Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, The 1975 unravel the messiness of love with “Oh Caroline.”
“I’ve been suicidal” is a hell of a way to open a song, but Matty Healy and The 1975 have never shied away from blunt honesty. It’s present in the group’s 2016 track “She’s American” (“If she says I’ve got to fix my teeth, then she’s so American”); it’s all over 2018’s “Be My Mistake” (“The smell of your hair reminds me of her feet”); and it’s tucked into various corners of the band’s latest album, Being Funny In A Foreign Language.
The album is refreshing, and the band sounds energized throughout the eleven songs, four of which were released ahead of the full LP. Track 5, “Oh Caroline” is home to the aforementioned opening line, and it’s not the only time Healy references suicide, misery, or desperation, in this song or in the album at large. Naturally, this song in particular packages this confessional in a sunny, easy listen, and what could have been a quiet, acoustic ballad is instead something playful and almost hopeful.
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“Oh Caroline” lays it all out, placing every card someone might want to hold close to their chest right in the center of the table. “Baby, I’ll do anything that you wanna/ I’ll try anything that you wanna,” Healy promises. He even pulls out examples — begging on his knees, getting cucked, waiting at the window for his lover to return home. It doesn’t position him as anything important or even remotely powerful in this relationship, but that doesn’t seem to matter. All that matters here is that his lover, this Caroline, gives him another try.
It’s the messiness of romance and the adage that love makes a person do crazy things in its purest, most literal form. One thing The 1975 have a particular knack for is taking concepts that might otherwise be uncomfortable and making them intensely palatable. Here, utter desperation almost sounds fun.
— Mary Siroky