BROCKHAMPTON – iridescence
Written by TJ Petras on October 18, 2018
By: Chase Aulis
Brockhampton, “America’s Favorite Boy Band”, has recently made their major label debut with RCA records on with their album iridescence. Kevin Abstract, Joba, Dom McLennon, Matt Champion, Merlyn Wood, and Bearface make up the one of a kind collective that heavily focuses, on diversity and inclusion. The boy band took 2017 by storm releasing three albums with one year of each other named the Saturation trilogy. But, after allegations against Ameer Vann, it seemed as if Brockhampton may not be able to recover. After canceling multiple albums, the group announced iridescence, an album recorded at Abbey Road in just seven days and released it on September 21, 2018.
iridescence is a departure from the Saturation trilogy while still being very familiar to long time Brockhampton fans. This is very apparent on the opening track “NEW ORLEANS.” This track incorporates a droning bassline and highlights every almost every member of the group. While the bassline is very unique and makes you excited for what is to come, lyrically it is underwhelming. It feels as if it lacks cohesion and just tries to get as many voices on to the track as possible. But, with that being said, sonically the song makes up for it and only music snobs will realize the glaring issues with this and other tracks.
This struggle continues on “BERLIN” and “WHERE THE CASH AT?” Both of these tracks just feel hollow and missing the element of fun that makes Brockhampton great. The instrumentals on both are droning and there’s almost no variation to them. Pair that with no memorable lines that you can look forward to, it makes for a boring experience that will have you skipping to the next track on the album. “WHERE THE CASH AT?” does deliver one short verse from Matt Champion that is notable, but the group could have utilized him more on the track to help it stand out from its repetitive chorus.
iridescence has big shoes to fill after Saturation III, an album with essentially no major hiccups and multiple songs that have become essential among many Brockhampton fans. This album may have its flaws, but when it is good, it is AMAZING. The album also needs to be listened to multiple times before these tracks really get cemented in your head and you are able to fully comprehend the narrative they are trying to convey with multiple people performing.
“THUG LIFE” is the second track on the album and I think the reason a listener will really continue to hold on. Bearface is able to deliver a vocal performance that is flawless and beautiful. Paired with the auto tune, it is able to catch your ear and make you feel like the rappers are choking up. It is an amazing preview of what is to come later.
Upbeat, moshing, and memorable lyrics are what Brockhampton is known for. “HONEY” is able to deliver all three of these aspects and is sure to be a live performance favorite. The bass is bouncing and makes you want to dance and sing every lyric. Dom really kills his verse and you can tell he is having fun with it. The awesome part of this track is that halfway through it slows down using a Beyoncé sample and heavy autotune. They then proceed to sample themselves from “BUMP” which is a great callback from longtime fans.
The frontman Kevin Abstract has been the lead of buzz around the internet with the emotional track “WEIGHT.” A song about the mental weight the group experiences from different aspects of their life. It is a very emotional track that is very reminiscent of his solo albums. Joba also features on this track and makes it his own style as usual. The sample on this track is very haunting and talks about a stolen bike, but it just feels right and fits the theme of the song. The track finishes with their signature droning bass line with almost a hook that is instead on the end of the song to take you into the next.
The standout track on this album was debuted on Jimmy Fallon months earlier and it is entitled “TONYA” after the infamous Tonya Harding. A major theme of this album is the fallout of fame and how it is not as good as it is made out to be. The use of piano in this song helps bring out that theme and really drive it home. Kevin Abstract, Bearface, Merlyn Wood, and Joba all are able to bring emotionally compelling verses that make you feel for the group. Even if you are not a Brockhampton fan, this track will either make you one or at minimum a fan of this song.
Overall, while iridescence may not be the masterpiece that everyone was expecting. It still delivered enough to make fans happy and recruit new fans. There are plenty of memorable tracks that make up for any missteps taken. If Brockhampton can keep up this pace they are sure to completely penetrate the main stream and become a household name in the near future.
Favorite tracks: “WEIGHT,” “HONEY,” “TONYA”