Notes on a Conditional Form

The 1975 - Notes on a Conditional Form
Critic Score
Based on 42 reviews
2020 Ratings: #682 / 818
User Score
2020 Ratings: #845
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Instead of issuing another state-of-the-world album, The 1975 have somehow put out an album made for introspection and headphone listening and dancing around your living room, something deep and sprawling and occasionally silly to dig deep into over many listens, during which your favourite track will shift on a daily basis.

An album that rewards investment, The 1975's fourth full-length is by far their most ambitious to date.

Chasing excitement down rabbit holes and with a sense of gleeful freedom, ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ is a lot of things all at once, but it’s never boring.

Entertainment Weekly

No matter how you take it apart, with Notes the 1975 have offered their most maximalist statement, and, as ever, the ultimate thrill lies in wondering where they'll go next.

Spill Magazine

One could say this record is borderline Sign O The Times meets Achtung Baby, as it is genre-diverse, thought-provoking, and rocks out all at the same time.

Consequence of Sound

Besides being the most genre-bending collection they’ve released, it’s also the most painstakingly human album in their repertoire.

‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ is lyrically playful and musically a step away from being confused for a compilation album of the best tracks this group has ever released. But that confusion is warranted. This is The 1975’s quarantine Megazord and they’re about to save the world again.

Notes On a Conditional Form isn’t the most important thing in the world right now, however it’s easily the most interesting and confusing major release by an arena-selling guitar band in a long while. The UK’s best band continue to delight and bewilder in equal measure.

It can feel indulgent. Yes, they have expressed some of these thoughts more succinctly in the past; and yes, the tracklist could be condensed so that you don’t have to clear your schedule to get through it. But when everything clicks, their work has never sounded so patient, so personal.
There are at least two too many instrumentals, and songs that stand apart on their own start to bleed together near then end. But the ambition and execution can't be denied. This is the 1975 operating at the peak of their powers.

Notes On A Conditional Form capitalises on this ‘throw everything at the wall and see what sticks’ approach in surprising ways.


Notes On A Conditional Form is a daunting yet ultimately rewarding experience.

The Young Folks

Notes on a Conditional Form is a strange album that will be undoubtedly be alienating to some. However, for a band of this size to end their run with something this ambitious is worth at least some praise. Whether you like it or not, there will undoubtedly be a song or two that will stick with you.

In many ways, it's a lot to take in at once, but that's not necessarily a bad thing because it shows a level of unquenchable ambition, creativity, and outspoken curiosity that's rarely felt in popular music today.
Q Magazine
The bloated tracklist doesn't negate the fact that The 1975 are blessed with two things: a contrarian inventiveness and the common touch - a combination that ought to secure them a permanent place in the pantheon of pop greats.
Beats Per Minute
Arrogant? Absolutely. Boring? A bit. Great? No doubt about it.
Under The Radar

At 22 tracks and 80 minutes long, Notes on a Conditional Form is the band’s longest and arguably most daring record, yet it is also their most understated work—a reflective and oddly sober re-evaluation of Healy’s persona which contains much of his funniest and most wistful material to date.


There are moments of brilliance ... Had they filtered the cacophony of ideas a little more, ‘Notes…’ could have matched ‘A Brief Inquiry…’ as a modern-day classic; as it stands, its legacy looks set to be slightly more conditional.

FLOOD Magazine

Notes on a Conditional Form is an explosion of ideas—some bad, but many good, all worth getting lost in for at least a short while.

The Sydney Morning Herald
The Manchester quartet’s fourth album, a maximalist 22-track hot mess, is more like a nutso mixtape than the work of one band.
Slant Magazine

It might not live up to its lofty goals, but the sheer amount of daring on Notes on a Conditional Form solidifies the four guitar-wielding dudes of the 1975 as the biggest, boldest, and brashest purveyors of something resembling what we used to call rock n’ roll.

The sad truth is that the album tries to whiplash so severely between genre that cohesion is relatively non-existent.
Spectrum Culture
A messy and overstuffed pop odyssey that will only reaffirm how you feel about this band, whether you love them or you hate them.
‘Notes’ is an exhausted sign of the times: a studio album from a band that could not settle in one. It is sporadic, intense and deeply troubled. It will easily be the album that shapes the band’s legacy.
The Guardian

It makes Notes on a Conditional Form a curious thing, an album whose flaws are inherent in what it sets out to do: music for the no-filter generation, with all the good and bad that entails.

