For the final ten days of June, I’ll be counting down the ten best albums that fell within my radar during the first half of 2016. Each day, I’ll reveal the next album on the list along with an informal review. This will lead to July 1st, a major release day for albums, when I’ll post an updated version of my Most Anticipated Albums of 2016 list. Enjoy!

#8: I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it by The 1975
Released February 26 by Dirty Hit Records

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“The kick won’t last for long, but the song only lasts three minutes.”

The kick of a good pop song lasts longer than the 1975 are willing to let on, probably because on their second album, I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, the band crafts detail-oriented pop with far more going on than immediately meets the eyes or ears. Take the song lyric above from “UGH!,” a track which happens to clock in at exactly 3:00. Or there’s “Love Me,” the album’s wildly infectious lead single, which is itself both a killer pop song and an indictment of modern pop music culture. Then darn me if “She’s American” isn’t the best pop-rock song of the century; with its massive hooks, quirky lyrics, impressive musicianship, and stop-and-go dynamics, this song refuses to lose its flair upon repeat listens. “She’s American” also showcases how the 1975 so effectively take what could easily be pigeonholed as “80s pop ripoff” and re-contextualize those sounds and synths into something effortlessly modern. The album’s flawless opening run ends with the awe-inspiring “If I Believe You,” filled with equal part theological contradictions and gospel choirs. The album then takes a big dip into the instrumental “Please Be Naked,”  which, paired with “lostmymind,” is a ten-minute break from conventional pop songs. The latter, with textures reminiscent of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score for The Social Network, buries Matt Healy’s vocals beneath the mix, and I’ve never figured out whether this is to the song’s detriment or not. The song makes a pleasant build toward a triumphant ending that would’ve made a lovely transition into the album’s stand-out ballad, “Somebody Else,” but instead we first get “The Ballad of Me and My Brain,” the first instance where The 1975’s signature stacked-track recording style just sounds like noise. A little bit later, the bloopy, near-instrumental title tracks comes in like another interlude, interrupting what could have been a wonderful segue from “Loving Someone” to the addictively catchy “The Sound.” This exhaustively sagging midsection reads less like two interludes with four songs in between and more like four interludes with two real songs mixed in. This might appear like a lot of negativity from someone trying to praise an album, but it’s simply frustrating to have to fight to get through an album that contains ten of the year’s better songs (honestly, ten of this decade’s best pop songs). Rarely is an album less than the sum of its parts, but in the case of I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, the “parts” are so glorious that the album is still completely worth it.

Check out “The Sound” on Youtube.

Read the review for album #9.

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