The California based alternative band has returned with a third album.
Now… after the confused emotions that Wiped Out! has given, I would have imagined something to redeem themselves with, I was really hoping for this album to be good. But unfortunately, it is not.
Okay, there is some good in it, but it is overshadowed by the bad.
For starters, the opening song, Flowers, is one of the most terrible songs I’ve ever heard. I am really trying not to be harsh, but the expectations were high and the disappointment is just too heavy. The backtrack is poor and slowly fading away, and the lyrics are weak and pointless.
Nowadays it’s common conception that if someone puts together 4 or 5 “edgy” words or metaphors then they have written the tune of the century, but well, flash news: they did not.
I think this whole album was a provocation and a challenge for The Nbhd’s fans, and it is evident how the potential is still there in tracks such as Nervous, or Sadderdaze, heck even in You Get Me So High, but what about the rest?
The Neighbourhood proved more than once that they are great when they want to be, take for instance the first LP, I Love You., I think that was a great album, well structured, and very specifically designed; then their slow decay began with Wiped Out!, even if not very evidently; and they reached the bottom with the self titled.
The singer Jesse Rutherford‘s ego has become a joke even for their music itself. I did a review of his solo album &, and it was mostly positive, but listening to this evolution of his hip-hop/trap vibe, I have to change my mind. It seems like The Nbhd lost their path and are struggling to find it again. Their music is confused and random, I would not be able to pinpoint a specific genre, because there isn’t one.
This album sounds like a giant and everlasting freestyle, made up by basic phrases and concepts, losing song after song the idea of unity that a band should carry, and that I feel The Neighbourhood has left behind.
I might be totally wrong in my judgement, and forgive me if I am, but I feel like this record was forced and rushed, even if they took 3 full years of hiatus to put it out. I think they ran out of ideas. But some other people might just interprete it as a “change of style.”
Jesse Rutherford said, regarding being an independent band, in an interview for Life+Times: “[…] bands aren’t cool nowadays. Nobody’s going the extra mile to do all this shit.”
The lyrics reflect the frontman’s personality at its best, but maybe they give a picture that is too vivid for its own good. In Sadderdaze we find a pre-chorus that is very picturesque, “Now the sun is closer than it was before / anyone who’s anyone can feel it”; but then a very low level is reached during what I think is one of the least appealing songs on the album, Revenge, in which we hear a mix of “baby”s, “mh”s, and short and fractured sentences that look like they have been written by a 16 year old frustrated boy (sorry not sorry): “What a tool with your cool leather jacket, / I got news for you: everybody has it.”
Of course, modern artists’ influences are palpable, such as Post Malone, Blackbear, Francis and The Lights; but this album lets out a massive 70s and 80s vibe, even reminiscing The Who or the first works by Duran Duran, but the Californian band took just their shadow and contorted it until it got a totally different shape. A shape that I can’t really define, constellated by synths and beats that are sometimes too enhanced by echoes and autotune; and some other times too faded in the air.
The closing track, Stuck With Me, has this constant drumming sound and this electronic effects, followed by a very poppy chorus where Jesse’s voice is accompanied by a trio of second voices, underlining the simplicity and the banality of the track.
I honestly don’t know what to think. The EP that came right before this album, Hard – EP, was a total disappointment, but then tracks like 24/7, or Scary Love, gave me a little bit of hope. But apparently I talked too fast.
I was really hoping for a better evolution of Mr. Rutherford’s ego, but it just turned into something bigger than him. It kind of covers the idea of a band, where the individuality disappears and it becomes a sort of Jesse Rutherford & Co. kind of thing.
Are The Neighbourhood fading away?
Nevertheless, they have proven more than once that they can be a great alternative band, maybe it is just not the right time.
I will always be waiting for an I Love You. Pt. 2.
Always spread love xx