You know who you are. This isn’t meant to be derogatory, being called a “Fan Girl”, though it is often associated with groupies and naive teenage girls. But I’m on your side. I’m one of you. We’re Fan Girls because we love music, we let loose at concerts, meet the bands afterwards, and just plain delve into the world of music. Since when is passion a bad thing?
It’s not. So what’s the problem here?
Let me explicate this by example. I recently saw The 1975 for the second time at Webster Hall, NYC. Their music is extremely personal – the soundtrack to their lives. It spans the last 10 years of their existence as friends. Matt Healy (singer) writes introspective, even self-deprecatory lyrics about their lives (and particularly his own life) knockin’ round town in Manchester. He shares his frustration with small town boredom in “Chocolate”, writes about moving out of his home in “Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You”, accounts one night with a prostitute on “Woman”, and expresses his frustration with a teasing girl who’s got a boyfriend anyway on “Sex”. He frequently throws in bits of conversation he’s had: “’Your obsession with rocks and brown and fucking the whole town’s a reflection on your mental health’“ (Heart Out). It’s all personal. Because of the nature of their lyrics and stories, listeners feel like they get to know Matty, George, Adam, and Ross on a deeper level though they’ve never met them (or if they have, they still don’t really know them).
That’s where the Fan Girl comes in. The Fan Girl is notorious for taking this intimate information that surfaces through lyrics and going too far, smothering the band as if they’ve known them forever. They’re the ones who spout things like, “Matty is so cute! I just wanna fold him up, put him in my pocket, take him home, and feed him soup.” (and I quote. This is definitely one of the tamer ones. It usually gets a lot more…intimate…than that.) The 1975 has actually addressed the band’s inherent sexuality before. In that interview, Matty and George fall into giggles and respond that they must be just naturally sexy. The thing about being sexy is if you’re trying, then you’re failing. So yes, there’s undeniably a sexual factor that people (including Fan Girls) vibe on.
Matty is sharing these moments he’s had, and the listener can end up kind of romanticizing and idealizing these songs. You want to have that moment where you dare someone, “It’s just you and I tonight, why don’t you figure my heart out” (Heart Out) or “If we’re gonna do anything we might as well just fuck” (Sex).
Here’s the catch. The 1975 want you to love them – even fall in love with their band. In fact, that’s the entire reason they released 4 EP’s over the span of 8 months before releasing a debut album:
[W]ith the EP’s we wanted people to kind of fall in love with our band like you fall in love with a person. I think you need, and I mean kind of in the way that the more you know about someone over a longer period of time, then the more you both invest in the relationship and the more rewarding it is for both parties. And I think the fact that we’ve released a lot of material, it’s given people an opportunity to really really emotionally invest in the band before they’re provided with an album. (The 1975 Interview with Richie T)
Love the music. Fall in love with life through their music. BUT they don’t want you to live through their music and their stories. They want you to go out and make your own soundtrack, insert your own snippets of conversation, fall in love with someone else.
Now keep in mind, they’re human beings like you. Yeah, they perform in front of thousands of adoring crowds nightly, but they live, breathe, interact, converse just like you. It’s cool that you’re excited to meet them, but remember, they don’t want to be gawked at like exotic animals or examined like objects. They want to make connections. They want to chat:
What really matters, the only thing that’s going to happen, is like a connection with other people, with other human beings…So I just like kind of enriching that process. And the more I get to do that, the more proud I am of us for what we’re doing creatively. That’s all I really care about. Everything else is just really flattering but it’s not really important, is it. (The 1975 Interview with Richie T)
Treat them like humans and they’ll do you the same favor.
I reiterate, they want you to fall in love with their music and their band, but fall in love with them? Different matter. That’s where the Fan Girls get confused. You can love the band and still be completely autonomous. Appreciate their art and how they’ve enhanced your life, but take that inspiration and go live! Go find love in The City, go get your heart broken (or go break hearts), go make your car smell like Chocolate! Make your own John Hughes-like soundtrack to your life. The only difference between you and them is they’ve managed to artfully represent their lives on a 16-track debut album to be replayed every night in front of people like you.
Your life is just as important and cinematic. Go fall in love with your own life.