Premiered on BBC Radio 1 back-to-back with their previous single, the self-titled “The 1975” featuring teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, “People” is, put bluntly, a huge departure from the band’s previous works.
Drawing clear influences from the likes of Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, alongside a healthy pinch of ’70s punk,“People“ is 2 minutes and 52 seconds of musical assault on the ears. Gone are the slick guitars and clean pop production of their first three albums, instead replaced with harsh vocals and thumping, distorted bass lines and plenty of swearing. The accompanying music video also channels this retro-fuelled vibe, with singer Matty dressed up like a scene kid at his high school prom in 2007 in front of a green-screen of deliberately low-res graphics.
It may seem a little odd for one of the biggest guitar pop bands in the world to suddenly drop a track so left-of-field out of the blue, but The 1975 are no strangers to this style of music. As many long-term fans are already aware, the band started out making mid-noughties emocore under the name Drive Like I Do before reinventing themselves as The 1975. A quick dive into old YouTube videos yields Matty badly screaming covers of Coheed and Cambria as well as old Fall Out Boy, alongside original tracks in the same vein. “People” appears to be the band trying to recapture an era of their youth that, up until recently, has remained untouched.