“This is really hard! I’ll think of one and then I’ll be like, ‘Oh, fuck I forgot another one!’” says Matty Healy, sitting at his kitchen table in his native England and grappling as to which '80s albums are in fact his favorite. As the lead singer of British rock band the 1975 — you may have seen him wagging his tongue and thrusting his abdominal tattoo on SNL — Healy is an unabashed fan of that musical era. It shows in his band’s music: The 1975’s mouthful-of-a-second album, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It, is slathered with '80s riffs and not-so-subtle homages to the likes of INXS, Talking Heads, and Huey Lewis. Healy says everything on the album is exaggerated: “All the '80s elements are more '80s. The pop elements are poppier.” With his '80s-toasting album due on February 26, it was only appropriate we had the eccentric singer select his favorite and most influential '80s albums.
The Blue Nile — Hats
"This is the best record of the '80s. Well, actually, fucking hell ... no, that is my favorite record of the '80s! The Blue Nile are my favorite band of all time. They’re fucking amazing. Musically, they’ve inspired me so much. There’s so much drama. It’s perfect nighttime music. It’s beautiful, romantic music with British sensibilities. The sounds on it are just amazing. And it’s called Hats! What a fucking cool name for a record!"
My Bloody Valentine — Loveless
"It’s an '80s album although many don’t consider it an '80s record. I got into My Bloody Valentine massively when I was like 16 or 17. I was heavily into ambient music then — Sigur Rós was really happening; I was really into Boards of Canada and Four Tet — and that, of course, led me to the roots of all that stuff. That’s when I started listening to My Bloody Valentine. I remember also that Kevin Shields created the music for Lost in Translation and when I saw that movie it was this really big thing for me."
A Flock of Seagulls — A Flock of Seagulls
"I just love 'Space Age Love Song.' It was such a massive song for me when I was 16. It was one of those songs for me that soundtracked those apocalyptic romantic experiences you have."
Lilo Thomas — Let Me Be Yours
"Lilo Thomas was an Olympic athlete turned New Jack Swing '80s-pop sensation. The title track on that record is an absolute fucking banger!"
The Sugarcubes — Life’s Too Good
"That’s a great record. I’ve got my eyes closed and I’m picturing my record collection and that one definitely stands out to me. It’s got 'Birthday' on it. That record’s heartbreaking. And I love Björk. She’s amazing."
Liquid Liquid — Optima EP
"I love how seminal disco was and I love how seminal punk was and I love that space in-between. That No Wave, New York thing. There was something studious about Liquid Liquid. Their music makes you want to have been there. It’s got that really, really dirty vibe, with that one bass line that just keeps repeating itself. It’s the really early foundation for dance music. That fucking beat, man! It gets your blood pumping!"
Talking Heads — Speaking in Tongues
"The album has those post–Liquid Liquid house beats and uptightness with white-boy funk guitars. We’ve got a lot of that. There will be even more of that on our next record. Also, the front cover for the album is also awesome. David Byrne is one of those people that lyrically I don’t understand a lot of the time but I give him the benefit of the doubt. That speaks volumes of what he is an artist. It’s a weird thing to say but I’m thinking you probably know what I mean."