By Sara Bastian
Featured Image By Chad Elder
In December of 2012, The Neighbourhood vamped up the underground indie scene with its release of the powerful and widely received “Sweater Weather,” gaining recognition relatively quickly after the inception of the band. The following year, The Neighbourhood released its first album, I Love You. and fed the craze of “Sweater Weather” fans worldwide with instant hits like “Afraid” and “Female Robbery.“ The success of their debut album left fans craving more of this up-and-coming band, whose lyrics and alternative tone seemed to epitomize the chill, laid-back California lifestyle. Their second album Wiped Out! was released on October 30, 2015, and its buildup and anticipation by listeners had been two years in the making. Transitioning from its distinctive alternative flavor to more of an experimental convergence of R&B, pop vibe, this album differentiates itself from the premiere album I Love You. in its mash-up sound and more soul-focused meaning behind the lyrics.
Wiped Out! opens with a track entitled “A Moment of Silence” that is entirely dedicated to thirty seconds of silence. Although an allegorical postulation was likely intended and can be taken in consideration, this metaphorical attempt at reflection is extremely transparent and feels forced (negating its figurative effects). The producers’ attempt to market this swindle as costing listeners $1.29 on iTunes is mildly comical as is the notion that we want this maneuver. We intentionally searched through our music to play this album and want to stop silence by immediately launching into the music rather than perpetuating the lack of music.
Initiating new, post-alternative rock sounds in tracks like “Greetings from Califournia” and “Daddy Issues” through funky, mod instruments such as the electronic organ, The Neighbourhood has shown growth and possible divergence since its debut. The most widely appealing and intriguing songs are arguably (and depending on musical preference) “Single” and “R.I.P. 2 My Youth,” which was pre-released and heavily marketed for the new album. “Single” contends to be one of the most well-liked track of this album as it illustrates the universal, cliché theme of someone desired but out of reach, whereas “R.I.P. 2 My Youth” also contends for popularity through its irresistible, catchy tune of the rap, R&B, alternative mash-up, somewhat reminiscent of The Weeknd’s sound.
The album accomplishes a chill, sometimes moody vibe, but fails to offer any kind of variation that is typically necessary to captivate the audience and keep listeners interested, which was accomplished in its I Love You. through the hit “Sweater Weather.” Perhaps my ambivalence lies in my overly high, unmet expectations of a new track to be able to compete with the crowd pleasing “Sweater Weather, “as it continues to be unmatched.