Wiped Out! is a knockout

The Neighbourhood's highly anticipated album Wiped Out!

photo via wikimedia.org under Creative Commons license

The Neighbourhood’s highly anticipated album Wiped Out!

Christine Ohanyan, Staff Writer

Every Californian needs an anthem. The LA-based band The Neighbourhood produces a perfect combination of beachy vibes and rocky edge that hasn’t faded since their very first album, I Love You. Their new album Wiped Out! came out Oct. 30 and stays true to the band’s distinct, laid-back feel, captivating all their West Coast fans yet again.

The first song off the album “Prey” is the epitome of The Neighbourhood’s style. Just the opening of the song is enough to momentarily put the listener into a red, open Jeep cruising down Pacific Coast Highway alongside Malibu beach, a pure California state of mind. Although the melody of the song and the feeling it perpetuates is very light-hearted, the lyrics are anything but. Lead singer Jesse Rutherford has a history of addressing life’s grievances in his music, and this song is no exception proven by such lyrics as “Something is off, I can’t explain… Something I saw or something I did that made me like this… Could you help me?”

However, in this song, and actually throughout the whole album, it seems that he is directing his words towards a significant other; the lyric “We need to fly ourselves before someone else tells us how” insinuates that he feels the couple must make decisions regarding their own lives by themselves and do what they choose to do, not what is forced upon them — followed by the clever play-on-homophones “I feel like prey, I feel like praying” referring to him feeling attacked (prey) and his cry for help (praying).

This ocean-deep message is concealed beneath a harmony of drum beats, tambourine jingles, and an angel-sweet voice, giving off the impression that it is yet another feel-good song, until you stop hearing the music and actually start listening to it. Then it becomes an overwhelming story of a man who has issues he would rather veil beneath a sea of placidity rather than actually resolve, and demonstrates his mastery of doing so.

Other songs on Wiped Out! that reveal this incredible trend of hiding sadness beneath the beauty of California include “Wiped Out,” “The Beach,” and of course “Greetings from Califournia” with lyrics like “The sharper the blade the easier it scars your soul… My current state is heavy,” “I need you here with me but we’re out in the open,” and “Everyone’s breathing these fumes… Sick of the people who make the decisions.”  

It is upsetting when an album is dismissed at the sound of the first note. Sometimes you need to take time and read between the lines to understand and appreciate why it was written in the first place.

There is no flaw in Wiped Out! and I recommend this album to absolutely everyone.