The 1975’s Matty Healy enticed fans to chant the line “Covid is not real” in the band’s recent appearance at the 2022 UK festival in Reading.
Healy, 33, has become increasingly nonchalant in his expression of his views on climate change, sex, and the Coronavirus pandemic which has led to the singer’s recent trending on Twitter. His confident, opinionated stance on life has made him, perhaps, untouchable amongst fans as they welcome a new version of the musician who is unafraid and honest, no matter the outcome.
However, can this attitude be damaging when expressed towards such a large fanbase? Or is it simply an act of defiance against a virus that brought the world to a standstill for almost two years?
Matty Healy is recognised as being outspoken and possesses opinions that almost always hold a metaphorical meaning. The singer recently expressed his regret after he kissed a male fan at a concert in Dubai, regardless of the illegality of homosexuality in the country. His return to social media has sparked an interest in fans as it is evident that he has become even more unfiltered than he was previous to the pandemic. This begs the question that the chanting of the words “Covid is not real” was an expression of the familiar irony that fans expect when attending the band’s concerts rather than the disbelief of the virus itself. His power over an entire audience highlights how influenced a loyal fanbase can be when supporting their idols. I see it is as an almost ironic nod towards Freddy Mercury’s past appearance at Live Aid in 1985, when he held the power over the crowd in their effortless echo of his catchy, yet challenging lyrics.
Healy’s aim is usually to reflect what’s going on in the world through lyrical means or stage features throughout the concert; such as his act of creating awareness about climate change with a monologue by Greta Thunberg in the middle of his 2019 shows. In today’s environment, society has become sensitive towards any doubts regarding the Coronavirus as it was very much experienced with lives lost and changed forever. It is obvious why the singer’s decision to implore the crowd to chant such a line has caused scandalous remarks.
However, the comment may also be viewed as a harmless joke, typical of the artist’s pretentious personality. Matty Healy is not a stranger when it comes to the questioning of authority and this may have been yet another attempt to make his fanbase stop and think about the culture we live in today. I think it is not the comment which is dangerous but the willingness of an audience to chant the words back in unison which undoubtedly opposed their personal beliefs regarding the virus. It appears to be another metaphorical representation by the artist of the power of influence and the lack of questioning in society. He seeks to inspire individual fans by creating music that covers political issues in today’s world. His overt confidence in himself and his band’s music makes it almost impossible to deem the artist as harmful as he has remained honest throughout his career and has taken a stand on social and political views regardless of the consequence or disapproval of his privileged status.
Matty Healy’s honesty over his struggles alongside his thought-provoking lyricism leads us to believe that, while it proves problematic, he is willing to question whichever comes his way whether it pleases the crowds or not.