few serious accusations have been launched against Healy. For the sake of argument, let’s recall them.
In the wake of the Taylor Swifts backlash, fans accused Healy of dating underage girls, kissing underage fans at concerts, and making odd comments about Jews and about Islam.
While likely many of these things are exaggerations, it’s difficult not to catch a whiff of hypocrisy, considering Healy’s extremely vocal association with various social causes in the past.
Some went so far as to call the pop group performatively woke. It’s hard. to build a case against that.
Not quite a Gallagher, but always good for a quote
Matthew Healy was heavily featured on prominent music sites in early 2023 when he publicly requested that the Gallagher brothers reconcile and reunite Oasis. Healy commented: “there’s not one kid, not one person, going to a High Flying Birds gig or a Liam Gallagher gig that would not rather be at an Oasis gig.”
Now, that’s not a bad quote, and Healy has been known to provide journalists with a few tasty ones over the years. He’s no Gallagher, though.
Oasis’ Noel replied: “He would never be able to imagine it? He needs to go over how shit his band is and split up.” Meanwhile, Liam Gallagher chipped in from a distance, saying: “it’s our time to waste, who made him the boss of time?”
For one-liners, as for songs, Healy was never a Gallagher. And perhaps this is where the problem lies.
Listen to any of the top Britpop bands with an open mind. Then go listen to the 1975. Yes, times may have changed, and so has fashion. But that doesn’t mean music has automatically become better.
The 1975’s songs aren’t nearly as interesting as either Blur, Oasis, or Pulp. Healy isn’t as interesting as the Gallaghers, Damon Albarn or Jarvis Cocker. And, frankly, even Menswer could give the quartet a run for their money.
In the end, Noel Gallagher might get his wish. Embroiled in an ever-expanding controversy that he has worked so hard to create, Matt Healy’s The 1975 is ready to pack it in.
Like Huey Lewis or Bay City Rollers, you’ll hear their music again. But you’ll look around nervously before admitting you ever liked them. Fashionable corporate pop has a way of going bad quickly.
Healy was once healed by a horse
Drug addiction is a very, very serious issue.
Matthew Healy, always keen to share a story about himself, has spoken at length about beating heroin use. That is laudable, and one can’t possibly fail to wish the man the best of health.
But when you’re Matthew Healy, things are never straightforward.
First of all, he admitted that his drug therapy was paid for him by a fund administered by the whole band. In other words, The 1975’s other three members had to pay for Healy to clean up for fear of losing their jobs.
Getting clean through regular means was also off the table. Healy likes to reminisce about equine therapy. He says “It was the most profound experience I’ve ever had.” Healy was literally healed by a horse, something presumably rarer than dinosaurs on the outskirts of Manchester.
My final point proves nothing, I admit. But it’s hard to imagine enjoying riding a bus with this egotist. For this fact alone, I grieve for the other, usually nameless, three members of the 1975. May you never have to be forced to pay for a horse story ever again.