“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.
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.
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