Meaning of “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not with You)” by The 1975

“It’s Not Living (If It’s Not with You)” is a song performed by the English rock band The 1975. The lyrics of this The 1975 song see the narrator finding it very difficult to stop thinking about someone/something special in his life. In the song’s chorus, he shows his intense love for the object of his desire with the following highly profound lyrics:

“It’s not living if it’s not with you”

To him, life is no life if he can’t be in the company of the object of his interest. Such is the intense love and desire he has

On the face value, this song might seem like an innocent and heartwarming love song about a guy who can’t stop thinking about the love of his life. But in actual fact, the central theme of this song is far away from that. It centers on a theme rife with darkness. According to Matty Healy (lead vocalist of The 1975), the song addresses his severe battle with drug addiction. He disclosed this to Billboard magazine a few weeks before the song was officially released. In the interview, he said this song is his truth.

In a 2018 interview Healy had with The New York Times, he revealed that he had been battling addiction to heroin as well as benzodiazepines for four years. According to him, he was compelled to seek treatment after things started becoming really scary.

It is worth noting that Healy checked into a rehab center in Barbados in the latter part of 2017. He spent more than a month at the center. As of the date of the publication of this article (October 19, 2018), Healy was clean. Hopefully he will remain clean for a very long time to come.


Facts about “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not with You)”

  • The song was written by The 1975 (Matthew Healy, Adam Hann, George Daniel and Ross MacDonald).
  • Two members of The 1975, Healy and Daniel, produced the song.
  • “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)” was formally released on October 18, 2018. It was premiered on BBC Radio 1.
  • This tune is one of the official singles from The 1975’s third studio album. That album is interestingly titled A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships. The popular single “Sincerity Is Scary” can also be found on that album.

Are there any specific lyrics in the song that reference Matthew Healy’s addiction problem?

Yes. A lot of lyrics from the song make reference to this. Below are the lyrics that particularly make reference to Healy’s addiction:

“Collapse my veins wearing beautiful shoes
It’s not living if it’s not with you”

The lines above can be found in the song’s chorus.

“I can’t stop sweating or control my feet”

The song’s bridge contains the line above. It is important to note that profuse sweating and shakiness are some of the most common addiction withdrawal symptoms.

Is this the first time Healy is talking about his addiction struggle in a song?

Yes. This is the band’s first released song to directly discuss this serious issue. That said, Healy disclosed to The New York Times that the album contained references to his addiction. Based on this, it is possible that this isn’t the only song on the band’s 2018 album (A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships) to deal with this issue.

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1 Response

  1. October 19, 2018

    […] the band’s third studio album titled A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships. The single “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not with You)” also appears on that […]

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