Major label veneer is equal parts drawback and payoff, a duality that Manchester, UK band The 1975 ride right down the back of on latest single, “Chocolate”. Relentlessly poppy, “Chocolate” pumps with the type of ebullient energy that Phoenix channeled on “Lisztomania”, all but daring you to hate it for appealing to such a wide audience; they challenge you to charge them with—what?—too much ambition? Sure, it’s easy to make a crack about Kings of Leon here, angular little jabs about what a dumb song “Sex on Fire” is, or how “Use Somebody” set rock music back at least two decades.
“Chocolate” features at least one line that indicates a certain self-awareness, a salvaging of the commercialization impulse, “Think about what to do/think about what to say/think about how to think,” a downright meta-critical analysis of the pop trope, in some sense setting us free from thinking too hard about what it all might mean on our end. They know; we’re all in on the joke. This all goes a long way round to say, “Chocolate” feels less than credible the entire time it’s on you stereo, but you absolutely won’t turn it off. Contained in a lyric, it is: “Her hair smells like chocolate,” a primacy as visceral as it is appealing.
Reprinted with permission from 32ft/second.