Notes on a Conditional Form | The 1975

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Notes on a Conditional Form

Notes on a Conditional Form is the fourth studio album by English band the 1975, released on 22 May 2020 through Dirty Hit and Polydor Records. It was recorded from August 2018 to February 2020 and produced by band members George Daniel and Matthew Healy, with some tracks also co-produced by Jonathan Gilmore. -Wikipedia

Critic Reviews

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  • Pitchfork

    Matty Healy, the enfant terrible of pop-rock, pushes his band all-in with a long, messy experiment that just so happens to peak with some of their sharpest songs ever.  

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  • PopMatters

    In many ways, it's a lot to take in at once, but that's not necessarily a bad thing because it shows a level of unquenchable ambition, creativity, and outspoken curiosity that's rarely felt in popular music today. Even if it's not always coherent, it's at least laudably thought-provoking and thrilling. 

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  • Rolling Stone

    Despite being way too long, the latest from U.K. rock’s “voice of a generation” has moments of high-concept craftsmanship.  

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  • Variety

    If you don't like any particular song you hear on the 1975's fourth album, stick around — something amid the band's melange of punk-rock, orchestral pomp, sexy folk, lite R&B or Tears for Fears homages is bound to click. 

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  • The Guardian

    Notes on a Conditional Form a curious thing, an album whose flaws are inherent in what it sets out to do: music for the no-filter generation, with all the good and bad that entails.  

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  • NME

    Instead of issuing another state-of-the-world album, The 1975 have somehow put out an album made for introspection and headphone listening and dancing around your living room, something deep and sprawling and occasionally silly to dig deep into over many listens, during which your favourite track will shift on a daily basis. Something that requires time and attention – something just right for now.  

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  • Indie Is Not A Genre

    If Notes On A Conditional Form was an 11 track album, with less instrumentals and a shorter running time, it’d have the potential to be The 1975’s best album, yet at 22 tracks long and a running time of just over 80 minutes, NOACF feels self-indulgent and flat.  

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  • AV Club

    If anything, to understand and appreciate the record, don’t approach it as an album-length statement from one band, but as a personalized, diverse playlist curated by a favorite human tastemaker. 

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  • Independent

    This album was apparently made with a ‘zero f***s given perspective’ – perhaps if the band cared a little more the result wouldn’t be a smug farrago in which each track grates against the next like rusted gears.  

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  • Sputnik Music

    Notes on a Conditional Form is The 1975 as we know them – just good enough to not be bad.  

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  • Gigwise

    Notes On a Conditional Form isn’t the most important thing in the world right now, however it’s easily the most interesting and confusing major release by an arena-selling guitar band in a long while. The UK’s best band continue to delight and bewilder in equal measure.  

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  • Uproxx

    At this point, a more noble experiment for The 1975 would be to write an album where every song is good, or at least necessary. They haven’t done that yet. 

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  • EW

    The band's latest album is a delightfully overstuffed collection featuring some of their best and most immediately pleasing work to date. 

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  • All Music

    the album feels like a companion piece to A Brief Inquiry, with songs that shift styles wildly from track to track. Perhaps the most inspired moment on the album comes right away with "The 1975," an ever-evolving self-titled song that the group rework on each album.  

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  • Consequence of Sound

    A record seething with paranoia, charges of revolution, and honesty in uncertain times.  

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  • Medium

    All in all, Notes On A Conditional Form is one of The 1975’s best yet. Your favorite song will change with every listen (I’m currently agonising between “What Should I Say” and “I Think There’s Something You Should Know”).  

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  • MSN

    By putting us off-guard so many times earlier in the album, maybe Healy feels he’s earned the right to be mawkish, in the clinch. And maybe he’s also earned our willingness to put the whole 22-track affair on replay, give or take a mere half-dozen skips. 

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  • Rock Cellar Magazine

    Notes on a Conditional Form’ by The 1975 is an Ambitious, Exhausting and Rewarding Adventure. 

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  • mxdwn

    In the end, it is no surprise that The 1975 delivered an amazing album. Honestly, it’s astonishing how fast a 22-song album can be over; people will find themselves hitting repeat. 

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  • The Telegraph

    A good short album, buried inside a muddled long one.  

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  • musicOMH

    If this is their worst album, and you might believe that it is, then they very well may be the best band in the world. If quality is more important that quantity, then they must simply be the worst band in the world.  

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  • The Wall Street Journal

    Unconditionally Impressive. 

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  • The Line of Best Fit

    For a band with proven dexterity in deftly capturing the nuances and quick changes of contemporary conversation, it is disheartening to witness them with nearly nothing of note to say. 

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  • The Times

    sloppy with a few sparks.  

