Hippo Campus’ lyricism shines on "LP3"

by Sam Russell

Hippo Campus’ lyricism shines on "LP3"

Back with their fifth studio album LP3, alternative band Hippo Campus has wonderfully captured the various feelings of young adulthood. The songs throughout the album range from discussing struggles of young adult relationships, to feelings of being mentally drained. While tackling these feelings, LP3 also brings listeners back to the earlier days of Hippo Campus. It has its own unique sound, while also replicating some sounds of Hippo Campus’ debut album, Landmark. LP3’s relatable lyrics and catchy beats made it an enjoyable listening experience.

LP3 opens with “2 Young 2 Die.” The combination of pop music with a hint of jazz instrumentals was an interesting one, but at certain points, there was a a bit too much noise. The lyrics were a stark contrast to the instrumentals, describing the burden of imposter syndrome and struggling mentally.

Following “2 Young 2 Die” is the electropop-like “Blew Its,” which is unique but feels similar to LP3’s opener in the sense that it’s ever so slightly too noisy. What seems to be an attempt at creating an electropop song was mediocre at best. The redeeming aspect of “Blew Its” are its relatable lyrics. They explore the effort of overcoming feelings of disappointment and frustration after missed chances or blown opportunities. While this song is not one of the better ones on LP3, its lyricism still fits extremely well with the rest of the album.

LP3 begins to sound more like the typical Hippo Campus sound with alternative pop sounding “Ashtray.” The catchy beat goes perfectly with the equally catchy melody, as singer Jake Luppen expresses the struggle of not being good with words or expressing feelings and desires. The prominence of electric guitar and drums make “Ashtray” incredibly enjoyable even without the yet again relatable lyrics. “Ashtray” is a highlight of LP3, and quite possibly the best song.

The album starts to shift to tackle a mix of mental health struggles and relationship struggles with “Bang Bang.” Hippo Campus maintains the young-adult-struggle themed lyrics mixed with catchy, upbeat instrumentals on “Bang Bang.” The lyrics may sound like a typical heartbreak pop anthem, but following the talk of a brief love affair, Luppen sings of how it had made things just a little better amidst the struggle of seasonal depression. Many young adults experience feelings similar to the one Luppen expresses, with lyrics like “Dead winter gonna take my life / It’s a cold cut from a hard knock life (I’m barely keeping it together),” therefore making “Bang Bang” another catchy, upbeat, and relatable track on LP3.

“Semi Pro” brings LP3 an element of nostalgia that listeners didn’t know they needed. The indie pop song sounds similar to something from the band’s debut album Landmark. The interesting tune blends well with the lyrics, as Luppen sings about the feeling of thinking you know what you’re doing, but you don’t, which makes it difficult to keep trying. “Semi Pro” is unfortunately followed up by the disappointing “Ride or Die,” containing basic beats and instrumentals with confusing and repetitive lyrics. Thankfully, the album is redeemable soon after.

“Scorpio” is a fun listen for anyone interested in astrology. While the instrumentals are a bit strange, it makes for a really fun and interesting song. The lyrics describe relating to a scorpio after a problem in a relationship since scorpios are stereotypically pretty stone-faced and don’t show their hurt. “Scorpio” adds a fun flare to LP3 and is an especially redeeming quality after “Ride or Die.”

The album calms back down after “Scorpio,” following up with “Listerine,” a laidback track with a subdued beat and voice to fit it. LP3’s lyrics shift entirely to relationship struggles with “Listerine,” as the lyrics describe the feeling of infatuation and the determination to treat a partner right, despite any issues. “Listerine” is a refreshing love song on an album full of darker topics.

Switching from a laidback track, “Boys” is a super catchy song that may remind listeners strikingly of a summer song. In an interview with Grand Jury Music, Luppen expressed, “To me, ‘Boys’ is bottoming out, sort of reaching your lowest point mentally. And because you’re there, you assess everything around you, and then become a better person… it’s like that feeling when you’re drunk and then you wake up hungover and you hate yourself.” The meaning and lyrics of the song starkly contrast the beat of the song, making it yet another interesting listen and certainly an excellent choice for the first LP3 single.

Just as “Boys” was an excellent first single, “Understand” is a terrific album closer. Its pretty lullaby type of beat is followed by a very chill and catchy guitar beat. The lyrics circle back to relationship talk, describing relationship issues and the struggle of making a relationship work.

Despite some bumps in the road, LP3 was overall a good album. The relatability of the lyrics mixed with the unique instrumentals makes for a fun and creative musical project that listeners will definitely enjoy. While it wasn’t perfect, Hippo Campus’ LP3 did not disappoint.