A major part of what qualifies “Love It If We Made It” a protest song is the content of its lyrics. As I have mentioned in some of my previous “Listen” posts, this song is unique in it’s approach, as it doesn’t focus on a specific issue or directly take a stance about the issues is mentions. Lead singer Matty Healy has been clear about his purpose with this song saying, “It’s not about being political, or making people believe what I believe. But if I’m going to make observations about the world – the world is a very scary, daunting place, but look at things happening.” In another interview with NME he says “I wanted it to be loud and outward but objective, and you can’t really call me out on anything in it.” Healy is clear that this song is not offering any sort of solutions to the issues being put forth.

In this way, I think “Love It If We Made It” takes a unique approach by attempting to define this moment in time and offer a glimpse into the headspace of a specific moment. Its goal is to encourage its audience to reflect on the state of our world and encourage people to realize we cannot simply turn away from the problems that our facing our world, rather we must confront them. It is provocative, and (as with all songs, but this one in particular) how one interacts with and understand the song depends on their understanding of the world and experience with the social issues at play currently.

Healy’s vocal delivery in this song can be likened to screaming. The lyrics start abruptly, with him sing-screaming the opening line, and his tone remains pretty much the same for the rest of the song, with the chorus a bit less scream-like. Healy is also notoriously hard to understand in his vocal delivery, and “Love It If We Made It” is no exception. His accent and the way he strings his words together contribute to the difficulty of understanding. They verses are much harder to understand because he hardly pauses between words, while the chorus is much easier to understand because his tone changes and become more upbeat and he takes his time with the words he is singing.

I think the best way to fully understand the social critiques this song is mentioning, is to examine the lyrics line-by-line and unpack what is being referred to on an almost micro level. We’ll go stanza by stanza. **Warning- Explicit lyrics**

Verse 1:
We’re fucking in a car, shooting heroin
Saying controversial things just for the hell of it
Selling melanin and then suffocate the black men
Start with misdemeanors and we’ll make a business out of them
And we can find out the information
Access all the applications
That are hardening positions based on miscommunication
Oh, fuck your feelings
Truth is only hearsay
We’re just left to decay
Modernity has failed us
The first verse starts out mentioning the problem of opioid addiction (also a nod the Healy’s previous drug addiction) and then addresses a issue in our current period of time where people tend to try to be as controversial as possible for “views” or popularity. He then moves on to police brutality against African Americans (in America specifically) and the for-profit prison system and mass incarceration. Then, how we have access to technology that gives us access to vast sources of information, however this poses a problem because it is further driving people apart by the spread of misinformation and miscommunication (“fake news”). The truth is being called into question and the verse ends claiming “modernity has failed us”, which serves as the central thesis for the song.
And I’d love it if we made it
Yes, I’d love it if we made it
Yes, I’d love it if we made it
Yes, I’d love it if we made it
In the chorus, the song takes a more upbeat turn, with Healy singing the upbeat phrase “I’d love it if we made it”. This hopeful phrase gives the audience a break from the barrage of current events and introduces the idea that even though there are all these crazy things happening in the world, maybe there is a way we can “make it” (whatever that looks like).
Verse 2:
And poison me, daddy
I’ve got the Jones right through my bones
Write it on a piece of stone
A beach of drowning three-year olds
Rest in peace Lil Peep
The poetry is in the streets
Jesus save us
Modernity has failed us
This verse begins by Healy referencing internet culture and how the use of the term “daddy” has been sexualized in internet culture. “Write it on a piece of stone” is referring to a tombstone (which sounds obvious but I didn’t get it the first few times that I listened to the song). “A beach of drowning three-year olds” hits hard because it is directly referencing the widely publicized image of the body of three-year old Alan Kurdi that was found washed up on a beach in Turkey. He and his family were trying to escape as refugees from the conflict in Syria. Rest in peace Lil Peep is pretty self explanatory, but also alludes to drug addiction since he died of an overdose. “Jesus save us” is kind of an ironic line since Healy is a self-proclaimed atheist, but here he is referencing the culture of religion and how it takes different shapes in the lives of different people.
Chorus Repeats
Fossil fueling
Liberal kitsch
Kneeling on a pitch
In the bridge, The 1975 take the song in a different direction, which Healy refers to as an “idea dump”. In a style similar to Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire”, Healy lists words and short phrases referencing more social issues. They are pretty self-explanatory until the last one “kneeling on a pitch” which refers to the NFL national anthem protests where players would kneel on the field during the singing of the national anthem to protest against racism, police brutality, and as opposition to some of President Trump’s policies.
Verse 3:
“I moved on her like a bitch”
Excited to be indicted
Unrequited house with seven pools
“Thank you Kanye, very cool”
The war has been incited and guess what?
You’re all invited
And you’re famous
Modernity has failed us
This is my favorite verse in the song because of the way it talks about President Trump without even mentioning his name, and most anyone frequently exposed to popular culture media or following politics to some extent should be able to make the connection. The first line is a direct quote from Trump from a larger audio clip where he bragged about assaulting women. The following line references how much controversy the Trump campaign and Presidency generated and how many people saw these issues as punishable offenses. This song was released before the impeachment trial, but it seems to have predicted that things would reach that point. “Thank you Kanye, very cool” is a tweet from Trump replying to a tweet from rapper Kanye West in which West voices his support for Trump and claims they both have “dragon energy”. Healy says he included this line in the song because it as a huge Kanye fan, it confuses and upsets him that Kanye likes Trump. The next lines addressing a war further hammer in point the song is trying to make about how divided we are and how willing we are to jump to conflict and confrontation.
The song ends with the final chorus repeating the phrase “I’d love it if we made it”, holding on to that hopeful idea that humanity can make it through our current state of the world.Another thing that makes this song so interesting while contributing to the social critiques being made is the music video.
Alongside the social critiques being made in the song, the video provides evidence and examples of the social justice issues, events, and people mentioned while also introducing new themes that are not directly mentioned in the lyrics. While some of the lyrics are more broad in their interpretations, the video can provide a more narrow lens to view the song through. It focuses in on specific people and events like Brett Kavanuagh, the KKK, the Westboro Baptist Church, Harvey Weinstein, 9/11, Alan Kurdi, and Donald Trump (some of who are alluded to in the lyrics but not explicitly mentioned). Overall, the lyrics and video work very well together and address a large number of social issues.