Love it if we made it: Matty Healy’s plea for compassion at the O2

Do me a favor and click into the video at 40 minutes in so you can see a speech I saw live on December 16, 2016. Matty Healy, lead singer of The 1975, talked to the crowd of some 18,000 kids and their folk who convened for a prayer meeting in song. You may think I’m exaggerating. But then maybe you’ve never known what it is to be a fan of The 1975.

Here’s the transcript:

London, this truly is remarkable for us. Thank you for coming. You feeling alright? How you feeling at the top? How you feeling on the floor?

I’m exhausted. It’s been a mental year, hasn’t it? Not just for us but for everybody. Yeah, I’m not here to talk about politics. We’re not here to think about politics. We’re here for a release. We’re here for some music, a release from all the bullshit. No, but that’s the thing. It’s not even about “Fuck Donald Trump.” It’s not. It’s not even that. 

We’ve been in America for three months during the election. And we were in the UK during Brexit. We fucking picked our timing this year.

And that’s kind of not the rhetoric that’s needed. Cuz I was so angry. And I know. We see loads of young, compassionate liberal people every night. This is like our world. This is the world that we see. So when things go at odds of that, it’s really confusing. And it really makes you fucking angry.

And I know it’s really sad to see all of these young voices of progression and change being drowned out by regressive ideals and bullshit. It’s very sad. And it appears to be paradigms of race. And it is about that and it is about gender and it is about age and it is about sexuality. But it’s also about a lot of these people who voted against for what what we stand for? They feel so disenfranchised by both sides of political systems that that felt like the right thing to do.

So if we’re young, right, and we’re liberal and we’re compassionate and we’re Muslim and we’re black and we’re gay, whatever…if we are that then it is our responsibility to be compassionate to listen to everybody, to listen to their concerns and move things forward.

And you are our people and we love you so fucking much, you have no idea. This song is about loving someone.

I know what you’re thinking…another entitled British rock star talking about things he doesn’t know. Like when all those big-haired know nothings got together and sang about Christmas in Africa in the 80’s. Or the Live Aid concert.

But this is different. I’ve been following Matty for years. Not just the music, but the interviews. He knows his shit. He’s not always right. But he’s growing. And that is what is important. He cares about optics because he knows they matter and they can hook in a clueless kid and make them question life for the first time. He’s a punk, just like the punks who opened my eyes. His music may sound poppy, but he’s laying truths just like Bob Dylan, the Dead Kennedys or Rage Against The Machine. He’s abrasive. He’s arrogant. But the kids who love him grew up post 9/11. They’ve seen kids, just like them, get shot up in schools and concert arenas. They know how little their lives are valued.

They watch videos like this:

The lyrics are strong. Some of them are direct Trump quotes.

We’re fucking in a car
Shooting heroin
Saying controversial things
Just for the hell of it
Selling melanin and then
Suffocate the black man
Start with misdemeanours
And we’ll make a business out of them
And we can find out the information
Access all the applications
That are hardening positions
Based on miscommunication
Oh! Fuck your feelings
Truth is only hearsay
We’re just left to decay
Modernity has failed us

And I’d love it if we made it
Yes, I’d love it if we made it
Yes, I’d love it if we made it
Yes, I’d love it if we made it

And poison me, daddy
I got the Jones right through my bones
Write it on a piece of stone
A beach of drowning three-year olds
Rest in peace Lil Peep
The poetry is in the streets
Jesus save us!
Modernity has failed us

And I’d love it if we made it
Yes, I’d love it if we made it
Yes, I’d love it if we made it
Yes, I’d love it if we made it

And I’d love it if we made it
And I’d love it if we made it
And I’d love it if we made it
I’d love it if we made it
Tell me something I didn’t know

Consultation degradation
Fossil fuelling masturbation
Immigration liberal kitsch
Kneeling on a pitch
“I moved on her like a bitch!”
Excited to be indicted
Unrequited house with seven pools
“Thank you, Kanye, very cool!”
The war has been incited
And guess what? You’re all invited
And you’re famous
Modernity has failed us

And I’d love it if we made it
And I’d love it if we made it
And I’d love it if we made it
Tell me something I didn’t know
And I’d love it if we made it
And I’d love it if we made it
And I’d love it if we made it
I’d love it if we made it

But the video! There’s some serious shit in that video. It’s confrontational because the stakes are that high. “A beach of drowning three-year olds.” Kids see that on TV. And they see it on the video. The adults whom I’ve shown this video to find it too violent. It’s not the video that’s violent. It’s the world that these kids see everyday on their phones. It is the images that have and will continue to shape their world. It will influence the adults they become. If we make it.

The chorus remains hopeful. Because we need hope. And as Matty said in that speech, we need compassion.

I turn to that speech he made back in 2016 when I feel like I’m becoming cynical. You know this. You can read my poorly written ode to The 1975. They were part of the healing it took to get me to where I am today.

I’ve been looking for teachers. Some of them were alive long before I was born. Some of them were born long after I was alive. One of them just happens to be a cheeky Mancunian with good hair.

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