(Don't) "Be Yourself"

by Halle Haack | Class of 2021 | Feb, 28th, 2018

   If you’re looking for streets to cruise this weekend, I suggest you take an alternative route down this Neighbourhood.

   Contrary to its British spelling, The Neighbourhood is an American band from California formed in 2011. This five-member band has covered a multitude of musical approaches that range from albums to mixtapes that have distinctive traces of indie, pop, and rock.

   Four years from the sensation anthem, “Sweater Weather,” and two years after this band’s last album, Wiped Out, comes a five-song EP: Hard; released on Sept. 21. They resurfaced with a familiar grunge-rock sound with varied alterations.

   The first song in Hard is a mellow tune that lasts around four minutes. It assimilated more subtle electronic undertones and an enhanced, instrumental background. At the same time, it kept true to the Neighbourhood’s other styles of hazy melodies and chilling vocals, all of which carry on throughout the remainder of the EP. The partial album is only an approximate twenty-minute listen.

Each track contains a similarly structured ideology that addresses the musical struggle against society. This is something frontman, Jesse Rutherford, metaphorically illustrates throughout their select songs, breeding memorable lyrics such as: “they’ve got control of you, soldier” and “I thought I knew you, but I never knew you would turn us into animals.” Phrases like these only had a passionate listener like myself grinning from ear to ear.

On the other hand, this Neighbourhood does have a tendency to have a drastically repetitive scenery including unchanging styled lyrics and dragged beats. Even though the lyrics do have society scratching its collective chin, it’s not an unfamiliar approach in our age of teen angst. The sound in and of itself was somber; it proved hard to remain intrigued.

After a few wrong turns, I still found a commendable destination. My journey may have started off as hard as The Neighbourhood’s EP and yes, it did take patience to fully embrace the experience, but in the end, it was worth it.