“With these ten songs, I hit the comfortability point that I’ve always felt in the past, but this time I chose to just run with it.” That’s how Hippo Campus frontman Jake Luppen described the band’s new album LP3, which was released February 4th. The album strays from the typical sound of the band and channels a new, more vulnerable side of the group. Like all bands, Hippo Campus faced many challenges due to Covid-19. However, in October of last year, they proved that they were far from done with music, dropping the first single from the LP3 called “Boys.”
This song, which is my favorite on the album, sounds the most like previous Hippo Campus albums, but nearly all the songs on LP3 have a vastly different sound than their hits “Buttercup” and “Way it Goes.” This change in sound came naturally to the band, and they’ve discussed in numerous interviews how this was the first time they allowed themselves to create what they wanted to without the fear of not conforming to an indie sound. “Boys” also marks a large step in Luppen’s personal life; in a July 2021 interview with Billboard, he publicly announced that he was queer. “Kissing boys, Missing work, Got hungover from your words,” he sings in the catchy chorus of the single. “Boys” is not the only song on the album to stand out. The long-awaited track “Ashtray” also made its presence known, having previously only been played in virtual concerts. Unlike “Boys,” “Ashtray” has a stronger, more alternative sound to it, something new to the band.
The release of the EP Good Dog, Bad Dream in summer of 2021 was the first glimpse fans were given of the new direction the band was taking. Songs off of LP3 such as “Blew Its” and “Listerine” fit quite well with this experimental, indie-pop sound the group is trying to head towards. Other songs on the album, such as “Bang Bang” and “Ride or Die,” feel like a good blend of their 2018 album Bambi and the Good Dog, Bad Dream EP.
Having followed the band since 2017, this new direction caught me off guard, but it also left me wanting to hear more. The songs on LP3 are different from anything we’ve heard from the group before, and while I wasn’t sure how I felt upon first listen, the songs have certainly grown on me. The vulnerable and genuine lyrics flowing with the new sound create a feeling of growth and change, something the band has definitely done since their 2017 debut album Landmark. I will admit that I’m a little saddened by the band’s intentional change in tone, I think it comes through naturally on LP3, and leaves me excited to see what the future holds for the group.
Emily Imanishi is a second-year writing for film, TV and emerging media major who has memorized the lyrics of all 77 of Hippo Campus’ songs, and will force you to listen to all of them. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.