In the indie pop and alternative realms, few bands stick out quite like The Neighbourhood. The band fuses strong chords with its iconic sultry guitar, beautiful bass lines and amazing drums to keep the listener’s foot tapping with the high hat.
Ten years after its initial release, the band celebrated its debut album, “I Love You.,” with an alternative “Chopped Not Slopped” version. The original album effectively kicked off the group’s career, highlighted by “Sweater Weather,” the 25th most-streamed song on Spotify with over 2.1 billion streams.
Despite the immense fame of the 11-time platinum “Sweater Weather” and supporting success of “Afraid,” the album “I Love You.” saw little success as a whole. Although the album is cohesive in its themes and tone, the music fails to appeal past the insecure teenage stereotype.
Draped in dreary yet dreamy tones and flooded with angst-riddled lyrics, The Neighbourhood weaves themes of love and insecurity throughout the 11-song tracklist. Each song either falls flat in its attempt to provoke a deep emotion or maintains the right amount of poetic lyrics to strike a chord.
“How” and “Let It Go” exemplify the album’s shortcomings best. The songs get lost in their own sadness spirals. They are impossible to relate to and it’s difficult to understand the band’s message. “Female Robbery” shares this problem, but the message blends smoother with the instrumentals.
However, most songs don’t fall victim to this. “Sweater Weather,” “Flawless,” “Afraid” and “Float” are easy enough to follow and convey the themes of the album much clearer. The songs have the teenage drama themes the band aims for: lovers, insecurity and fear of the real world.
In celebration of its 10th anniversary, The Neighbourhood made the “Chopped Not Slopped” version of the “I Love You.” album available on streaming services. If you’ve never listened to a “chopped and screwed” remix before, hang tight — you are in for a dizzying ride.
The chopped and screwed remix style slows song tempo and employs record scratches, time warps, reverbs/sound distortions and section skipping — as if a DJ is touching and spinning the record. The style is an acquired taste and can be unsettling for first-time listeners.
OG Ron C, the emcee for the remixed album, sets the tone with a minute-long introduction before dragging the listener through the longest hour of their life.
Too many rewinds and lead singer Jesse Rutherford’s slowed down voice lend to an unpredictable and unsettling listen. Both of these components are part of the genre, but don’t mix well with the original album. It’s the equivalent of adding metal instruments to a classical piece and playing in half-time — it doesn’t work.
The album does have some bright spots. The fluid song transitions make for a satisfying audio adventure with the ability to press play and listen to it as one coherent piece.
DJ OG Ron C interjected songs with his smooth low voice. The conversationalist tone with the audience adds some personability, even breaking the fourth wall in “Sweater Weather,” asking listeners if they’ve figured out what’s going on.
Not every song is unlistenable either. “Female Robbery” is easier to get through, as it featured less time reverts, and the final two songs, “W.D.Y.W.F.M?” and “Float,” concluded the album well.
“Sweater Weather” — although the longest song in the album at eight minutes — is a solid remix, with an excellent time reversion jumping from the original song ending back to the bridge.
The remix style is not as jarring by the end of the album, but the few good takeaways don’t outweigh the painfully sluggish experience. OG Ron C composes the chopped and screwed style well, but that doesn’t make the style any more appealing.
For what the original album does, it does really well. The 46-minute listen of gloomy moods and teenage angst is worth hitting play on a rainy afternoon. However, the “Chopped Not Slopped” remix should be reserved only for chopped and screwed enjoyers and the most morbidly curious.