BROCKHAMPTON – iridescence Album Review
Since bursting onto the scene in 2017, BROCKHAMPTON has become one of, if not the most, hyped acts in music. They built a large following on the back of their debut album SATURATION and the trilogy of albums it spawned. Their rise to fame was not without controversy though as the group had to remove founding member Ameer Vann due to abuse allegations against the former member. It was something BROCKHAMPTON seemed to have a lot of difficulty dealing with both publicly and privately, but the group pushed through, moving to London to create what would be their major label debut. Now, on IRIDESCENCE, their first album distributed by RCA, BROCKHAMPTON gets deeply personally about their new lives of fames.
With the aforementioned departure of Vann, there are bound to be members with larger roles than on past albums and those members appear to be bear face and Joba. On multiple songs, these two individually provide fantastic choruses, outros and overall verses and serve as the glue of those songs. On “BERLIN,” bear face provides a perfect hook that is sure to blare throughout the cars of BROCKHAMPTON fans and Joba closes the song with the most interest verse of any of the members, choosing a different flow and rap style from the rest of his group members. Joba in “DISTRICT” provides the incredibly infectious “simmer down” lyric and this impossible not to sing along to and follows it up later in the song with the dark, but undeniably catchy, “Praise God, hallelujah! I’m still depressed.” Joba has more range than anyone in the group and he continues to be sporadic and chaotic to the benefit of the group.
The production of the group also continues to be topnotch. “NEW ORLEANS,” the opening track of iridescence, comes out of the gate pounding and sets the scene for the album to be the biggest banger of the year. But the group is able to seamlessly transition that song into “THUG LIFE” and an album as a whole that bounces between melodically soothing and punchingly fierce, like a kangaroo with boxing gloves is punching you in the ears with a bass drum.
There are two records on this album though that stand head and shoulders above the rest. The first is “WEIGHT,” headlined by Kevin Abstract’s standout verse. Each member gives a look inside how fame has affected them, but none is more clear and personal than Abstract’s, who on the song continues to talk about and look deeply at his sexuality. He starts the verse, “They split my world into pieces, I ain’t heard from my nieces,” a clear look at how fame has caused distance between him and his family. He follows that up admitting his own insecurities about feeling like “the worst in the boyband” and talks about the people who suddenly need him now that he has money but not having time for those people when he is more worried about his friends suffering from self-harm. Abstract ends the verse on a familiar note for the rapper but hits powerfully nonetheless. “And every time she took her bra off my d*** would get soft,” Abstract raps, detailing a past relationship before he came out.
Another one of the standout records is “SAN MARCOS,” another song that alludes to their life before fame in San Marcos, Texas. Each member takes a deep look at their various demons, Joba going as far to speak on his suicidal thoughts before admit he could never commit suicide. In the end, the song ends with an outro from the London Community Gospel Choir singing, “I want more out of life than this.” From that perspective, although the group loves where they are at, it is clear that they just want more than to be making great music together as friends and want their happiness to continue to improve.
There are other strong tracks dealing with these topics such as “HONEY, “TAPE” and “TONYA,” the song they debuted on late night television. The team is clearly struggling to handle the new fame they now have and what it is they should and should not be doing. It is a deeply personal and potentially upsetting first album for fans of the group but shows the maturation of a young boy band. As they continue to grow and come into their own, the group will likely continue to gain commercial success, which could only complicate their lives more and provide them with even more introspection for themselves.
David Arroyo is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Senior / Broadcast Journalism