THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

REVIEW: Brockhampton’s newest release disappoints

Online editor Natalie Sadek reviews Brockhampton's album,

Courtesy RCA Records

Online editor Natalie Sadek reviews Brockhampton's album, "iridescence," writing that it failed to reach the bar previously set by this alternative music group.

Natalie Sadek, Online Editor

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Brockhampton redefined the music industry’s idea of boy bands and hip hop with their alternative rap sound. Their collaborative work went beyond engaging 13 year old fangirls, like most other stereotypical boy bands, and aimed to produce music with a unique sound and deep meaning.

Their latest release, “iridescence”, fell short of the high standards set by their previous albums. It was evident the group had to find a new dynamic, with the loss of the band’s main MC Ameer Vann due to sexual misconduct allegations in May 2018. The loss of Vann must have been incredibly difficult to navigate, as he was a key member in the band.

They had produced their previous project, “SATURATION III” in December 2017, only leaving for nine months to produce their latest 15 song project, in addition to restructuring themselves due to loss of their star MC. I believe instead of rushing a sub par project, the group should have waited to find a new way to cope with the loss and produced a project up to their standards.  

The most listened to song on the album, “NEW ORLEANS”, only has eight million streams on Spotify as of November, whereas their top hits on previous albums climb towards 40 million streams. “NEW ORLEANS” is a mix of noisy background sounds and seemingly meaningless lyrics, yet it is still the most successful on the album.

Unlike their previous albums, most of the songs on their new project blended together with overproduced alternative beats and amateur rapping. It seemed as though they were trying to mimic a sound similar to that of Travis Scott, but failed immensely. Listeners, including myself, came in with high expectations but were met with a failed attempt to be “abstract.”

Brockhampton is unique and does not have a single genre to identify with, as they can be labelled as pop-rap, alternative hip hop and a number of other things. They were met with incredible success on their previous albums because very few other musicians were producing the same kind of content. Yet, it seems as though the temptation to become mainstream was too compelling, and the group sought to morph into something they were not.

Whether it be due to a loss of a key member, an attempt to become mainstream or a combination of the two, Brockhampton lost the momentum that had accompanied them on their previous projects. I applaud the group for attempting a new style, however I hope with the lack of success on their latest project, they realize they must tackle one obstacle at a time, rather than fail in both categories. Although this album fell short, I have high hopes that the group will learn from this and produce music of the same quality they once did.

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About the Writer
Natalie Sadek, Online Editor

Natalie started writing for The Harbinger in journalism her freshman year. She became the assistant online/ social media editor when she was a sophomore,...

1 Comment

One Response to “REVIEW: Brockhampton’s newest release disappoints”

  1. Maddie on December 6th, 2018 3:08 pm

    Hm. Where do I start with this…

    As a fan and follower of Brockhampton, I have to first lay out my initial bias to this topic. I do agree this album has not been as successful as their other releases, but your argument to support this is extremely weak and your claim doesn’t justify your argument.

    Although Ameer Vann was an important member of the group, you should know that he is not one of the main writers for their songs. That being said, there is no real correlation with the impacts of their lyrics with the newest release.

    I’m not sure what you mean by saying their lyrics in NEW ORLEANS doesn’t make sense and are ‘meaningless’… that sounds like something a person would say if they weren’t considering the composition of the song AND lyrics. Brockhampton’s innovative beats and experimentation is something I admire most about the band, because they are not about producing one-hit wonder bops; they are in the industry to make art. Additionally, the placement of this song is very important. This is the first song on the track, and the point of the song is to tell everyone they are back and not holding anything back. Which, is referring to the fact Vann is gone.

    Furthermore, this album talks a LOT about the personal struggles the members have experienced with their hype. For example, WEIGHT where Kevin Abstract highlights the mental illness struggles members have experienced and how it has taken a toll on them as a whole for being famous. SAN MARCOS is another example of a song that represents their hope for continuing down the path they have ventured, as they say in the repeated lyric “I want more out of like that this, I want more, I want more”. And SOMETHING ABOUT HIM highlights Brockhampton’s unapologetic ideas of acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community, which is something the band has carried with them throughout their whole fame of being Brockhampton. WHERE THE CASH AT, BERLIN, and J’OUVERT are easily to-be popular bops in the future for their distinct and hype-like styles, similar to their already popular songs that have had a lot of streams on Spotify. Thier previous Saturation releases have been out for almost a year now. Give this release a break. It hasn’t even been out long enough to get the stream amounts mentioned with their previous songs.

    Ever thought what Iridescence means? iridescence. 1 : a lustrous rainbowlike play of color caused by differential refraction of light waves (as from an oil slick, soap bubble, or fish scales) that tends to change as the angle of view changes. 2 : a lustrous or attractive quality or effect. Without knowing this definition or Brockhampton, again, it would be easy to downplay this release. But compared to their other albums, this has been the biggest comeback and important album for the band.

    Overall, the cohesiveness of the album’s themes and innovative tunes are stronger qualities than their lack of hype for this release. It has not disappointed fans, rather, people who only joined the bandwagon of the band. Their fans were drawn in for their creativity, social-justice, and art. Anyone who doesn’t care for those themes would be disappointed in this release because of their inability to understand the roots of the band and what their music is about.

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REVIEW: Brockhampton’s newest release disappoints