Jesse Rutherford, lead singer for The Neighbourhood, admitted to Billboard in 2014, “I just think that bands right now have no f****** idea what’s going on. Everybody’s so safe right now, even us. I think we could be doing a better job.”
On Oct. 30, The Neighbourhood released their sophomore album, “Wiped Out!”
The album opener, “A Moment of Silence,” is a 30-second track that features no sounds, words, or instruments. This perhaps artistic notion to make the listener prepare for the album is somewhat misleading. While the album has its triumphant moments, there are also drowsy bits that weigh “Wiped Out!” down from its possible potential.
A sandy shore-line is the backdrop and common theme for inspiration on the fittingly-named “Wiped Out!” While “The Beach” is a tad too sleepy, a sticky sexiness radiates from the groovy, dark song “Greetings from California.” The Neighbourhood finds dissonance here that works well with their sound and is one of the highest points on the record.
The lead single, “R.I.P. 2 My Youth” comes in late as a standout. To add energy, it would have found a better home further up in the song set. The Neighbourhood’s sometimes cocky, tongue-in-cheek lyrical quips shine as a strong suit. Rutherford unapologetically raps, “Wrap me up in Chanel in my coffin,” as he mourns his hypothetical death. A simple beat and steady tambourine make for a more memorable experience than most on the record. It exhibits a likeness to the sound from the more exciting “#000000 & #ffffff” (hex codes for black and white), their 2014 mixtape. DJ Drama and Don Cannon host the mixtape, and YG and French Montana offer guest verses. It proves the band is better suited towards a hip-hop/rock and roll hybrid that is unfortunately only toyed with on “Wiped Out!”
Brazen forms of imagery are hidden gems on the record. Possibly the best one-liner is found in “Ferrari,” which coins a brilliant metaphor for a relationship filled with problems and different viewpoints: “I want a new yellow Ferrari from the 90s in the driveway / But I know that you wouldn’t like that.”
A hot topic on “Wiped Out!” is heartbreak. The fear of falling in love rings loudly, while an obvious longing for it to happen again surfaces on the underside. On “Cry Baby,” Rutherford sings, “I know I’ll fall in love with you, baby / And that’s not what I wanna do.” With haunting “oohs” that build up the melancholy tone, “Baby Come Home 2 / Valentines” takes the role of the most powerful track, a well-written tale of first love. Heavy bass interrupts the choruses from the verses and hanging lines further the sense of suffering. Relentless attempts to embrace independence are scattered throughout.
“Wiped Out!” is clearly an album written while gazing at the Pacific. However, it plays like the soundtrack for a breezy fall in Montauk. The airy sound is sophisticated and stays unsettlingly detached. The heights of the record lie beneath its sandy surface, the home of a passion stemmed from being scorned — which is often the best kind.