Review Summary: The Neighbourhood suck anyway, they make me wanna die
How did The Neighbourhood get so popular?
This is a serious question that I just brought to the table, so bear with me for a few minutes. Out of all the post-Gotye bands to try and break the mainstream barrier, why did The Neighbourhood flirt with success? Their song "Sweater Weather" was #1 for eleven weeks
, goddamnit, and meanwhile there are so many other bands out there that wished they had this kind of success. Ever hear Foals or Portugal. The Man on the radio lately? The Neighbourhood aren't a horrible band, per se, but they're bland and really don't bring anything new to the table.
The thing is, "Sweater Weather" is a perfect example of The Neighbourhood's general sound. Put in a thumping hip-hop R&B beat, androgynous vocals, add in some mild synths, and you have I Love You.
. The main problem with the band's sound is that it's incredibly vapid, and Jesse Rutherford's vocals are extremely sterile and bland. All I'm looking for is some energy and passion, but sadly, they're incredibly lacking. The instrumentation is also pretty dull, too, not offering much in terms of memorability or in adding to the song. The only memorable song on I Love You.
is the album's second single, "Afraid", and that's because its hip-hop beats perfectly complement Rutherford's decent vocal performance. Its chorus of "When I wake up, I'm afraid somebody else might take my place" could be a sly reference to staying relevant in the music industry, and it is something The Neighbourhood have to worry about. I wouldn't be surprised if I never heard of these guys again, and that's because they got nothing going for them. Songs like the opener "Now" channel the band's inner Portishead, but in the end, the song is too long for its own good and gets pretty stale towards the end. They're just another below average run-of-the-mill indie hipster band with nothing special about them. They have a lot of things to work on if they want to become a memorable group.
And one of them is their lyrical content.
I'm surprised that Jesse Rutherford is older than fifteen, because some of these lyrics sound like they were ripped straight out of some angsty depressed high school kid. The aforementioned "Afraid" contains the elementary school taunts of "You’re too mean, I don’t like you, *** you anyway, you make me wanna scream" and “You suck anyway, you make me wanna die" that could have written by a ten-year old. Meanwhile, the four-minute snoozer "W.D.Y.W.F.M" (which, given the inanity of some of these lyrics, I thought stood for "Why Do You Wanna *** Me") is full of such gems like "I'm ***ed in the head, and my mind is turning into a whore". Rutherford is surprisingly in his mid-20s, but his awful lyrics definitely suggest that mentally he's still living his teenage years.
But maybe teenage hipsters are the exact group of people that The Neighbourhood want to appeal to. They certainly sound like that's what they want, combining the two things that hipsters love most: indie music and hip-hop beats. The only problem is, putting indie and hip-hop together can only get them that far; most of their songs are way too vapid and free of substance to stay memorable. "Sweater Weather" may have propelled them to the top of every Pitchfork-reading snob's list, and it's only a matter of time before they fizzle out, a day that can't come soon enough.