“I Love You.” By the Neighborhood Album Review


Andy Jones

The Neighbourhood performs at Ram’s Head Live on March 19, 2014 (the band requested only b&w photos)

The Neighbourhood rose to fame after the release of their most popular song, “Sweater Weather,” in 2013. The song currently has over two billion streams on Spotify, while the rest of the “I Love You.” album is nowhere near as popular.

After releasing their “I’m Sorry…” and “Thank You,” EPs, “I Love You.” was released as the band’s debut album. The 11 song album was made public on April 18, 2013. All songs on the album contain a moody feel to them as they all told a story with different ambiences.

The first song, “How” is the longest in the album, being five minutes and fourteen seconds long. In all honesty, the song feels and sounds as though you are walking through an echoing tunnel. “How” describes Jesse Rutherford’s, the lead-singer of the Neighbourhood, trouble with religion. He is skeptical of his religion due to the cruel experiences he has encountered.

The second song, “Afraid,” is more vulgar compared to the rest of the album; nevertheless, it is one of the best songs from the band. The radio-quality of Rutherford’s mic adds a perfect tone to the song and makes it impossible to stop listening. The song itself is about the many insecurities Rutherford has: the uncertainty of his career, the honesty of his friends, and just an overall insecurity of not being able to be true to himself. He fears that he can be replaced at any time, so he holds grudges against the people who placed these thoughts into his head.

“Everybody’s Watching Me (Uh Oh)” takes the listener back into a moodier feel with low vocals and loud instrumentals. The song describes a friendship Rutherford had that he found security in. He told this person secrets about himself, but the friendship ended up failing due to a lack of communication. Rutherford’s friend tells him to express his feelings, but Rutherford chooses to bottle them up instead. The song reveals that the secrets that the singer had confided in with his friend were leaked to those around him by his supposed friend. This caused the two to separate, which led to Rutherford feeling abandoned and paranoid about future friendships.

“Sweater Weather” is undoubtedly the Neighbourhood’s most popular and liked song. The whole band worked together to write the song, and with great success, since the song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. The song describes a couple in a cold house during an intimate moment. There are no words to describe how amazing this song is; it is most definitely a must-listen if anyone wants to get into the Neighbourhood. (If you somehow have not listened to it already.)

“Let It Go” is one of my favorite songs on the album. The song is much more high-paced than the last, but the song has amazing qualities that make it stand out. The rhythm of the song is addicting, and the echoing in the background adds a nice touch. This song is unfortunately the shortest song on the album with the runtime being three minutes and seventeen seconds. “Let It Go” means exactly what you are thinking about. Rutherford explains how putting a facade on to hide your emotions will only make yourself feel worse; letting go of these feelings and past traumas will cause much more happiness.

“Alleyways” is a song about the struggle to grow up. Rutherford himself has explained how this song is dedicated to his childhood best friend, now manager. The song still contains the echo that has been recurring throughout the album and is very fast paced. Rutherford explains how growing up was terrifying, especially in his teenage years. He was scared of what came next, but he still lived his youth to the fullest. He pledges how important it is to know everything about yourself before going on to live an adult life.

“W.D.Y.W.F.M.” has to be my second favorite song on the “I Love You.” album. The name is an acronym for “What do you want from me?” As foreshadowed by the title, the song describes a relationship that’s breaking apart. The girl in the relationship blames anything and everything around her just to cause a breakup. Rutherford adds on to her ideas, saying that he is to blame for everything, but neither of them can find the root of the problem. He tries his best for the relationship to continue, but he is unsure of what to do, which begs the question, “What do you want from me?” The song’s amazing vocals and stunning instrumentation definitely has a place in my heart.

With “W.D.Y.W.F.M.” being second, “Flawless,” is most definitely my favorite song on the album. The song gives an omniscient view of a relationship that is having trouble staying together. At the beginning of their relationship, the couple was all sweet, but one person stayed unchanged. She is compared to a doll, unchanged but still perfect. He wants to stay in the relationship, but after seeing her personality change, he questions if he is really in love with her. At the end of the song, he realizes that he doesn’t want to wait for her to change, so he now wants to break up.

“Female Robbery” is a much darker and upsetting song than the rest of the album. That is to say, the song is still great. The echo still remains in all the songs, but in this one, the echoes are screaming. This comes into play with the meaning behind the lyrics. Rutherford himself has explained that the song is about a little girl being raised in an abusive household. This little girl wanted to get kidnapped in order to live a different life after seeing what other households are like through television. The girl wants to get kidnapped, but never to be rescued. In the song, she begs to not tell anything to the police so as to not expose where she is.

“Staying Up” sounds a little creepier than the rest of the songs, but it fits well with the meaning. The beginning of the song sounds like a circus in a way to give off an eerie vibe. The song expresses Rutherford’s troubles with insomnia and nightmares. He is scared to sleep due to the nightmares he knows will occur. He finds it hard to sleep knowing that these nightmares mean that nothing good is going on in his life; the thought of living a better life is what is pushing him forward.

The last song, “Float,” has amazing drums in the background that cannot be ignored. The song is fast paced and is highly addictive. While the catchy lyrics might deceive you, the song is actually quite dark. The use of “floating” is used as a metaphor for mental stability. Rutherford says how he was taught how to swim (how to control his emotions), but he is thrown into the deep end and can’t float (he is thrown into a depressive episode and cannot find a way out of it). At the end of the song, he asks what would happen if he were to float away (take his own life).

The Neighbourhood is a band that I can’t recommend enough. They have a plethora of songs that can fit anyones’ music taste. Similar to “AM” by the Arctic Monkeys, which was also released in 2013, I would give this album a 10/10. The lyrics and instrumentals are mesmerizing and definitely worth listening to.