November 14, 2018

Brockhampton’s “Iridescence” delivers an eclectic yet messy album experience

Sam Mitchell '19, Staff Writer

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(Originally published October 23, 2018)

America’s self-proclaimed ‘hardest working boy band’, Brockhampton, returned on September 21 to drop their record label debut album.

Formed in 2015, Brockhampton is a rap group who by 2016 had released their first album. 2017 brought the group’s first massive success with the “Saturation” trilogy, which consisted of three albums spread out over the course of the year. These albums received high praise from critics and everyday listeners alike.

Sheldon Pierce, a writer for Pitchfork, a music review magazine, described the group as, “creators, dreamers, and lovers finding their voices in fellowship”.

Since then, Brockhampton has signed a major record label deal. Leading up to the release of Iridescence, however, there has been much controversy.

The long, tumultuous road to this album’s release began with the removal of key group member Ameer Vann, who was accused of sexual assault back in May. Vann was featured on the previous three album covers and had become one of the more memorable group members.

Since his removal, Brockhampton spent much of the summer searching for a new identity. They released some singles, which were eventually scrapped, and ultimately came to Iridescence, which signaled a rebirth of sorts for the group.

The album begins with the wild “NEW ORLEANS”, a track where despite its intense verses, the song felt somewhat rushed and unnecessarily aggressive. “THUG LIFE”, however brings a somber and emotional tone, that works effectively.

The record then transitions through another cycle or two of high energy songs, followed by sad and introspective songs, until “WEIGHT” which features an outstanding lead verse about childhood and his sexuality from main singer/vocalist Kevin Abstract.

After “WEIGHT”, Brockhampton shifts into a more focused and emotionally mature sound in the back half that has been commented on by critics.

Anthony Fantano, a Youtube album reviewer, describes the album as a whole as “emotional and creative maturation despite occasionally gimmicky production” with “some members being outshined by others”.

Pitchfork, a music review magazine, reviewer, Reed Jackson, had slightly more critical things to say.

“The group’s fourth record is a pummeling collection of mosh-pit conductors, crowded songs, and fleeting moments of delicacy,” said Jackson.

Casual listeners at the high school seem interested in “America’s hardest working boy band” but have also been somewhat critical.

Cam Covert ’19 said, “I really enjoyed ‘J’OUVERT’, and a couple others but it didn’t quite have the appeal of the Saturation albums.”

George Luzatis ’20 said, “I definitely enjoyed a lot of the tracks on it and will likely put a bunch of them on my playlists, but a bunch of them didn’t really catch my interest and in the end, I think hurt the album.”

Overall, the results of Brockhampton’s experiments and attempts to find a new identity, while occasionally breathtaking and beautiful, often times felt forced and disjointed.

Personal rating: 7/10

 

Listen to Iridescence here:

(Explicit lyrics: Viewer’s discretion is advised.)

In other music news, Anderson .Paak recently released a single called “Tints” for his upcoming album. This fantastic track features incredible Anderson .Paak vocals, and a great feature verse from Kendrick Lamar over a smooth beat. Listen to it here:

(Explicit lyrics: Viewer’s discretion is advised.)

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