“Daddy Issues” by The Neighbourhood

As crazy as such a conclusion may sound at first, perhaps the best way to describe “Daddy Issues”, i.e. the premise upon which it appears to be based, is as a pickup song. Theoretically, there are at least three different addressees, with the primary one being the “little girl” referred to in the chorus. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for The Neighbourhood's Daddy Issues at Lyrics.org.

Well if this little girl is to be taken as a romantic interest, as sorta implied by the verses and second half of the chorus especially, then the reason “daddy issues” are at the forefront is because the vocalist is empathizing with her primarily due to being in love. 

But secondly, the reason he’s empathetic as opposed to being sympathetic is because he too seems to have grown up under an and/or deadbeat dad. And more macrocosmically, the singer then proceeds to identify with all victims of such an upbringing, as personified by the “little boy” who is also referenced in the refrain.

The Narrator and His Father

So if this narrative were relayed in a more chronological way, first would come the vocalist’s own experiences with his father. With said individual being deemed as the addressee of the bridge, it has been interpreted the greatest abuse he committed against the vocalist was deserting him. 

And initially the latter was able to just take it like that. But upon his father’s passing, all of that pent-up pain became more palpable. And now he is able to acknowledge, doing so in a poetic way, that his father bouncing is something which will affect him his entire life. 

The Little Girl and Boy

That then brings us to the “little girl” that he meets later down the line. Now even though, all lyrics considered, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to presume she is someone he wants to be romantically involved with, it is also arguable that his primary interest in her isn’t carnal. His interest in her might be more along the lines of wanting to help her recuperate from whatever it is his own father has done to her. 

And even as far as his own patriarchal past is concerned, Jesse Rutherford doesn’t get too detailed besides implying, as noted above, that his dad left and then died before they could make amends. But it can be taken (due to the ambiguity of the lyrics) that overall he’s speaking to the entire range of abuses a father can perpetuate against his family.

That would likely be why when he addresses the “little boy”, the vocalist also brings the lad’s “mama” into the equation. Yes, just her husband leaving in and of itself would instantly make her a single mother. And that tends to be a harrowing fate from a financial and stress-related perspective. 

But we all know that in this day and age, single motherhood, as challenging as it may be, is not anything unusual. So again, the logical presumption would be something like even if a father doesn’t desert his family, he’s likely still going to prove himself some type of an *s*hole beforehand.


And yes dear reader, this is in fact a sensitive topic, especially for those who may actually have had issues with their dad. Apparently little is known about Jesse’s relationship with his father besides the fact that his pops died when he was young

But if he were only singing about the concept of a child missing his or her dad, then naming this song “Daddy Issues”, as well as some of the lyrics contained therein (such as those related to the ‘little girl’s’ problems) would have been excessive. 

So at the end of the day, we can conclude by saying that this is The Neighbourhood’s way of sympathizing with everyone who may have been permanently-negatively affected by the actions of their father. 

And going back to the romantic innuendos present during the first part of this song, what the vocalist is basically doing is presenting himself as someone whom, due to his own “daddy issues” and the feelings of his heart, is able to relate to what the addressee gone through and thus qualifies as someone she can trust and feel free with.

Lyrics for The Neighbourhood's "Daddy Issues"

Facts about “Daddy Issues”

“Daddy Issues” was released to little fanfare. It wasn’t released as a single but rather as part as The Neighbourhood’s album “Wiped Out!” on 30 October 2015. Said album performed very well on a couple of Billboard charts and went gold in the United States. 

But as for the song itself, it achieved its own viral status in 2020. That same year, it was also certified gold by the RIAA.

The Neighbourhood members wrote this song alongside regular collaborator Justyn Pilbrow.  And Pilbrow also produced the track in conjunction with a duo known as 4e. The full writing credits for “Daddy Issues” are as follows:

  • Zach Abels
  • Jeremy Freedman
  • Brandon Fried
  • Mikey Margott
  • Jesse Rutherford
  • J. Pilbrow
Daddy Issues

4 Responses

  1. Kat says:

    This songs remind me so much about me since my real dad side of family is rich if he doesn’t like something he gets rid of it like me i was 3 month and my parents got a divorced and left money with me and my mom.So now i have daddy issues so when i was little i use to be mean to everyone that had a dad and has a strong relationship with their mom.

  2. Little sammyjo says:

    As a member of the ddlg ddlb community this song means something else entirely it’s sultry Melody and feelings of longing resonate deep within a littles soul.

  3. Fits Me says:

    This Song fits me so well because when i was born my father never wanted another kid so my parents divorced but he left money for my mom, my brothers and i but she would sometimes struggle with money after their divorce and growing up i would hate to go to my friend’s house cause all of them had dads who loved them and when I was 11 I got bad anxiety because not to mention there was at 14 and 16 year age cap between my brothers so by the time I was 4 my brothers were in college so I grew up alone with just my mom and I. And by the time i was 14, i had bad daddy issues so this song really fits well

  4. crybaby says:

    tell me about it mommy & daddy issues! i relate to this song a lot my dad only was happy if my mom gave birth to a boy, my mom acts like she like us girls but she is just like him because her parents only prefer her brother over her and my dad was left out to be raised by his aunt because both of his parents got married and made families while he has left alone all the time, i sometimes think about if i will end up with someone who got the same trauma because i might attract someone who i will feel familiar with without noticing but I’m going to the therapy soon, pray for me..

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