Editors’ Notes “Before we started this album, I asked myself what my opinion was about our music, our band, and our fans, and I realized I didn't really know—and that scared the shit out of me,” The Neighbourhood's Jesse Rutherford tells Apple Music. “I got off the internet for about nine months and stopped ingesting everybody else's opinion.” It was during this period of isolation that the lead vocalist from the genre-bending LA alternative group started writing songs on his acoustic guitar and began to develop a persona he calls Chip Chrome, which took him almost three years to complete from idea to conception. Sporting a spandex suit and glittery mouth grill, Rutherford is practically unrecognizable when he turns into his silver-clad persona. In creating the alter ego, he took inspiration from David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust—a character whose story of fame and excess mirrors some of his own life but with a modern twist. “Bowie was Ziggy, and Ziggy was a character very addicted to cocaine—and I would say that Chip is addicted to the internet, a product of addiction from social media for so many years,” Rutherford says. The result is The Neighbourhood's most audacious and mature statement yet, where Rutherford and his bandmates let go of the ’80s synth elements of their 2018 self-titled album in favor of a ’70s California aesthetic. Here, Rutherford takes us inside every song on the album.

Chip Chrome
“It was a sound that we had for months, inspired by THX 1138 [George Lucas’ 1971 film]. It puts you in a world right away. And it sounds very vintage, which I love. I just wanted to give that imagery for Chip. It's warm but still interesting.”

Pretty Boy
“Jeremy [Freedman, The Neighbourhood guitarist] added so much emotion to that song. I wrote that song on guitar sitting on my.couch, right after we had an earthquake here. I was sitting between my dog and my old lady. I was playing that guitar progression that day, and then the lyrics immediately came after that moment. It is a love song, but there's a lot of impending doom in it. When Jeremy heard that song, he added a lot of mellotron, put it through his pedal board. Still, every time I hear that song I get emotional because of what he added to the song. There's like this studious darkness to it.”

Lost in Translation
“Brandon [Fried], the drummer in our band, he's a great musician. He really got into making beats, crate-digging, and finding samples on the internet and record stores. Me and Danny [Parra, producer], who produced the record with us, were sitting around one night just looking at a folder of all of Brandon's samples. We were playing with different tracks, and then 'Wish That You Were Mine' by The Manhattans ran. We then took it apart and mixed it in with what we had been working on, and the rest of it just came together. Every time I hear that shit drop, I feel like it's what this band has been trying to do from the inception of the whole project—mixing all of these genres together. But I feel like we just did it in a way that's less juvenile. And we grew up with it, so that's what should happen.”

Devil’s Advocate
“For us, everything is always playing devil's advocate—like 'Well, what if this doesn't work out the way that we hope?' or 'Could this happen?'—so that term really was on my head a lot on a lot of the verses. There's also me comparing these things in my life that I've experienced, like 'Do I want to hook up with strippers or do I want to be in a fucking solid relationship?' I've had these experiences that might be a little bit more cliché in certain ways, but they don't fulfill me in the same way that maybe the simple things do. I still love a designer suit, but right now I'm wearing a dingy white T-shirt that I've had for two years and love. You get an award or whatever it is, and it doesn't fulfill you the way that maybe you had thought, because you're thinking about it too much rather than enjoying the process on the way there. It's impossible to enjoy it once you get there, and I'm just trying to learn lessons in that way.”

Hell or High Water
“My girlfriend and I were from the same hometown, and her parents still live out there. We’re from the suburbs, and it’s further away from— I can’t say reality, because reality is different wherever you may reside. But right now, it's a different type of reality. It's important to try to tap into those parts of your identity. And country music was a part of that. I got more into Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and other country artists. And then a hometown friend of mine sent me a movie called Hell or High Water. It reminded me a lot of our relationship. He's my oldest friend, and things have been a little different between us in the past couple years. We've grown apart, but he's still there. He has certain views and certain opinions that I don't necessarily agree with. But at the same time, we have a certain bond with each other.”

Cherry Flavoured
“I see a lot of the energy behind a lot of this whole Chip project in general, probably because it was me trying to be like, ‘Hold on, someone needs to be a leader here, and I think that's me.' But as time went on, I feel like the lyrics are a lot more for me to listen to rather than for me to point a finger at somebody else talking about how they're giving me cherry-flavored conversations. I think maybe I'm the one who was sugarcoating things sometimes, or trying to make them into something else but just didn't want to put in the work to really walk the walk. But once I focused more, got off the internet, learned how to play guitar, spent some time alone, I think I was able to find that balance.”

The Mono-Tones
“I think a lot of this world is built around boys' clubs, and if you're not in a certain club, then good fucking luck. Whether you want to admit it or not, once you're part of a certain club, you get away with certain things and you get to cheat in certain ways. Whether you work at a shoe store in the mall and your manager lets you steal a box after your shift every couple weeks because corporate's not going to find out and you're going to be fine, or you're a police officer and you're killing fucking Black people on the street. It's just part of the job, and it's gross, but it all ties in.”

BooHoo
“It's me dealing with my insecurities in my relationship with my girlfriend, who's very popular. I was kind of like the main character before she came into my life, and then I had to learn how to be a co-star, and that was, for me personally, a thing that I had to learn. I realized that there's no reason to compare, at all. It's a team. Let's play each other and do the best for each other. That's one of the coolest parts about being in this specific relationship I'm in with Devon [Carlson]. We can relate on certain things that maybe other people wouldn't be able to relate on. Nowadays, it seems like everybody has this idea that they could wake up tomorrow and be viral, because that's the truth. That's just what has actually happened now, so how can anyone not have that in the back of their mind?”

Silver Lining
“It takes the idea of Chip being a painted-on character, and more so reveals it as 'I have been worn down.' Jesse, the Jesse Rutherford that was sold to you or given to you, wherever you want to say early on with The Neighbourhood, adopted by the audience, has been worn down. It's just me just being like, ‘It's the last contractual album that, technically, we're doing with Columbia.’ It doesn't have to exist anymore. So I think a lot of this album is about the impending doom of the world, but actually what's really happening in my life on a personal level, like contracts ending and people growing up.”

Tobacco Sunburst
“That song is like a testament to slowing down and taking your time with a group of people to really make things work. It’s a heavy track for me to think about. There's substance songs, there's pop songs, there's informative tracks. And I think 'BooHoo' and 'Tobacco Sunburst' are like full left and full right.”

Middle of Somewhere
“The best song that I've ever written on my own. The song originally came out last year. Once that happened, it was like, 'All right, I guess we know the aesthetic for this album now.' We've done every fucking genre of music, I feel. Anything from like Led Zeppelin '70s rock, modern bedroom, West Coast hip-hop, ’80s, Depeche Mode, or any sort of ’80s synth-driven palette. 'Middle of Somewhere' kind of was like, 'Oh, okay, so acoustic guitar.' I brought it to the boys and showed them, and everybody that day was like, 'Okay, I get it. Cool. Let's start.' And it pretty much ended up exactly how I had showed it to them. We tried bass and drums for two, three days—just tinkering around with it. And then on day three, everybody's like, 'Nope. I like Jesse's original acoustic version, but let's leave these couple extra little things in there.'”

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