Hippo Campus’ EP ‘Wasteland’ makes me wish it was summertime 

When indie rock meets country you have Hippo Campus’s “Wasteland.” A fusion of genres and several great tracks makeup the group’s newest EP. Illustration by Steven Coleman/Daily Campus

Hippo Campus’ music has never failed to make me smile. A friend introduced me to their world through one of their bigger hits, “baseball,” and since then I have always resorted to their music for a quick pick-me-up. A wave of curiosity overcame me when I saw “Wasteland” as the title of their EP.  

Before actually listening to the music I reviewed the titles of the five songs in the EP. Based on the titles alone, I felt that this EP was going to have some clear country influence integrated into it. The titles like “Moonshine” and “Yippie Ki Yay” solidified that thought.  

Hippo Campus is known as an indie/alternative music band, so I was surprised by how the country influence was translated so heavily into these first two songs, as well as the way the lyrics were sung. Even the way the band’s lead singer, Jake Luppen, sang resembled that of a country singer.  

Both “Moonshine” and “Yippie Ki Yay” share the same drumbeat that plays as their backbones. When I first listened to these songs, I thought that this drumbeat made the songs sound too much alike. After a close second listen, the other instruments in these songs mask the drumbeat well enough to differentiate each song from the other.  

The third track, “Honeysuckle,” also carries this country-esque vibe. This song sounds like a messy yet cohesive combination of pop, country and indie musicality. While I’m not the biggest country fan, this song was my favorite out of the entire EP.  

As the EP continued, the country vibes grew less prominent, but never totally disappeared. The next track “Probably” put me through a confusing mix of emotions. This was the EP’s heartbreak song. The music itself sounded lovely. A piano took the spot as the star instrument in this song – another factor that makes this song unique from the other tracks.  

Each verse told the song’s story beautifully. Breakup songs can sound repetitive, but the lyrics for this song made it stand out. My problem with the song laid with the chorus. In the chorus, I felt that I was listening to the same story outlined in “deja vu” by Olivia Rodrigo. However, in “Probably,” the comparisons are vague whereas Rodrigo provided specific examples that put her song at the next level.  

To top it off, the song ends with a line that goes “And I’ll never love another like you, probably.” I did not entirely understand this line as the addition of “probably” at the end of it threw the meaning off. He sounds sad and as though he can’t imagine another relationship even coming close in comparison to the one he lost, but then he turns it around and says that maybe he can. I need to know if this song is an outlet to mourn the loss of his lover or if it was written as a “screw you.”  

The final track, “Kick in the Teeth,” will make you want to get up and dance. It also has a lot of classic country references such as “lonely as a cowboy can be” and “drinkin’ tequila ‘til sunrise.” Despite all the country energy, this song could easily be the song of the summer for all types of music listeners.  

I feel that every song on this EP —  minus “Probably” — has the potential to become someone’s designated song of the summer. The vibes are happy and carefree, and Hippo Campus released it at the perfect time as listeners begin curating their summertime playlists. Even if you are like me and hate country music, the way Hippo Campus developed these songs will make you forget all about it.  

Rating: 4.5/5 

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