The Neighbourhood standing backstage
You may have listened to "Sweater Weather," but The Neighbourhood has so much more to offer. (Image via Instagram/@nbhd)

The Neighbourhood Is an Underrated Band With a One-of-a-Kind Sound

The band can’t be defined by a single genre, which is just one of the qualities that makes them so unique.

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The Neighbourhood standing backstage

The band can’t be defined by a single genre, which is just one of the qualities that makes them so unique.

The Neighbourhood is a band with a sound and style that’s difficult to categorize. They’re rock, but they’re also alternative and inspired by EDM and R&B. There’s no group like The Neighbourhood, to say the least. So, if you’ve only heard their biggest hit, “Sweater Weather,” you’re missing out on a world of sounds that are honestly the ideal listen for a rainy day. With a generally moody, emo tone that’s supported by existential and profound lyrics, The Neighbourhood will send listeners into the deepest parts of music and themselves.

A Rundown of The Neighbourhood

So, who are the people that make up The Neighbourhood? The lead singer and face of the band is Jesse Rutherford. He has a striking, edgy demeanor that perfectly represents the essence of The Neighbourhood. Rutherford’s style shines especially in the band’s most recent album, “Chip Chrome & the Mono-Tones.”

Alongside Rutherford, the band is also made up of guitarists Jeremey Freedman and Zach Abels, bassist Mikey Margott and drummer Brandon Alexander Fried. Altogether, The Neighbourhood is composed of five guys from California who have been pushing the boundaries of music for about 10 years.

The group’s five greatest hits on Spotify are “Sweater Weather,” “Daddy Issues,” “Afraid,” “Stargazing” and “The Beach.” Anyone who has heard of The Neighbourhood has almost certainly heard of “Sweater Weather.” With over one billion listens on Spotify, despite being one of their oldest songs, it’s the band’s greatest hit by far. While “Sweater Weather” — which is from the group’s debut album, “I Love You.” — is a classic, The Neighbourhood still has so much more to offer.

The Albums and Songs That Make The Neighbourhood a Remarkable Band

Some personal suggestions for taste-testing The Neighbourhood include “Everybody’s Watching Me (Uh Oh),” “W.D.Y.W.F.M?” and “Afraid,” each of which is from “I Love You.” Overall, “I Love You.” is a beautiful, gloomy album that should be listened to all the way through. That being said, the songs listed are some of the highlights — particularly “Afraid,” a personal favorite of mine. Alongside rhythmic, dark-rock music, Rutherford sings about the fear of abandonment and irrelevancy, which is something many people can relate to.

Come 2014 and The Neighbourhood has released their first mixtape with an eye-catching name, “#000000 & #FFFFFF.” Try saying that album name aloud — it’s a doozy. Even something like this completely alien mixtape title reveals the distinct, not-giving-a-hoot mentality of The Neighbourhood. They’re not afraid to stand out and be themselves.

“#000000 & #FFFFFF” is where The Neighbourhood’s R&B inspirations and vibes really shine through. Alongside an impressive list of feature guests like G-Eazy and French Montana, The Neighbourhood proves their ability to mesh their indie-rock style with R&B. For example, alongside their usual emo, dark-rock sounds, Rutherford dives into rapping, and the combination works beautifully. Some shining songs include “Lurk,”“#icanteven” and “1 of those Weaks.”

In 2015, The Neighbourhood dropped their third album, “Wiped Out!” This collection contains some of The Neighbourhood’s most legendary and experimental music yet. The six-year-old album brings some breathtaking songs like “Daddy Issues,” “R.I.P. 2 My Youth” and “Wiped Out!” With these songs, The Neighbourhood’s lyrics reach a new level of quality. While each song has always featured beautiful, meticulously crafted lyrics that speak on love, lust, existential crises and the superficiality of society, the songs on “Wiped Out!” evoke both heartbreak and catharsis.

Take “Daddy Issues” for starters: It’s one of the most slow-moving, somber songs The Neighbourhood has created, yet it’s also one of the most soothing. Rutherford sings about how everyone needs to cry out their hardships and traumas.

Such lyrics combined with the melancholic melody create that visceral mesh of catharsis and heartbreak that leaves listeners hungry for more; no other band can do this like The Neighbourhood. Alongside “Daddy Issues,” “R.I.P. 2 My Youth” is a particularly relatable listen for young adults who are battling the existential struggle of identity and transitioning from childhood into adulthood.

