Hippo Campus – Bambi
Written by TJ Petras on November 8, 2018
By: Carter Biellier
Reflection, conflicting thoughts, and daydreams: these are the themes that stuck out to me the most while listening to Hippo Campus’ new album Bambi . Ever since their first EP release in 2015, this band has been on a roll and isn’t wasting any time as they develop and establish their sound. Their first album, Landmark released in 2017, it had a fun giddy vibe that put a nice pep in your step. Bambi, although it has some more upbeat tracks, focuses more on a somber and soothing sound, which fits perfectly with its fall release.
I’ve always been interested in the way artists begin and end albums. The way Bambi opens and closes gives me goosebumps. “Mistakes”, the first track, fades in with an ensemble of strings and a chorus harmonizing with the message “I’m just a man who has made mistakes.” This opener is not only calming, but it also prepares yourself for the story the album is about to tell. The last track, “Passenger”, has more of a dream state sound and subtly brings back the strings that we first heard in “Mistakes”. I like to think of it as a way to put the listener at ease after listening to the 10 track rollercoaster of emotions. It’s filled with sustained piano chords and a meditative ambiance that’s not only a perfect ‘goodbye’, but also invokes a feeling of peace and euphoria. This is one of my favorite introductions and closings of an album I’ve heard in a long time.
One song that stood out to me the most was “Bambi”. It has a faster beat it compared to the rest of the album. Bambi also being the name of the album, is the song that holds the main theme of the whole project, which I’ve interpreted the theme to be about mental illness. With some tracks tackling specific feelings such as anxiety and doubt, “Bambi” just about sums it all up. The song talks about how he doesn’t necessarily feel like himself as he struggles to identify with masculinity and how to express himself. Most males are conditioned to keep their emotions bottled up and to express them is a sign of weakness. Bambi takes the veil down and lays his thoughts on the table as they tear down the social norms surrounding the way emotions should be handled.
Hippo Campus has been a band that’s a hit or miss with me based off of their previous releases. “Way It Goes” had a certain feeling that I thought their other tracks failed to capture, but since listening to Bambi, I will most definitely keep my ear out for more of their art as well as a chance to see them live. Although it didn’t take long for their name to get out after Landmark ’s release, I think this album will give them an extra boost to get their message out. I’m very excited to see what comes next as they continue to explore an alternative-pop sound while incorporating and playing with new styles of music. They’ve got a good thing going and I have a feeling it’s only going to get better.
Favorite Tracks: “Mistakes”, “Bambi”, “Passenger”