“Somebody Else” is the tenth track off indie-rock / synthpop British band The 1975’s 2016 album: “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it”. The band consists of four members: Matthew Healy (lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist), Adam Hann (lead guitarist), Ross MacDonald (bassist) and George Daniel (drummer). The band are from Manchester, but their origins trace back to Wilmslow High School in Cheshire where they played together in their teen years in 2002.
Written by all the band members, “Somebody Else” is simultaneously a heart-breaking love ballad as well as a declaration against needing another individual romantically. On Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 radio show, Healy told him: “It’s something that talks about the guilty feelings that you don’t really like thinking about.” The track explores the narrative of an individual who tries to understand their contradictory feelings towards an ex who is now with someone new. The first verse deals with Healy coming to terms and acceptance with the fact that his ex has found a new lover. The chorus, which consist of lines such as “I don’t want your body / But I hate to think about you with somebody else / Our love has gone cold / You’re intertwining your soul with someday else” explains how Healy doesn’t feel sexual desire towards the past lover, but still finds it hard to understand. “I’m looking through you / While you’re through your phone / And then leaving with someone else”. These lyrics tell the listeners that Healy and his lover are probably still in the same social scene, even after their break up, so Healy has to watch his ex-lover and their new lover leave together. In the second verse, Healy tells his lover that he knows this won’t be the last time he’ll see them, and that he knows that his ex told him that they would find a new partner – but Healy is still in denial and believes that his ex doesn’t “have it in them” and that they will constantly go round in A vicious circle of on and off, but he should just “be getting’ over it”. The bridge of the song is Healy writing off love, asking the listeners if they “got someone they love” or “someone they need”, and if they do: “f*ck that, get money”. He also emphasises that things will never return back to what they were with his ex, as he can never give them his soul, as “we’re never alone”.
The music video was directed by Tim Mattia and was released on the 7th July 2016. The video opens with a sequence similar to David Lynch’s short film “Rabbits”. A lot of fans theorise that the first 3 minutes of the music video match up with another 1975 track from the same album: “UGH!”. The rest of the music video features lead singer Matthew Healy wondering around karaoke bars, strips clubs and car parks, trying to numb his heartbreak through drinking and dancing. He gets beat up by a group of men and ends up having intercourse with a stripper in his car – but looks up and it’s himself, and he’s been hallucinating the entire time, and everyone around him is just copies of himself. The concept for the film comes from a story Healy had previously written. The music video has over 40 million views and 539 thousand likes.
In 2016, NME magazine named it the “second best song” of the year, and Pitchfork magazine listed it at #74 of the “best songs of 2016”.