"We are, right now, in the beginning of a climate and ecological crisis," Greta Thunberg speaks firmly at the outset of The 1975's latest single. Fans familiar with the band's work probably weren't expecting to hear the 16-year-old activist's voice on the lead track from the band's upcoming fourth album, Notes On a Conditional Form.
The self-titled track, "The 1975," appears on every record thus far in the band's discography in one form or another, always with the same angsty lyrics. This time, however, the band is filling this space with an urgent speech on the need for action against climate change and global emergencies.
Thunberg received worldwide praise in 2018 for her demonstrations and protests at the Swedish parliament, urging for immediate action to solve climatological crises around the world. She went on to inspire a movement that transcended borders, with strikes happening around the world from students calling for climate justice. Now, The 1975 are giving her a new platform for her message to reach the ears of millions — a five-minutes-long leading block at the beginning of their highly anticipated new album.
Her speech is incredibly moving; it is set in front of a glimmering array of keys and strings that crescendo into a symphony at the speech's most poignant moments. "Everything needs to change," she says towards the end of the track, right before calling for widespread civil disobedience from listeners.
The decision to make the first listen of Notes On a Conditional Form a spoken word track makes sense in the world of The 1975. Their 2019 album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, also contained a spoken word track, but it was about obsessive human interaction with the internet. Despite having differing themes, both tracks fit into the puzzling narrative of a post-millennium planet Earth. They are nuanced perspectives at the larger whole, and ultimately serve to digest the current global political climate, as well as the human condition.
On top of the release of "The 1975," the band has announced that Notes On a Conditional Form will be released in February 2020, and the next single, "People," is coming sooner than you think: August 22, 2019.