“Wiped Out” is one of the most experimental songs The Neighbourhood has crafted, as well as one of the most energetic and upbeat. In fact, the long song transitions from an upbeat beginning into a latter half that becomes pure, cathartic chaos. Altogether, the song manages to really capture the feeling of literally or figuratively wiping out — that transition from slowly losing control that rapidly devolves into complete mayhem. It’s another one-of-a-kind talent The Neighbourhood has: the ability to recreate specific bodily sensations through their music. When a person listens to “Wiped Out!” they truly feel like they’re wiping out before they even realize it.

In 2018, The Neighbourhood released their fourth album, “Hard To Imagine The Neighbourhood Ever Changing.” The band’s song and album titles never disappoint and are part of the experience that is listening to The Neighbourhood. For the past four years, as an avid The Neighbourhood fan, I’ve been wondering if this album title is sarcastic or not. On the one hand, certain aspects of The Neighbourhood’s style — such as their generally gloomy, existential lyrics — haven’t changed. On the other hand, their style has consistently evolved in subtle ways, such as experimenting more with R&B and new, chaotic sounds.

In “Hard To Imagine The Neighbourhood Ever Changing,” R&B inspirations shine through, just like in their 2014 mixtape. Guest rappers on the album include Denzel Curry and Nipsey Hussle, who help bring a fresh element to The Neighbourhood songs like “Kill Us All” and “Livin’ In A Dream.”

Other highlights of the album include “Sadderdaze,” “Scary Love” and “Stuck With Me.” “Scary Love” is one of The Neighbourhood’s more well-known songs, as well as one of their most energetic; with a powerful, pulsing beat that showcases some of The Neighbourhood’s EDM inspirations, “Scary Love” is a catchy listen you shouldn’t miss. “Sadderdaze” is one of the melancholy heartbreak songs that The Neighbourhood has mastered.

“Stuck With Me,” however, is the real gem here. It’s one of my most cherished The Neighbourhood songs and one of the most underrated. With a mind-blowing blend of solemn undertones and a dominating, upbeat melody, “Stuck With Me” is heaven for the ears. This is especially true when listeners pay close attention to the poetic lyrics that speak candidly about how in the grand scheme of the universe and the insignificance of each being, the things most worth cherishing and giving time toward are our loved ones. The main chorus doesn’t come until later in the song, something that shows off The Neighbourhood’s experimental approach. And the wait is an ingenious strategy: Listeners are held in heavy anticipation, feeling the main chorus approaching, and when it does, it’s bliss.

The Neighbourhood’s Newest Works

What’s in the cards for The Neighbourhood today? You now know — in words, at least — The Neighbourhood’s most iconic songs and what makes them one-of-a-kind. What has the past year looked like for the band, and what awaits in their future?

In 2020, The Neighbourhood launched the aforementioned album, “Chip Chrome & the Mono-Tones.” Since its release, the album has garnered popularity and a larger fan base for The Neighbourhood. This is because “Chip Chrome & the Mono-Tones” pushes The Neighbourhood’s look and style to new, revolutionary heights. Just looking at the album cover can reveal this, as Rutherford has transformed into the alter ego of Chip Chrome, a man whose skin and hair is spray-painted platinum and who wears futuristic makeup and silver grills.

The album jumps back and forth between soothing, slower songs to more energetic listens. The overall sound of “Chip Chrome & the Mono-Tones” is more lighthearted than past works, which is a monumental shift that may be contributing to The Neighbourhood’s increasing popularity. Recommended songs include “Devil’s Advocate,” “Tobacco Sunburst,” “Stargazing” and “The Shining.” “Tobacco Sunburst” and “Devil’s Advocate” are two of the most underrated songs in the band’s entire history; the former is a gorgeously melancholic song and has the most somber sounds of the whole album. It has a soothing, soft guitar in the background, and Rutherford’s singing sounds like a lullaby.

“Devil’s Advocate” is equally underrated, but it’s the sonic antithesis of “Tobacco Sunburst.” In fact, with wild lyrics and a fast-paced sound, “Devil’s Advocate” is one of The Neighbourhood’s most spunky songs. Overall, “Chip Chrome & the Mono-Tones” meshes the extreme ends of the music spectrum together and makes it work.

Now, a year later, The Neighbourhood is still hard at work. Just this year they’ve released a new single titled “Fallen Star.” It’s another highly recommended, addicting listen. Judging by the song’s cover — an image of Chip Chrome falling through space — it’s reasonable to guess that The Neighbourhood’s future will be busy, bright and centered around exploring the new personas of Chip Chrome and the Mono-Tones. As The Neighbourhood continues to push the boundaries and conventions of music in revolutionary, awe-inspiring ways, it’s safe to say that the band is here to stay.

Writer Profile

Sonia Noorbakhsh

UC Berkeley
English

Hello! My name is Sonia. I have always loved anything pertaining to English. In my free time I enjoy traveling, reading and drinking plenty of coffee.

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