Rolling Stone
Despite being far too long, the latest from U.K. rock band’s “voice of a generation” has moments of high-concept craftsmanship.
The Arts Desk

Though it ends with the balmy sentiment of “Don’t Worry” and “Guys” (The 1975’s love song to itself), this is an 80-minute shrug of the shoulders, a rudderless surrender to the flow.

The Telegraph
Perhaps the album itself should be considered a very big if, in the sense that it almost completely abdicates any decisive form to present multiple possibilities without resolution. Which is a fancy way of saying it’s a mess.
If we're talking about listening to all this in the specific context of an album and not as a random collection of otherwise disconnected tracks, it's hard to have what you'd call a cohesive listening experience.

The 1975 have created a very bloated version of A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, which means that it has some really impressive moments of electronic experimentation and upbeat indie-rock gems, but also a large swath of songs that could have been left to a future EP or b-side collection.

The Observer

A Brief Inquiry is a hard album to top, and Notes is, perhaps, the most disjointed and unclassifiable of the 1975’s works. It serves best, perhaps, as a long and intermittently lovely outro to that defining record.

Louder Than War

Ultimately, Notes On A Conditional Form is an album that shows The 1975 indulging in their best and worst tendencies. There’s some fantastic stuff here, but you have to dig for it a little too much.

No Ripcord

Notes on a Conditional Form is a fantastic 12 track, 45-minute album. It’s just a shame that The 1975 decided to make it into a 22 track, 80 minute one.

Brit Award-winners turn their genre-gobbling ambitions up to 11.

Notes On a Conditional Form seems more preoccupied with perception and the potential to legacy-build than it does with lasting songs. It’s an album that would never have been made without the cameras rolling or thumbs tweeting.

A.V. Club

Notes On A Conditional Form is a jarring and fatiguing listening experience.

The Needle Drop

There's very little rhyme or reason to Notes on a Conditional Form.

It's unwieldy, cheesy, overlong, confusing and, just occasionally inspired.
The Line of Best Fit

Flat, directionless and inessential, where its forebears felt vital, worthy of devoting a life to. For a band with proven dexterity in deftly capturing the nuances and quick changes of contemporary conversation, it is disheartening to witness them with nearly nothing of note to say.

The Independent

A 22-track-long parade of stream-of-conscious self-indulgence ... Perhaps if they'd cared a little more the result wouldn't have been such a smug farrago in which each track grates against the next like rusted gears.

Here come the Kid A comparrisons I guess.

What just happened?

No seriously, what just happened? Let's take you back BEFORE I listened to the album, where I felt terror. Pure unbridled terror.

I am, admittedly, a huge fan of The 1975. While Matt Healy can seem pretensious at times, I still love the bands blend of indie pop, indie rock, electronica, ambeint, jazz and all the other genres they try to tackle. They are, without a doubt, the band I WANT to be.

They are the band that just seem ... read more
The 1975's eclectic, political "End of An Era" album: one tedious attempt at ambition and virtuosity after another. Matt Healy and company experiment with many identities, throwing ideas at the wall to see what fits. That's fine, but rarely does the content ever translate into anything but a musical hodgepodge.

Of course, do take all reviews/interpretations of 'Notes' with a grain of salt. The 1975 has always been a band that's divided fans and critics alike, and always will. The ... read more
Welp, here it is guys. The most predictable fucking thing you're gonna see all fucking day.

That's right! The dude who has sported Matty as my name and picture for like about a year now loves the new record...


Truly surprising.

Bias out of the way, let me try and tell you why I'm right, as I clearly always, or usually, am.

Let's answer the age old question:


Well, let's get into it. Yes, ... read more
Unquestionably Notes On A Conditional Form is a daring album that shows a bit too much ambition in my opinion. It seems that it actually contains 2 intertwined albums that confront each other and try to speak louder than the other one, when they should rather complement each other . You have on one side some basic but catchy pop rock passages, then on the other side there's all the "avant-garde" part with experimentations mainly hidden in an electronic form.

Ironically I'm not ... read more
The 1975 have always been a weird band in my catalog. The only record of their’s I continuously enjoy is 2018’s “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships.” It was very thematic, beautiful at times, and I could easily find myself listening to it in my free time. When I found out about this record, I was SO SO excited, like most people!

Just like most records from this group, “Notes on a Conditional Form” is a mixed bag. Many tracks on this record, including ... read more
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Added on: August 19, 2018