How The 1975’s Matty Healy became this generation’s bad boy of music

From rebel with a guitar to an iconic instigator, Matty Healy’s polarizing persona is dominating the music scene.

Our generation’s bad boy, the enigmatic and electrifying Matty Healy, stands as a striking embodiment of rebellion in the raucous realm of rock ‘n’ roll.

As stars and politicians reflect the pulse of the people, we find ourselves wondering: what does Matty Healy have to say about us?

Matty Healy 1975 Ice Spice
Joseph Okpako, WireImage

Fronting the English pop rock band The 1975, Healy has been no stranger to the spotlight since their self-titled debut album rocked our world back in 2013.

And now, in a sudden resurgence, he captivates the public consciousness, reminiscent of the audacious musical renegades who paved the way for him.

We adore Matt Healy for his irresistible magnetism, his raw talent, his provocative lyrics that ignite our souls, and his fearless presence on stage.

However, we can’t deny that his devil-may-care attitude sometimes tiptoes along the line of self-destruction, leaving us torn between admiration and concern for the boundaries he pushes.

Matty Healy on stage
Credit: Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns

With a history of eccentric on-stage antics, mischievous social media escapades, and controversial remarks that even landed him in hot water with Ice Spice, Healy seems poised to claim the mantle of this generation’s rock ‘n’ roll “bad boy.”

He follows in the footsteps of music’s most loathsome yet captivating figures, paying homage to the likes of the Gallaghers and Pete Doherty, but injecting his own fresh, self-aware perspective into the mix.

Let’s delve into Healy’s most contentious episodes and explore how they have contributed to his ascent as the music industry’s new enfant terrible.

Matty Healy performing live
Credit: Burak Cingi/Redferns for ABA

First, we must examine Healy’s masterful manipulation of social media. Every misunderstood figure needs an outlet to express just how misunderstood they truly are (just ask Kanye West).

For Healy, that outlet is social media, where he curates an image of recklessness, becoming, as NPR once noted, a “cannily self-made bad boy.”

His Twitter spats with fellow musicians, his deliberate attempts to court cancellation, and his desire to say offensive things online all form a manifesto of bad boy behavior.

Healy even described himself as a “big brother” to younger musicians, warning them about the dangers of getting canceled, which ultimately led him to swear ofgef social media altother in 2020.

His artful use of social media to craft his brand is par for the course in today’s music industry, with trailblazers like Lil Nas X and Doja Cat leading the way.

It’s a line Healy has often teetered with finesse. Last year, the singer took to Instagram for a glorious smack-down of triple j, calling out the radio station for only “licking [The 1975’s] arse” after it “finally realised we’re mint.”

As NME aptly puts it, Healy has a “sensei-like mastery of…shitposting” range from hilarious to downright offensive.

Matty Healy triple j tweet

But it’s not just on social media where Healy unleashes his wild side. The 1975’s tours are where he solidifies his dirtbag aesthetic in the public imagination.

Their most recent tour, “Being Funny In A Foreign Language,” garnered attention akin to Rupert Murdoch’s headlines, thanks in large part to Healy’s increasingly bizarre on-stage antics.

From passionately embracing and kissing a male fan in Manchester, challenging societal norms and sparking debates about freedom of expression, to asking for consent and proof of age before passionately  kissing an audience member, Healy keeps the audience on their toes.

At a show in Brighton, he even indulged in prolonged and somewhat creepy thumb-sucking session.

And who can forget his eye-popping exploits at Madison Square Garden, where he was spotted devouring what seemed to be raw meat and engaging in some self-indulgent fondling while perched on a couch?

His bandmates even cut him off right before he could utter something controversial, showcasing their self-awareness of his penchant for stirring the pot.

Now, let’s talk about Healy’s rumored romance with none other than Taylor Swift. Every dirtbag needs their queen, and throughout pop cultural history, music’s so-called bad boys have paired off with girlfriends who enhance their image.

Matty Healy Taylor Swift pictured together
Credit: Robert Kamau/GC Images

Just as Kanye West became “Kimye” during his relationship with Kim Kardashian, and Tommy Lee became synonymous with Pamela Anderson and their infamous sex tape, Healy’s alleged connection with Swift provides a Kurt Cobain-Courtney Love moment.

But the most recent controversy that catapulted Healy into the spotlight revolves around his interactions with Ice Spice.

During a recent podcast appearance, Healy made racial jokes about the British rapper, referring to her as an “Inuit Spice Girl” and a “chubby Chinese lady.”

These remarks drew criticism and raised questions about the boundaries of his bad boy image, leaning toward disreputability.

However, true to his dynamic nature, Healy quickly addressed the issue. At a concert in New Zealand, he directly apologized to Ice Spice, expressing remorse for any offense caused, telling crowds he’s “sorry if [he] offended” the rapper.

“Ice Spice, I’m sorry,” he added. “I don’t want Ice Spice to think I’m a dick. I love you, Ice Spice. I’m so sorry.” Which shows a willingness to learn and grow from his mistakes.

As we venture into the future, the path that Healy will choose remains uncertain. Will he continue to embrace the role of the music industry’s new bad boy, pushing boundaries and challenging norms?

Or will he carve out a different path, surprising us with unexpected twists and turns? The ever-evolving landscape of music and fame will ultimately determine the course of his story.


i don’t think it’s a racist thing to say #the1975 #leeds #the1975live #the1975tour

♬ It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You) – The 1975

But one thing is for sure: Matty Healy has become a captivating figure in our generation. He embodies the spirit of rebellion, the allure of unpredictability, and the undying desire to push the envelope.

Love him or hate him, he has become an emblematic figure who reflects the complexities and contradictions of our time.