The Neighbourhood's latest album does not disappoint
THURS. | 10-22-20 | ENTERTAINMENT
Attention lo-fi, 80s, and indie fans, The Neighbourhood’s new album is something that is worth listening to.
Who is The Neighbourhood? You may recognize them for their debut hit song “Sweater Weather” and TikTok favorites, “Daddy Issues” and “Wires.” The Neighbourhood formed in 2011 in Newbury Park, California and released their first song, “Sweater Weather” in 2012. Not long after, they released their first album, I Love You which also had a few hits on it, such as “Afraid” and others that have a very similar edgy vibe.
The Neighbourhood is very well-known for their sad electronic sound that consists of the use of keyboards, drums, and guitars, but recently, they have decided to change up their style to try and have a happier tone. This is what their newest and fourth studio album, Chip Chrome & the Mono-tones
This 11-track piece of beauty is enough to help you experience a soft mellow-vibe to help calm yourself from any troubles you may be going through. Lead singer Jesse Rutherford said that the band used major chord progressions to help give each song a cheerful sound while also adding some emotional lyrics. The music isn’t the only thing that is unique about the album—the storyline is too.
Rutherford talked about how writing music had become difficult for him, and the only way the album would become possible was if he embraced himself as the character, Chip Chrome, and the rest of the band was The Mono-tones. Why such funny names? Rutherford explained that “the Mono-tones” were what he called the voices in his head. In an interview with Variance magazine’s Dustin Heidt, he says that sometimes the voices haunt him at night, but they have good taste, so he listens to them.
Chip Chrome was a character that was inspired by music legend David Bowie’s character Ziggy Stardust. On the cover of the album, we see what Chip Chrome looks like. He has pale, white skin and white hair, and he carries a white guitar. The cover reminds me of Mac Demarco if he was an 80s singer. It is something that can grab your attention and make you want to listen to what songs they have.
It was really difficult trying to pick favorites from this album. Each song gives us a different tone, and the music videos for some are enough to make you sit back in awe.
As an opener, we are greeted with the song, “Chip Chrome”. This song is an instrumental piece that is only 28 seconds long. It reminds me of Alice in Wonderland when she falls down the rabbit hole. In the background, you can hear twinkles that begin to get louder as the music progresses. As we get closer to the end, the music fades out again, and all we are left with is the twinkles before shifting into the next song, “Pretty Boy”.
“Pretty Boy” is definitely a favorite of mine. It is something you would listen to if you were studying, doing homework, or simply sitting back and relaxing. I have always fancied slow songs at the start of albums because it really prepares me for what I’m going to listen to rather than beginning with a hardcore upbeat song. We hear a slow lo-fi track that soon introduces Rutherford's soothing voice singing about the mistakes Chip has made in love, but how his partner is lucky to have someone like Chip.
Another favorite song of mine was the fourth track, “Devil’s Advocate.” This is probably my favorite song from the album. It reminds me of driving at night under city lights. In the beginning, we are met with a groovy drumbeat, again, followed by Rutherford’s voice. This song makes me envision if “Sunflower” by Swae Lee and Post Malone was actually by the Weeknd. Lyrically, Rutherford makes a lot of 90s pop culture references, including Nike and NSYNC.
Next up, we have “Cherry Flavoured”. As the sixth track, this song gives me an 80s Harry Styles vibe. The music production reminds me of “Don’t You” by Simple Minds in the sense that it uses the same keyboard tones as Mick MacNeil. The lyrics are pretty suggestive, but overall it means that Chip loves his partner, and he wants to show them how much he loves them.
At the end we have our eleventh track, “Middle of Somewhere.” I feel that this is a great ending and transition from the previous song, “Tobacco Sunburst.” This song features the most emotion from Rutherford’s voice while still keeping up the major note progression. His vocals are enough to make your spine shiver and your eyes tear up as he speaks about Chip being uneasy with his partner because he suspects that they’re cheating on him, and he says that they are, as summarized from the song, in the middle of somewhere doing something with someone.
This album was not something you would expect to come from the Neighbourhood. It is something new, but they still managed to pull it off just like their other albums. To be honest, this is my favorite Neighbourhood album so far. I liked the others, but this one had the most interesting storyline and the grooviest songs. I would recommend it to any indie rock, 80s rock, or lo-fi-loving person. If you are a fan of music that is similar to Harry Styles, Simple Minds, or the Weeknd, you might enjoy a few songs on the album.
Graphic by Liv Stewart