During the period of time around the years of 2016-2018 the political and social climate of our world was in a unique place. I think the best way to describe this period of time is “turbulent”. The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States in 2016, the ever increasing usage of technology, and the use of this technology to spread information (true, false, and all shades in between), created what I would consider a “perfect storm” and set the stage for the terrifying and sometimes unbelievable series of events during the span of these two years. “Love It if We Made It” was released in 2018 and serves as a reflection of issues and events that came to the forefront during this period of time. The 1975 said they would take newspaper headlines that stood out to them as a “sign of the times” or made them angry and write them down, and these became the basis for “Love It If We Made It”.

As I have mentioned in my previous post, instead of focusing on just one protest/social movement, this song touches on many of them. So, instead of being a commentary on a specific movement, it is rather a commentary on the state of our world during this period of time. The tone of the song is bleak during the verses as they list all the issues happening around the world, but them hopeful during the chorus with “I’d love it if we made it”. Implying that what is happening in the world currently isn’t favorable to humankind, but there might still be a chance to pull ourselves out of this mess.¬†One of the things I find interesting about this song is that The 1975 never come out and say how they feel about these events or take a clear stance determining whether they think what is going on is good or bad. However, the point they are trying to make is still clear to those willing to dig a little deeper into the song or listen a little closer.

Social context has been integrated into “Love It If We Made It” by the inclusion of specific quotes and lyrics referencing events that happened around and during the 2016-2018 period of time. A few lines into the song Healy sings, “Selling melanin and then suffocate the black men”, this lyric, when paired with the music video, shows a portion of the graphic clip of Eric Garner, an African American man from New York, being tackled by police and forced into a chokehold and saying “I can’t breathe” multiple times before passing out and dying a few hours later. When the video of this event was released, it caused a great public outcry because of the way Garner was treated by police and how they ignored his pleas, which ultimately resulted in his death. While, Garner is not mentioned directly in the lyrics, the connection between the video and the lyrics makes it a direct commentary on the treatment of black people in America as well as police brutality. Data shows that black people are 3x more likely to be killed by police than white people, with 23% of 1,143 people killed by police in 2018 being black, despite only making up 13% of the population.

By including references like “beach of drowning three year olds”, “kneeling on a pitch”, and “Thank you Kanye, very cool”, The 1975 are able to communicate more events of this period of time and establish sociological imagination. Analyzing these lyrics, “beach of drowning three year olds” is in reference to Alan Kurdi who was a three year old Syrian refugee who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in 2015 while trying to escape to Europe with his family. War in Syria has forced millions of people to leave their homes and flee the country since 2011. Those displaced by the crisis struggle to support their families and most live below the poverty line, with around 50% of registered refugees under the age of 18. Many of the refugees are currently being hosted in the surrounding countries, but some people and families attempt longer journeys (mostly by sea) to Europe and Canada for asylum. The line, “Kneeling on a pitch” refers to the NFL national anthem protests that were started by Colin Kaepernick in 2016 when he kneeled on the field during the singing of the national anthem before a football game to protest against police brutality and racism. The movement spread and many other NFL players engaged in this form of peaceful protest during 2016 and 2017. “Thank you Kanye, very cool” is a quote from Donald Trump that he tweeted in response to Kanye’s tweet of support for him.

These events have all come to the the forefront in recent years, and The 1975 is creating a narrative of social justice issues, often focusing on stories and events that are particularly shocking and that grabbed the public’s (or their own) attention. The shock factor in this song is one of the ways it is so successful in making its point. By hitting the listener with line after line of shocking current political and social events, this serves to call its audience to re-evaluate the state of the world and encourages them to make connections to understand or relate to the song on a more personal level.