The Neighbourhood has released a new song and video from their forthcoming album Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones. “Pretty Boy” arrives alongside a video, partially shot in the iconic Jones Restaurant in Los Angeles, that depicts a more vulnerable side to Chip Chrome. The track follows the previously-released singles “Devils Advocate,” which came with a video about finding greatness in simplicity and “Cherry Flavoured,” that arrived with an animated Christopher Wilson-directed video.
Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones is out September 25th via Columbia Records. The album is the follow-up to their 2018 release, Hard To Imagine The Neighbourhood Ever Changing, and finds the band fully transformed into the album’s title characters with Jesse Rutherford serving as Chip Chrome and the rest of the band as The Mono-Tones. Initially introduced in 2019’s “Middle of Somewhere” video, Chip Chrome and The Mono-Tones quickly became a vessel for inspiration and a tangible extension of the next stage of The Neighbourhood.
To coincide with the release of “Pretty Boy,” The Neighbourhood will be going live on Twitch tonight at 5pm PST. The band will perform live and air an interview between Jesse Rutherford and activist Keith Harward of The Innocence Project.
From The Neighbourhood:
Is this still The Neighbourhood?
Are Chip and frontman Jesse Rutherford the same person?
And, what is next?
“I wanted to speak in a different way with music,” explains Jesse. “At the end of the day, I’ve been trying to figure out what it really means. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to put it into words-even though it’s supposed to be my job with the lyrics. Chip helped me find that voice. He’s the best leader I could be for this project, for the boys, and for my friends. The Mono-Tones are the voices in my head that are always there. They can be a bit haunting and keep me up at night, but I trust their taste. In the same way I want to make the guys happy, I want to make the fans happy. To do that, I shut everything out, sat alone, found what makes me happy, and discovered my voice. The funny thing is it takes the piss out of being so serious. I don’t want to be brooding. A lot of these songs are based on major chords, so it might be a happier version of The Neighbourhood.”
Chip Chrome has always been somewhere behind-the-scenes as The Neighbourhood rose to prominence. Since 2011, the Southern California quintet – Jesse, Zach [guitar], Jeremy [guitar], Mikey [bass], and Brandon [drums] – have consistently zigged and zagged past conventions and expectations. Following the success of their platinum-selling debut I Love You. powered by the 5x platinum smash “Sweater Weather,” they collaborated with everyone from YG to Denzel Curry and graced the stages of top festivals such as Coachella and late-night television, including Jimmy Kimmel LIVE! Beyond over 1 billion streams and views, they earned critical acclaim. Of 2018’s self-titled album, Atwood Magazine, wrote, “On The Neighbourhood, The Neighbourhood bring 42 minutes of brilliance and resilience, remaining lucidly transparent about life’s greatest emotional toils.”
However, Chip stepped into the spotlight on the 2019 single “Middle of Somewhere.”
“We came out of the gate pretty hot and successful with ‘Sweater Weather,’ but then I always got stuck in my head and thought, ‘How can I do it again?,'” Jesse admits. “I didn’t want to do that this time; I wanted to do something totally new. We had a plan to do the music video for ‘Middle of Somewhere,’ and I showed up in silver spandex and paint! To my surprise, it was the best move I could’ve made with the band, because they ended up liking how whacky and interesting it was. In the process, I still got to do the most Jesse thing possible. Chip was a way for me to say, ‘I’m going to do me. You’re not going to stop me’.”
At the top of 2020, he unplugged himself and plugged into Chip. As Jesse puts it, he “got off the internet, picked up a guitar, played it until [his] fingers bled, and learned how to write songs in a new way.”
That brings us to the first single “Cherry Flavoured.” His delicate delivery drips through the cracks of a simmering beat and clean guitar towards an admission, “I sold my soul a long time ago. I feel like a ghost now.”
“‘Cherry Flavoured Conversations’ means exactly what it sounds like,” he goes on. “It’s something that seems really good and sweet when you’re talking about it, but it may not be possible in reality. I ended up going to an internal place and got back to me. I realized, ‘Maybe I’m the one who’s putting the cherry flavoring in these conversations?’ I needed to take a look at myself.”
Meanwhile, “Devils Advocate” hinges on a guitar-driven melody punctuated by off kilter bleeps and bloops and fluttering falsetto.
“It’s about getting back to being a simple man rather than trying to chase a designer brand,” he says. “I’m attracted to designer stuff, diamonds, and the good life, but there’s nothing like finding greatness in the simple things.”
Then, there’s “Pretty Boy.” The rustle of surf guitar rings out over tambourine and a delicate bass line as he croons out an apocalyptic love song named after his dog.
“After these two earthquakes last year, I was playing guitar on the couch, I had my dog on one side, and I had my girl on the other side,” he recalls. “I was like, ‘If it’s all over right here, it’s not a bad scene to end on, you know?’ It made me appreciate what I do have. We’re on this ride together, and it’s a pure little moment.”
For as much as Chip has affected The Neighbourhood, Chip also has the power to affect listeners everywhere.
“I think Chip was really about saying, ‘We don’t know what’s going to happen, but you’re never going to know what to expect from us, because we might switch it up’,” he leaves off. “At the end of the day, this is an art project. It’s supposed to be fun. I feel like the boys and I are closer than ever. It’s amazing we get to live this life of music together. If we still get to have a voice in the world, we’re going to use it. Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones helped define my voice. The more I hear it, the more I think, ‘This is totally a Neighbourhood record’.”