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  • Brooklyn Vegan

    if Notes really is the end of an era, I'd say it's a pretty damn fine ending to what has been a very exciting chapter of this band's career.  

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  • Louder than War

    The 1975’s new album is huge and sprawling, exploring almost as many genres as it has songs. It shows off the band at their best – and their worst.  

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  • The Wee Review

    English pop rock quartet throw everything into their latest album, quite literally.  

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  • Daily Bruin

    In the concluding song, The 1975 may be “the best thing that ever happened” to Healy, but the band’s committed undertaking to find a newfangled take on a tired genre makes it pretty special for listeners around the world too. 

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  • The Young Folks

    Notes on a Conditional Form is a strange album that will be undoubtedly be alienating to some. However, for a band of this size to end their run with something this ambitious is worth at least some praise. Whether you like it or not, there will undoubtedly be a song or two that will stick with you.  

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  • DIY

    Over The 1975's fourth record, there are moments of brilliance, with the kind of boundary-less scope and forward-thinking ethos that proves why the band are one of the greatest in the world right now. 

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  • Cryptic Rock

    Notes on a Conditional Form offers listeners a vast array of stylistic options, showcasing the band’s transformative nature. Along with wearing their consciousness on their sleeves, The 1975 offer a journey with moments of poignancy and clarity, riotous sexuality, and even doff their hats to Americana.  

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  • Beats Per Minute

    Arrogant? Absolutely. Boring? A bit. Great? No doubt about it.  

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  • Cherwell

    To anyone who is not a fan and/or particularly interested in the evolution of the band, the album itself holds no appeal and might even be off-putting simply because of its intimidating 22 songs, of which many feel like filling material. Nevertheless, with an improved album structure and approach to PR The 1975 might well reach the sorts of new heights their single releases have so often promised. 

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  • Redbrick Music

    The 1975 have created an album of genre experimentation, and although it has highs and lows, it’s well worth listening to the entire thing. 

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  • London Indoors

    A confusing, exhausting mess.  

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  • The Irish Times

    For all their passion and enthusiasm, there’s no question that this 80-minute album is far too long and somewhat self-indulgent. Still, you have to admire a band that are unafraid to take a risk; luckily for The 1975, it paid off – this time.  

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  • Slant Magazine

    The album solidifies the band as the boldest purveyors of something resembling what we used to call rock.  

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  • The Post

    The four guys will continue to experiment — after all, if all its content were the same, it would get boring after a while — but Notes On A Conditional Form is just not it. 

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  • The Fire Note

    like the previous albums, there’s plenty here to enjoy, and it raises the expectation that one day their instincts might gain focus and a purpose larger than being the soundtrack for the next dance party, and they’ll deliver something truly great. I look forward to that day.  

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  • it's all dead

    All in all, Notes On a Conditional Form is set to be an album of the year contender for many. The idea that we can use music to foster conversation is something that The 1975 does well, and I’m grateful that they’ve chosen to use their platform in this way.  

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  • Diandra Reviews it All

    Sonically, the album is all over the place, which why it feels like a Pop- Based Acid Trip.  

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  • Thomas Bleach

    This whole album is a disappointing affair that will leave you with a lot of unanswered questions like, why is there no cohesiveness? and what do they actually want me to think about while listening to this record?  

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  • Silent Radio

    With the tracks as eclectic as ever, Healy’s wonderful songwriting shines through.  

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  • The Arts Desk

    Though it ends with the balmy sentiment of “Don’t Worry” and “Guys” (The 1975’s love song to itself), this is an 80-minute shrug of the shoulders, a rudderless surrender to the flow.  

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  • Euphoria

    The highs and lows of Notes On a Conditional Form are probably to be expected given that the 80-minute long record was crafted over a year and a half across multiple studios, multiple countries, and millions of high expectations. But given that the album is set to close the ‘Music For Cars’ era that the band has been journeying since their debut album in 2013, the fourth piece of work could have softened the blow by directing its focus to polish the gems rather than continuing to swing around the pickax.  

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  • Vinyl Chapters

    The 1975 have created a masterpiece with Notes On A Conditional Form and their songwriting and production processes are yet to disappoint.  

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  • Original Rock

    Although the album can be very hit-or-miss, it is strikingly unapologetic. The album flickers between personal and universal issues however, not enough time is spent on either topic at one time to fully address what that is. Despite this, there are some real earworms in the mix that you will find yourself humming and singing along to in no time!  

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  • inews

    this rambling album fails to have much of an effect. 

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  • Gig Goer

    Overall, with lyrics ranging between seldom memoirs to aggressive, self-conscious chants and instrumentation that engulfs genre-mixing techniques, it can safely be compared to our unstable, societal life. With additional behaviors seen in the album – humblebrags, self-examination, abusive behaviors, online oversharing – it is a perfect replica of an album for its generation.  

