Sincerity Is Scary
|"Sincerity Is Scary"|
|Single by The 1975|
|from the album A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships|
|Released||13 September 2018|
|The 1975 singles chronology|
"Sincerity Is Scary" is a song by English rock band The 1975 from their third studio album, A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships (2018). It was released on 13 September 2018 through Dirty Hit and Polydor Records as the album's fourth single. It was written by all the members of The 1975 and was produced by lead vocalist Matthew Healy and drummer George Daniel. It is an indie pop, R&B and neo soul song which also features elements of jazz. The track is about Healy "trying to denounce all of that postmodern fear of [...] being real".
Having premiered on Zane Lowe's Beats 1 as World Record, the song was met with a positive reception from critics, and reached numbers fifty-seven and sixty-six in the United Kingdom and in Ireland respectively. A music video for the single was released on 21 November and the band also performed the song in BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge.
Background and development
The band began writing the "Sincerity Is Scary" in the English countryside. All the band members were present as was No Rome, who was playing the piano. Roy Hargrove, who died less than two months after the release of the song, provided the track's trumpet part. Healy told Pitchfork that working with him was "Intense. You’d get him in the room and you’d be so scared." but added that he "was the greatest musician I’ve ever been in a room with, by a mile."
In an interview Genius, Matthew Healy, the band's lead singer stated that he wrote the song because of the difficulty one faces when being sincere. He elaborated that "you have to be really human and you have to be really soppy and bit of a sigh [...] And it’s easier to be ironic in the face of those situations [...] And then, I suppose I just noticed myself doing that, because I think I’ve always been kind of a positive person, and I kind of wanted to denounce, a little bit, and be sincere."
Composition and lyrics
"Sincerity Is Scary" was written by all the members of The 1975 and was produced by lead vocalist Matthew Healy and drummer George Daniel. The song is composed in the key of A major with a tempo of 91 beats per minute while Healy's vocals span from a range of F#4–F#5. It is an indie pop, R&B and neo soul song which also features elements of jazz. NME wrote that the song was "played out over smooth layers of brass and piano, and dragging beats" and Billboard states that it begins with "slow drums and a smooth saxophone, a wave of instruments" before "gentle sounds are then introduced as Healy rolls into the lyrics with his smooth voice."
Healy revealed the meaning of most of the lyrics of the song in a "Verified" session for Genius. In the interview, he explains that the track's opening line is a continuation of its title, adding that "it’s like, "Sincerity is scary, let me explain what I mean."" In a separate interview with Zane Lowe of Beats 1, he explained that the song is about him "trying to denounce all of that postmodern fear of [...] being real". Earmilk notes that in the song "Healy has removed his armor of irony, leaving himself vulnerable to judgement."
The song received positive reviews from music critics. Writing for NME, Rhian Daly stated that "while sincerity might be scary, Matty’s attempts at it are still as beautiful and thought-provoking as his lyrics at the other end of the spectrum. This time, he just feels a lot more human." Billboard's Marina Pedrosa wrote that "the track offers a feel-good vibe with its graceful melody, despite the emotionally charged lyrics" Maura Johnston of Rolling Stone deemed the song one of the best tracks off the album, calling it "a shuffling rumination on the gaps between people that underscores Healy’s hoped-for leap into faith with a gospel choir." However, Claire Biddles of The Line of Best Fit called the song one of the albums' "few brief missteps", calling it "the most plainly earnest song on the album", adding that "its laid-back jazz-pop is pleasant, but sounds painfully close to the faux-authenticity of a charity single."
The accompanying music video for "Sincerity Is Scary" was directed by Warren Fu, who later directed the visual for "It's Not Living (If It's Not with You)", and was written by Healy. It was filmed on the Disney lot in Burbank, California, and released on The 1975's YouTube channel on 21 November 2018.
Upon the video's release, Healy took to Twitter and offered fans a challenge to "find all Easter eggs hidden in the video" and added "I'll give you the first one: the clock". NME highlighted all of the Easter eggs in a post. In it, they revealed that the clock found at the beginning of the video had an extra hand in order to spell out the band's name and that the image hung up in Healy's room was named "I Like America & America Likes Me", which is also the name of track off the album. In one shot, Healy exits his house which has the door number "1975", referencing the band's name before meeting No Rome walking a dalmatian which appeared in the music video of his song "Narcissist", which features The 1975.
In another shot, Healy walks past a man reading a newspaper with a paper bag on his head with the name of the album written on the it. Furthermore, the newspaper the man is reading has the headline "MODERNITY HAS FAILED US", which is a lyrics from the band's song "Love It If We Made It". Healy is also seen in front of a theater's billboard which reads "La Poesie Est Dans la Rue", which is also featured in the music video of the band' song "Robbers". Furthermore, the video contains two references to the music video of the band's song "A Change of Heart"; firstly, Healy performs a dance similar to one he performs in the music video, secondly, in the video's final shot, a little girl appears dressed as Healy appears in "A Change of Heart".
The video begins with Healy getting out of bed in the morning before leaving his house and a rabbit hat on his head and puts his earphones on as trumpeteers beginning playing the song. He greets a man, picks a rose out of a bouquet and gifts it to an elderly woman before falling through a hole, only to reemerge from another house seconds later with new clothes. He flicks a banana peel of his shoulder and begins performing a choreographed dance with a well dressed man. He then gives his hat to a little girl and the camera moves to house's door, from which Healy emerges. He walks down the stairs surrounded by a squad of school girls singing the song and Healy sings along with them.
The choir leaves and Healy kicks a football through a window. He performs a hopscotch and greets a small boy. He then saves a man reading a newspaper from being killed by a falling piano. He suddenly falls from the sky in front of a theater before RCC marching band appears accompanied by a choir. The band and choir leave and Healy dances on his own. He then brings a little girl in black and white dressed as a clown in front of the camera. He climbs up a ladder and purs water on her, bringing the girl to colour. The camera then points to the sky, which is now a rosy hue.
NME reacted positively to the video, stating that "Matty Healy described it as "good bowl of soup levels wholesome ... and it turns out he wasn't wrong. Much like the song it accompanies, it'll make you feel a different kind of way than you'd typically expect The 1975 to make you feel – warm, fuzzy, and overflowing with positivity." Billboard named it the fifteenth best music video so 2018 and wrote "But this one is very fun and, like much of The 1975's work, just self-aware enough to not be unbelievably corny or self-righteous, and just memorable enough to even earn a quick universe-crossover in the band's next music video." Yahoo! Entertainment named it the fourth best of the year, deeming "a departure from darker 1975 videos like 'Somebody Else' and 'Chocolate,' but it's so good, we're now eagerly waiting for the 1975 jukebox musical to hit Broadway." Huffington Post UK placed it at number 18 on their year-end list, calling it "at once both completely pretentious and utterly silly, which is actually a perfect description of the band themselves."
|Scotland (Official Charts Company)||84|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||57|
|US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard)||20|
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