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The album is made up of more than just glittering good vibes. “About You,” a duet with Hann’s wife Carly Holt, is a moody highlight where Healy channels Morrissey’s elegant woe over a swelling instrumental that recalls U2’s “With or Without You.” “Human Too,” an R&B bloodletting in which Healy lays his frailties bare, features one of his most affecting vocal performances to date. On opener “The 1975,” the singer takes himself to task for “making an aesthetic out of not doing well and mining all the bits of you you think you can sell” atop dueling pianos that heavily recall LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends.” He pulls out his phone and sings a lyric that was ultimately cut from the track because it was too self-referential, even for him: “You owe James Murphy 20 percent of this song, your career, and the whole idea/Of living in the city with a tingle of fear.”

Hi, everyone. I need native speakers help. I’m trying to understand what the sentence in bold means. Does it mean that in the lyrics of the opener song, the singer criticizes himself for making the mood of the song out of being depressed and mining all the things of himself that he thinks can make his listeners feel sorry for him?

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Yes, I think you almost got it right. The singer's self-criticism here probably has to do with making money off of his own pain or his own soul. The idea of "mining" being that he is extracting his finite character, or creativity, or personhood, and selling it for cash. In the art and music industries this is often called "selling out." I.e. becoming a tool of the corporate media companies, abandoning one's original "pure" ideals in favor of cynically producing false emotion for cash.

It's a complex and ironically self-referential idea, but one that is common in music. See the lyrics of "Have a Cigar" by Pink Floyd, or "Sell Out" by Reel Big Fish for similar ideas.

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  • That makes much more sense now. Thanks so much for the explanation.
    – whitewater
    Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 14:20

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