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  • The Upcoming

    The music does not match the ego. Even Leonardo da Vinci painted over some of his pieces. No one is too much of a genius to edit their work.  

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  • The Fountain

    On their fourth album, The 1975 do too much, diluting some instant classics by burying them among endless interludes and bloated experimentation.  

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  • Little Indie

    'Notes On a Conditional Form' is no groundshaking record, despite its few good moments and is about a good 10 tracks too long.  

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  • Exepose

    With some pruning it would have been as masterful a project as ABIIOR. However, comparison is the thief of joy, and the band have tested themselves. Whether they passed or not is up to you, but the rainbow of flying genre-jumping colours is undeniable.  

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  • The Indiependent

    The album is by no means a failure – I’ve seen at least a couple of one star reviews out there on the internet and that’s maybe a little harsh. For all its failings, there are good moments to be found and their ambition is laudable. A lesson to be learnt for Healy and Co. however – quantity is not always superior to quality.  

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  • The Rockhaq Community

    The 1975, one of the most shamelessly eclectic bands in popular music, give themselves the space to sprawl on their latest album, resulting in a predictable mess that I can't quite resist.  

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  • The Star

    A rewarding, disorienting hodgepodge.  

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  • Stereogum

    The 1975 have released no perfect albums, yet Notes On A Conditional Form is a perfect 1975 album — an acute summary of their obtuse grandeur, a deeply polarizing collection with a little something for everyone.  

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  • Paste Magazine

    Where A Brief Inquiry… excelled due to its exceptional pop songwriting and well-calculated sonic departures, Notes… is far too ambitious and self-aware (“Will I live and die in a band?”) for its own good. As they say, once you realize you’re dreaming, it’s all over.  

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  • XS Noize

    It appears The 1975 tried to make a thought-provoking album which also tries to make people forgot and be disengaged with the world and its precariousness. Sadly, despite the evident sound engineering and deft musicality throughout; these two antithetical concepts do not sit well together on Notes on a Conditional Form. 

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  • Riot

    Notes is a solid album, but at times it misses the mark with too much fluff and glitchy interludes. The band has never been one to shy away from taking a risk, and Notes is their biggest gamble — and for the most part it has paid off, just not quite as well as they would have wanted.  

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  • Indiana Daily Student

    “Notes On A Conditional Form” is a symbol of a band at peak confidence. Healy and his bandmates consistently push the limits of the alternative umbrella, taking their music to wild, new vistas. And while it doesn’t entirely work, it ushers the band into a promising new era.  

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  • Earmilk

    As far as the end of the "music for cars" era goes, it's been shot off in so many different directions that it seems Healy may have lost control of the vehicle. Although it's difficult to shake the feeling that this is some broader commentary, and in ripping it apart, we are perhaps doing exactly what he wanted – killing the era for him.  

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  • Hotpress

    Matty Healy delivers second consecutive masterpiece. 

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  • Pop Goes The Weasel

    The album is loud and assertive; at times I wonder if It spreads itself too far, almost obnoxiously, like a city banker on a crowded tube. But in general, I’m enthralled at the audacity and bowled over by the band’s ability to pull it off time and time again.  

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  • Spectrum Culture

    A messy and overstuffed pop odyssey that will only reaffirm how you feel about this band, whether you love them or you hate them.  

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  • Stereoboard

    All in all, though, there’s just too much going on here. Who in their right mind is going to sit and listen to a 22 track album these days, when most people just want to delve into their own Spotify playlists? To be frank, ‘Notes on a Conditional Form’ is so eclectic that it might easily serve the same purpose.  

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  • Alternative Addiction

    Still, if you're a fan you're going to love this record. It's weird, there's new stuff all over, and Healy and the rest of the band really do their best to put their best foot forward while approaching new ground with everything they do.  

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  • The Boar

    The 1975 deliver warm, nostalgic experimentation.  

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  • Riff Magazine

    The 1975’s ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ is a beautiful mess. 

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  • Our Culture

    By striking that balance between self-awareness and emotional sincerity, the band could make an album that’s truly transcendent, even if it’s just as unsure of itself as Notes – it just has to be a little bit more focused.  

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  • Marshall Street

    I like most of the tracks individually, sure, but as a concept, as a cohesive piece of work? I don’t know. I’m not disappointed with it, but the bar their first two albums set was ridiculously high.  

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  • The Cultured Nerd

    It is music that speaks boldly and without haste. In my humble opinion, this will go down as the bands most critically acclaimed and eventful record to date.  

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  • Aftertaste

    All in all, Notes On a Conditional Form is puzzling as it is mesmerizing and closes the band’s Music For Cars era—only demanding for more answers.  

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