Blake Williamson is a junior journalism major who writes "Blake's Beats" for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Blake at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s what you do: go to Track 10 on Brockhampton’s newest album “iridescence,” press play on a little number entitled “J’OUVERT" and tell me that the self-proclaimed “America’s hardest working boyband” has run out of things to say.
This album is a picture perfect representation of the group, featuring blistering verses from Kevin Abstract, Matt Champion, Joba, Bearface, Dom Mclennon, and my personal favorite member, Merlyn Wood.
But by no means should you only listen to Track 10. “iridescence,” which came out Sept. 21, 2018, is so much more than that. It is something that should be taken as a whole and beautiful sprawl. An album that deserves to be listened to from start to finish, so the listener can fully immerse themselves in the world of sound and color that is the new Brockhampton.
Following their very successful run of albums, the “SATURATIONS” trilogy, there were very lofty expectations for this album. From signing a major label deal with RCA in March 2018, to making the difficult decision to remove a founding member amidst sexual assault allegations, the group had a very long summer to regroup and to begin crafting what I think to be their most defining moment so far.
The chemistry that oozes off of this record is palpable, you can hear it in every track. Trading verses, allowing each member to say what they have to say without anything ever feeling crowded or forced.
The sounds on this album are a step away from their previous work but it still has that signature Brockhampton sound. This album was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London, England which gave them a full array of different sounds to play with.That lends itself to the new sound, more experimentation and overall risk taking.
Before “iridescence,” everything was recorded at their house in Los Angeles. It still had that raw feeling, that sound of a bunch of kids who are just trying to make it.
Now we get a more polished Brockhampton, but it still retains that rawness that I found so endearing.
One of my favorite things about this album is the turns that it takes, the little moments that just make the album for me. Like the choir on “SAN MARCOS” or the Beyonce sample on “HONEY."
It is like a Pollock painting: Up close it looks like a mess, but once you step away and take in the whole thing, it becomes a beautiful work of art.
All the little elements that work together to create the whole. Like scenes from a favorite movie, it is these little pieces that keep me coming back for more. A perfect example of this is on the track “WEIGHT,” where the tone completely shifts from an electronic atmosphere to a smoked out laid back one, complete with record scratches and distorted vocals. It then goes to Joba, lyrically delivering the thesis of this album:
“Pressure makes me lash back,
Wish I could get past that,
I can’t take a step back,
Makes me wish you’d pass that.”
Another thing I truly love about this album is that each member came with their A-Game. Every single one of them stands out without diminishing the shine of the others.
“TAPE” is exactly this. Members floating over a beat that interpolates a Radiohead sample, where Kevin Abstract grapples with his mom’s health issues, Joba tackling personal growth, and Matt Champion talking about the perils of fame and how it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
One of the standout tracks on the album is “HONEY.” It has a sound that puts you in a trance and features great verses from Kevin Abstract and Dom McLennon. But what really gets me is the end of the song, the beat completely changes and it goes into an atmospheric sound with a sample from “BUMP” off of “SATURATION.”
It reminds me of a rocket taking off, building up steam, and then just releasing into the atmosphere, it feels like you’re flying.
Brockhampton has definitely changed, but why shouldn’t they have? They have had a year of success mixed with controversy and they still were able to craft a beautiful piece of work. We are watching the growth of a bunch of 20-somethings chasing their dream, and letting us along for the ride.
Get lost in “iridescence.” Put on a pair of headphones and press play and go on a journey with Brockhampton. It’s a journey that has moments of vulnerability and moments of all out war but it is a journey that is worth every second.