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The Neighbourhood is Back With “Hard – EP”

Isabella Todini, Reporter

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Alternative rock band The Neighborhood keeps listeners impressed with each track they release, from mellow rock number “Sweater Weather”, the hit song from album “I Love You” to electronic “Cry Baby” from the group’s second album, “Wiped Out!”. After more than two years of silence, on September 22, the group released “Hard – EP” – a 5-track album.

The album opens with “Roll Call”. The song has a highly produced, electronic sound, perhaps foreshadowing the direction the group is thinking of going in. Vocalist Jesse Rutherford sings about not wanting to be controlled and not wanting to conform to the roles forced upon him by society. The song is a strong opening, giving the album a defined tone of rebellion and a renewed sense of their energy from previous albums.

Overall, the album appears to be a development of the group’s sense of self; they are learning about their own values and communicating with their audience the messages they deem important. “I wanna be high all the time” sings Rutherford in “You Got Me So High”, as he invites someone else, perhaps the listener, to join him and escape – escape from all the burdens the fame entails, from pressure, from society, even from life.

In this new album, The Neighbourhood skillfully plays with different styles and concepts. The song “Noise” sounds like a reimagining of a early 2000s rock song, revealing the group’s feelings towards politics and current events as they begin the song with “Sick of being innocent, sick of being ignorant too”. In contrast, the song “24/7”, particularly its title, hints at the constant availability provided to the millennial generation by smartphones and social media that allow us to be constantly in contact with each other.

The EP closes with “Sadderdaze”, a song crafted around the play on words of “saturdays” and “sadder daze”. The only song with no electronic sounding production, the track is backed by drums and a guitar, allowing the listener to wallow alongside the singer with this melancholic number. The play of words in the chorus also offers different points of view into the group’s lives; with the use of “Saturdays” the narrator remembers the weekends he once spent without obligations; free time that no longer belongs to him. With “sadder daze”, Rutherford reminds us of “You Got Me So High”, and the group’s desire to escape from reality, wishing they could free themselves of the “sadder daze” they find themselves trapped in, as a result of their fame.

A well-written thought-provoking song never fails to capture the attention of the listeners, and this album certainly achieves that. Contrasting introspective development and external anger, the album allows the group to break the fourth wall and reveal to the listeners the way they are really feeling.

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The Neighbourhood is Back With “Hard – EP”