BROCKHAMPTON – SATURATION II Album Review
Since bursting on to the scene earlier this year, BROCKHAMPTON’s popularity and momentum has not faltered in the slightest. The Los Angeles-based collective are a self-proclaimed “American Boy Band,” keeping all production, vocals, and artwork for both their previous album SATURATION and their new album SATURATION II within the group. Already being universally praised after their debut album SATURATION just two months prior, BROCKHAMPTON takes another strong step forward with SATURATION II, putting the group into the Album of the Year conversation.
The biggest improvement over SATURATION for BROCKHAMPTON is the cohesion, and that starts and ends with the production. Most of the songs on SATURATION II come back to a punchy bass that rattles in your ear. The songs that show of the more R&B portion of the collective show up later in the album and thus are a more mellow way to close the album. The album does not suddenly go mellow in the middle and the many MCs of BROCKHAMPTON shine over the menacing production.
Another strong point for BROCKHAMPTON are their hooks, which is a carryover from SATURATION. “SWAMP” and “GAMBA” have some of the most memorable hooks of 2017 and after only a few listens they are ingrained in your memory. This extends to the chorus of several songs as well as “GUMMY” and “JELLO” have incredibly strong choruses.
A complaint for some people would be the aforementioned lower inclusion of the more R&B part of BROCKHAMPTON, but for rap fans that just means better and longer verses from the best of the collective. Kevin Abstract’s opening verse on “GUMMY” is one of the best verses of 2017 as he kicks the tape into high gear and makes very clear this entire album will be far more aggressive throughout. Ameer Vann gives a scathing set of bars on “CHICK” as he lays waste to the group’s internet haters. Matt Champion on “JELLO” shows off his lyrical prowess, as well as his ability to effortless flow on a track. There are numerous feats of excellent verses and there could be an entire write-up about those alone.
The weakest parts of SATURATION II are those few songs at the tail end that have more of an R&B feel. Everything BROCHAMPTON has done in rap feels so fresh and new, but the R&B songs do not feel the same within the genre. They are not bad songs, but when there is a rap group that is pushing one genre so far forward, these tracks cannot be ignored. “SUMMER,” over a powerful guitar riff, just feels like a very generic song about wanting love and is extremely repetitive lyrically. “SUNNY” has the lyricism that “SUMMER” is missing, but feels much simpler production-wise. These are songs that may be more well suited on a full R&B project, but here they just feel out of place and bring the project quality down slightly.
Even with that though, when any group can go 14 songs into any album and most of that still feel new and fresh before it gets repetitive, that is very impressive. BROCKHAMPTON have refined their sound to a place where they could probably put out SATURATION III tomorrow and it still would feel fresh. SATURATION III is planned for some time before the end of the year, but BROCKHAMPTON may not be able to top their efforts of their sequel project.
David Arroyo is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Senior / Broadcast Journalism