Houston Kendrick – “The Suburbs” (Official Video)

Houston Kendrick released the full-length album Small Infinity in April of 2021. It is, without being hyperbolic, an incredible piece of work. Kendrick’s vocal delivery often soars in the falsetto, effortlessly. The music is driving, cinematic, delicate, introspective or sometimes all of the above. Lyrically, it’s personal, relatable, fiery and empowered. As noted, it is a incredible piece of work.

The official video for “The Suburbs” dropped in May 2024, roughly three years after the album was released but the track has lost no luster. In a musical landscape that only seems to honor brand new releases, it’s incredibly respectable that Kendrick continues to promote the album. Not only does the album deserve the utmost recognition but, more importantly, the message of the song should reach as many people as possible. From Kendrick’s own YouTube summary:

The Suburbs explores the chaos, discord, and unease that lies behind the deceiving veneer of suburban politeness. The song is autobiographical in nature, discussing the emotional dissonance that results from being black and gay in the heart of the Bible Belt; forced to forge an identity in an environment that covertly and overtly tells you that you should not exist.

Inspired by classic Hitchcockian horror, the video leans into the camp of those performative pleasantries which mask the hatred that fuels racism, homophobia and all prejudice. The cast of characters includes me, a bunch of racist zombies and my Higher Self — a mysterious omniscient force guiding my footsteps even when I try to resist. It’s through this consistent and often uncomfortable interaction between self and soul that we find the freedom and strength to be who we are.

The videos presentation of the idyllic 1950’s suburbia is a reminder that the ideals of the past are a fallacy, particularly given the lived experiences of folks like Kendrick himself. There are, undoubtedly, others going through the same levels of racism and homophobia. Hopefully they can hear this track, feel the frustration and appreciate the unbelievably catchy vocal lines to “f**k the suburbs.”