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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Kassel

"Love It If We Made It": a single point of light in the darkness of modernity

The chorus of the 1975’s nihilist 2018 lead single provides the only thought of relief… but how relieving is it?

I sort of see myself continuing an emotional thread I began yesterday with "Disco 2000" with my pick for today. Pulp’s hit leaves me with this feeling that something (or, really, someone) has gotten away from either its narrator or myself, depending on how invested I am in the song with any given listen. Yet I… he… we keep singing and dancing because we’ve got to cope with the realities of life one way or another.

Take those feelings and expand their scale to confront the greater state of the world, and I think you’d end up with something pretty close to the 1975’s "Love It If We Made It." Just like "Disco 2000," "Love It If We Made It" has plenty of saccharine in its instrumental, which makes its lyrical lamentations easier to accept and sing along with in the moment.

When you pause or think harder, though, the 1975’s track becomes much more than radio fodder. It’s an unflinching snapshot of sociopolitical reality in the late 2010s, and despite the changes we’ve seen in the world since its 2018 release, it applies to 2022 just as much if not more. I directly quote yesterday’s post:

"Social anthems only become more poignant as the issues they confront increasingly manifest."

You’ve hit the nail on the head, me.

Now listen to "Love It If We Made It" a couple times before reading further. Let the song wash over you the first time, enjoying its 80s-lifted instrumental and that delectable guitar in the second and third choruses. Then listen more closely one or two times — feel free to rewind to make sure you hear lyrics correctly, or follow along with Healy’s words if you’re so inclined. Personally, I’d just listen very intently while watching the excellent music video, because the visual pairs extremely well with all the issues Healy and the band tackle.

Okay, if you actually did what I asked, I’d be thoroughly impressed if your attempt to calmly listen the first time through didn’t get derailed by the first two lines:

We’re f***ing in a car, shooting heroin
Saying controversial things just for the hell of it

…and, honestly, that was kind of my point, because it probably meant you listened closely from then on out, and Healy said a lot in about 4 minutes. It’s apparent from the opening that Healy wanted just that — the provocation the open rhyme offers is his cynical channeling of political commentators who grab attention with whatever attention-grabbing thing they decide to turn into fact. After all, "truth is only hearsay" nowadays. We’re more connected than ever — hence "we can find out the information / Access all the applications" — but the ease with misinformation can be spread and supersede the actual facts has come to define our world, whether you live in Trump-tainted America (Healy’s impetus for writing), Putin or Xi’s dictatorial states, or other places the main powers too often forget about unless there's oil there.

Healy also critiques systemic racism and the segmented acceptance of Black culture and personhood, the death of our world by a thousand climate-change cuts, and the ease with which conflict can begin and envelop us. All in all, he sings, "modernity has failed us." We the common people lack the ability to change much even with our votes; instead we’re thrown into the world’s chaos and probably not even told "good luck.” Yet he still takes the time to juxtapose all those negative reactions to the world and more with his repeated chorus line: "And I’d love it if we made it." …Is that hope? To Healy, he meets the failure of modernity "hopefully with a genuine positivity," but I’m not sure if I can hear it the same way. Especially in the context of all the sociopolitical ills around which he frames the line, the refrain gives off an impression of a cry for help to me more than it does a statement of relief. The pleasant-sounding music and plastic panacea of a title and chorus can only do so much to distract from everything else.

"Love It If We Made It" is a song in which I can’t get lost while I listen. Whereas Billy Joel’s "We Didn’t Start the Fire" — which similarly runs through headlines — whizzes by and has a full chorus, the 1975’s opting for a slower tempo and Healy’s grounding the song in the present moment makes it a piece I have to really mentally confront. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; in fact, it encourages engagement with the issues stated within… but I’m not sure if that make is a kind of song you’d be willing to hear in your regular rotation. I included it in my Senior Year Soundtrack because it’s as much of a soundtrack of where our world has gone as any recent piece, and I’m preparing to truly enter that world pretty soon. *sighs/shudders*

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