On March 21, Hippo Campus dropped their latest song ‘Yippie Ki Yay’ to tease their new EP Wasteland. Known for their indie rock sound, Hippo Campus is an American band from Saint Paul, Minnesota. The group met at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, where most of the members studied jazz. Its members include Jake Luppen as lead vocals, Nathan Stocker as lead guitarist, Zach Sutton on bass or keyboard, Whistler Allen on drums, and DeCarlo Jackson on trumpet.
I was introduced to this group through one of their most popular songs, ‘Buttercup.’ It holds a special place in my heart because I played it on Clone Hero, the off-brand version of Guitar Hero, and beat my friend’s high score. He already had 95% accuracy on the song, but I did better and left him with a face of bewilderment. I immediately added that song to my playlist and went down a rabbit hole for their other music. Knowing that I like their sound, that same friend notified me of this song and I gave it a listen.
thoughts while listening to the new single
The song starts with a catchy drumbeat and brings Nathan Stocker’s guitar skills into the mix. After a few measures, Jake Luppen comes in with his soothing vocals, a nice contrast from the upbeat, energetic instruments. Their sound is similar to Wallows, where the guitar part is highlighted, and the vocals are more laid-back. The chorus chills out and makes me anticipate a big drop, but it is a fake out that leads into the next verse.
When we reach the bridge, the instrumental parts are on long, sustained notes while a distorted voice speaks in the background. Although very hard to make out, the singer says, “Followed a mirage to a dried-up stream / When I heard it like a voice from the sand and the wind / You ought to wake up or get lost to the noise / Ride on, sunrise in the east / With the whole world laying right at your feet.”
In a literal fashion, the voice becomes normal on the words “coming into focus,” which was very fitting. The last chorus is super high energy, with Jake Luppen scream-singing an octave higher than the previous chorus. I imagine this being their closing song for a concert with confetti falling and the audience jumping in slow motion. The song ends on a held guitar note that fades out in the few seconds following.
The meaning Behind the Song
The group started writing this song six years ago, according to Grand Jury Music. When asked about the song’s meaning, Hippo Campus said, “It deals with ‘giddying up’ in the sense that we gotta keep on keeping on despite not knowing what the fuck we’re doing a lot of the time.” Fans love the “cowboy era” they have going on, especially with the visualizer for the song being a horse.
The album Wasteland comes out on April 14 and features five tracks. Make sure to check out the rest of their discography in the meantime!