JESSE RUTHERFORD releases solo debut ‘&’ | Review

Jesse Rutherford, singer of The Neighbourhood, drops his debut major label solo album ‘&’ and it’s as beautifully odd as you would expect. Any fan of The Neighbourhood knows that their sound is eclectic and exciting; they explore and combine a range of genres creating an original and exciting sound. In this solo venture, Jesse demonstrates his own style bringing in sounds from pop, electronic and rap.

‘I Think We Should Stay In Love’ is the first song I heard from this album and I loved it straight away. Wonderfully odd and beautifully original, Jesse’s recognisable voice draws you in. This entire project brings to mind Mansionz – their own album doesn’t quite sit anywhere. Both these albums are wonderfully original, combining genres in different ways. Rutherford’s album falls closer to my own taste, I love the quirkiness of this album.

The video for ‘Blame’ really brings the lyrics to life. It centers around Jesse and neon signs, looking very 80s California. The imagery and themes of drugs run throughout the album, helping tie this very diverse sounding album together. I really love the video, it’s oddly normal. Stylistically like rap videos, it seems that Rutherford continue to pay respect to his own interests. The songs on this album help you deal with difficult emotions yet simultaneously lift you up.

My favourite song on the album has to be ‘Drama’, it speaks to me on an emotional level. The pop-fuelled song features a heavy use of auto-tune, something usually associated with rap and people who can’t sing. Rutherford challenges these perceptions throughout the album. Lyrically, we get more insight to Rutherford’s emotions and life on this album; with this song in particular looking at depression and the mask we put up.   

This album highlights Rutherford’s genre-bending style, much like the gender-bending photography collection of the same name available from antianti.social. The album takes you on a journey that leaves you forever changed – pop music will never sound the same. Jesse Rutherford’s debut solo effort has me beyond excited for any future releases.

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