“Looking For Somebody (To Love)” is a track off Being Funny in a Foreign Language, the fifth studio album by The 1975. The album was released in October 2022, amidst nationwide rising gun violence. According to the Gun Violence Archive, 648 mass shootings occurred in 2022, detailed in this New York Times article. Each individual reported shooting is detailed on the Gun Violence Archive website, with locations, fatalities, injuries, suspects, and all other relevant information included.

In 2022, the Supreme Court overruled decades of precedent by going against Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. The case’s specifics are listed in this Oyez article, but the main outcome was that the Court ruled abortion is “neither deeply rooted in the nation’s history nor an essential component of ‘ordered liberty.’” Dobbs v. Jackson led to numerous legislative attempts to outlaw abortion completely and therefore take away women’s rights to their own bodies. Additionally, in 2022 the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) published a report about the largest incel forum on the internet. The report’s findings are detailed in this article, exposing the sexist, misogynistic, racist, and violent nature of incel culture. Mass shootings, women’s rights, incel culture, and toxic masculinity were all hot-button topics when “Looking For Somebody (To Love)” was being written/produced/released. 

While The 1975 is technically considered an alternative/indie group, “Looking For Somebody (To Love)” is the most pop-y and techno sounding on the album. Thinking about genre as a kind of context, it’s odd to think that a song about such violent and disturbing subjects would be paired with upbeat and almost fun-sounding music. However, I think this is definitely an artistic choice with a specific purpose–maybe to draw the listener’s attention to the lyrics even more than they would be if the song was melancholy, or maybe to make a statement about media and the way it can distract us from the true meaning of something. 

“Looking For Somebody (To Love)” was written by Matty Healy (lead singer) and George Daniel (drummer/producer), as well as singer/songwriter Ilsey Juber. Healy, Daniel, and Juber are clearly offering a critique of toxic masculinity that often leads to violence, but it is very subtle and doesn’t necessarily condemn it either (the artists have adamantly condemned it in interviews). If anything, the lyrics just explore the many factors that can contribute to the phenomena of mass shootings. The line “Somebody lacking in desire / The type you just don’t fuck” refers to incels, who are categorized by their inability to have successful relationships with women and instead blame it on those same women or successful other men. 

In the next verse, the line “I wanna show him he’s a bitch / I wanna fuck him up good / I wanna smash the competition, go and kill it like a man should” describes toxic masculinity, and how that often breeds violent behavior between men desperate to prove themselves. Men who feel threatened or emasculated will often turn to physical acts of aggression to make themselves appear more “manly”, and so the cycle continues.