Hippo Campus - Passenger

Hippo Campus Releases New Single "Passenger"

The single is another intriguing release from the talented Minnesotans.

By: Brandon Sims


Hippo Campus, the poetically expressive and always delightful indie-rock band from St. Paul, Minnesota recently released their first single since putting out their debut album, Landmark, on Grand Jury and Transgressive records, respectively. The album provided a surprisingly refreshing take on a genre that’s been largely pushed out of the limelight over the last decade, and the band appears to be on track to continue on their upward trajectory by creating original sounding rock tunes that combine aspects of 80’s synth-pop with 21st-century alternative influences. 

Their latest single, "Passenger", is another exceptional addition to the group’s repertoire that continues to demonstrate their ability to consistently write catchy pop songs that transcend any single genre. With "Passenger", Hippo Campus proves they are a band who cannot be capsulized into one limiting category such as “indie-rock,” but rather they are artists who create music that derives from a place of deeper understanding. While it’s less upbeat and doesn’t carry the west-coast beach vibes that were prominent throughout the tracks on Landmark, "Passenger" shows how the band is able to captivate their audience even when the piece is not driven by a forefronting guitar melody or noticeable vocal hook. 

One thing that does remain the same is singer Jake Luppen’s ability to add his own twist on a sound that music fans have grown to love. Luppen has a style, a sound, and a particular verbiage that lets the listener know they are in Hippo Campus’ world for the time being. When Luppen sings, he gives audiences every reason to pay attention to what he has to say. His creative writing and the manner in which he expresses his words, combined with electronic synths, piano, and digitally-delayed guitar chords help make "Passenger" one of their more emotional songs.

Luppen said of the song, “Passenger was written in the winter of 2017 after the first four months of touring on Landmark. Lyrically, the themes deal with the challenges of growing alongside the person you love. For this song, in particular, I tried to challenge myself to write a more complex chord progression to sing to. I started off with a TR-8 groove and the rest followed pretty naturally.” These words are proven to be true when listening to the track, as it certainly shies away from the sunnier style of Landmark while shedding light on the group’s more vulnerable side. If "Passenger" is a sneak peek into the band’s next album, music fans alike are sure to be in for a treat full of masterful artistry.