The 1975’s “Sincerity Is Scary” is the Classiest Postmodern Video Ever (Lyrics Review)
The 1975 have released a music video for “Sincerity Is Scary” track from their 2018 album and we are in love. The video features The 1975 vocalist Matt Healy doing a dance musical on the street accompanied by a varying cast. But there is more than what meets the eye in the song and the video. Keep reading on to find out.
“Sincerity Is Scary” track was released on September 13 as the third single off of the band’s new album ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships.’ The song speaks about postmodern lifestyles and how we have led ourselves on a downward spiral in such.
In an interview with Beats 1 Radio with Zane Lowe, Matt Healy explained what the song means;
“‘Sincerity Is Scary’ is about me trying to denounce all of that postmodern fear of like being real, you know? Like irony first, irony first. Make sure you’re ironic because then you can’t be judged on being a person. And I’ve become so aware of the shtick that exists within my kind of lyrical narrative as well, because obviously I love everything that I’ve done previously but now as I got older I see these kind of defense mechanisms whether they be jokes or being slightly sardonic or like he is the big emotional bit of the song but I’m not going to be really emotional. All those kind of things. I think on this record it’s slightly more, it’s just a bit more open and a bit easier, and genuinely sincere.” – Matt Healy/Beats 1 Radio
“Sincerity Is Scary” talks about how postmodern lives have been a brilliant cover up act for hiding one’s true emotions. The singer says people would rather be sarcastic, sardonic and cool as a defense mechanism rather than being real. There is a big chance of you being cornered and booed down for being real by a society full of fakes.
Watch “Sincerity Is Scary” Video by The 1975
Here Are the Easter Eggs from “Sincerity Is Scary” Music Video
The below list is composed thanks to NME.
1) The clock by the bed, of Matt Healy when he wakes up in the morning, has 4 arms instead of the usual 3. The 4 arms are pointed at 1, 9, 7 and 5. Yes, the band name.
2) The picture on the wall is a reference to Joseph Beuys who spent three days locked in a room with a coyote. In three days the coyote went from being dangerous to tame. The picture shows an early stage of the experiment where the coyote rips apart a blanket. This experiment happened in 1974 in New York.
3) Similar to the clock, the door sign also shows the band name ‘1975.’
4) The guy walking down a Dalmatian is a fellow record label artist No Rome.
5) The man with a paper bag on his head is a shout out to David Foster Wallace, who compiled the book ‘Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.’ The book cover included a man with a paper bag on his head and the book title written on the paper bag. Wallace is known to be a critique of the postmodern ironic tendencies, which is in line with the idea of “Sincerity Is Scary.”
6) Matt Healy disappears off the screen for a second and reappears with clothing similar to Michael Jackson. He also performs a few steps like the late great MJ and even passes on the hat to a kid.
7) The movie title shown at the cinema is a translation for “the poetry is in the streets in full living colour.” These lines have appeared before in The 1975’s work.
8) The little girl at the last scene of the video is a throwback to Matt Healy who dressed the same in his “A Change of Heart” video. Notice how the girl appears in black and white and comes to life after water is poured on her.
Lyrics Review and Song Meaning of “Sincerity Is Scary”
The first verse of “Sincerity Is Scary” is dedicated to describing how Matt Healy feels about postmodernism. Postmodernism is the dominant culture around the world right now, which is considered to be progressive and nonchalant. This is culture right now and the singer thinks this might be okay since everyone is on board.
However, if we take a closer look at the world right now, it is more messed up than it has ever been before. There are shootings and massacres and wars happening around the world every day. These could be attributed to the lack of sincerity and coping mechanisms that are restricted by the existing culture.
“Oh, what a shame” is possibly something we hear others and ourselves mutter on a daily basis. There is a bomb blast in Ariana Grande concert and all we can say is “oh, what a shame!” Michael Jackson passes away due to excessive stress; “oh, what a shame” and we move on. These words lack any weight or meaning due to the way we are accustomed to using them. There is very little sincerity when we use these words.
“Dirty spoon” is a reference to the spoon used in cooking heroin drug. Matthew Healy is telling that if you put down this spoon, you could be filled with life like a balloon. Matt Healy himself could be drawing inspiration from his own life as he was admitted to rehab in late 2017 due to heroin addiction.
Matt Healy takes up on the idealism of “being offended” by pretty much everything in the current generation; specifically sexism.
He builds on the idea that no girl is just another girl. Before he could even open his mouth, he knew he is going to get labelled a sexist, due to the numerous things and ways one could be labelled such. He is running out of the things he liked about her before he knew her. Sexism has killed chivalry, and the irony is people are still looking for noblemen.
Matt Healy brings up the online culture of “calling out” someone for pretty much one keystroke entered wrong. This has made the Internet to be a very aggressive place with people using keyboards to hide behind their own failures and faults.
“Sincerity Is Scary” also elaborates on the fact that you are still going to be judged even in this postmodern era no matter what. So don’t think you have a control over how people are going to perceive you. Everybody perceives the world how they want it to be.
This is an exceptional work by The 1975 reflecting on the flawed concept of postmodernism. It is not that it has its own pluses. Current progressive culture paves the way for equal rights, equal opportunities, less racial discrimination, abolishing colonies, same-sex rights etc. However, it has also given masks to everybody and each of us is hiding behind them. The final outburst is not going to be pretty.
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Complete Lyrics to “Sincerity Is Scary” by The 1975