Hippo Campus, the popular indie rock group from Minnesota, is back in preparation for the release of their sophomore album, BAMBI, which is set to be digitally released on September 28. The band released the album’s first single, “Passenger,” in June 2018. “Passenger” introduced a new, more sonic sound for the band, giving fans the anticipation that their next album would provide fresh tracks that showcase their evolution as a band without losing the qualities that fans originally fell in love with the first time they heard “Suicide Saturday” or “Bashful Creatures.”
On August 23, Hippo Campus unexpectedly released the title track of the album as the second single. By bringing drum machines and op-1 samples to the forefront of the instrumentals, Hippo Campus created a new sound that pleasantly took fans by surprise. “Bambi,” although introducing a slightly new sound that differs from their previous work, undeniably captures their usual combination of honest introspection with smooth and comforting sounds.
The lyrics of this track were credited to the poetic talent of lead singer and guitarist, Jake Luppen. The meaning of “Bambi” addresses the relevant and reflective subject of processing world events while balancing the mental health and social issues that young people face. Trying to focus on self care while being able to support the people around you is a constant battle that many young people are able to relate to. The chorus as a whole perfectly captures this feeling, “I haven’t been much myself, And I feel like my friends are being put through this hell I’m feeling. I think that I’m living, if you could call it living, So brash and unforgiven, Ruled by the vibe I’m bringing, serving myself.” While learning, and often struggling, with how to cope with one’s own mental health, it can be difficult to not feel as if your own problems affect those closest to you, resulting in more inner turmoil.
In a press release regarding the new track, Luppen claimed that he took inspiration from how he and his contemporaries feel in response to the current social climate and cultural movements such as the #MeToo Movement. “That really made us take a look at how toxic masculinity has influenced the way we see ourselves and the world overall,” said Luppen. “In the past we might have been apprehensive about being super-vulnerable, but now we’re more aware of how important it is to come forward about dealing with depression or anxiety. Because if more men are able to do that, they might be less likely to express those feelings as anger or violence.”
This open vulnerability lead to the honest and touching lyrics that float through this song. This track is an invitation, not only to self examine, but to grow through the realizations found in the relatable lyrics that address feelings that are often not expressed. With the vocally layered outro depicting the battle between confidence and insecurity with the lyrics “I’ll be making my own way now” and “I haven’t been much myself” playing simultaneously. These lyrics are unsure, as are the emotions they are depicting. The track concludes on a more optimistic note with the realization that “Wait and see, I’ll be making my own own way now…serving myself.” Finding the balance that allows you to put your mental health first without lacking in other areas of your life is an achievable goal, it just might take some time and work to get there.
Check out Hippo Campus’s “Bambi” music video. BAMBI, the album, will be released digitally on September 28, with physical copies available on November 23.