BROCKHAMPTON’s iridescence showcases pronounced strengths

Dylan Whybra, Asst. Editor

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I was awoken by a buzz from my phone around 4 AM on Sept. 20. I had received a notification from YouTube that BROCKHAMPTON (stylized in all uppercase) started a livestream titled “#iridescencelive.”

The cover of BROCKHAMPTON’s fourth album, iridescence

After that I promptly rolled over and went back to bed, only to awake once again in a few hours. Later that day I looked into what exactly this was and I learned that this was a countdown to a livestream of BROCKHAMPTON performing their upcoming album, iridescence (stylized in all lowercase) for the first time. It was happening.

Previously, BROCKHAMPTON had promised three different albums (Team Effort, PUPPY & The Best Years Of Our Lives) that each individually were meant to follow the now critically acclaimed SATURATION Trilogy and were never released. Each album running into issues of their own, the most prominent being that founding member of BROCKHAMPTON, Ameer Vann would be removed from the group.

Accusations arose claiming that Ameer had been engaging in sexual misconduct. Ameer would admit to engaging in behaviors that were considered by many to be emotionally and verbally abusive, but he denied all sexual misconduct allegations. This led to Ameer Vann’s removal from BROCKHAMPTON, not because of the allegations themselves but instead because the group felt as though Ameer betrayed their trust, which they valued highly.

Throughout June & July BROCKHAMPTON announced that this next album would be called The Best Years Of Our Lives, which was thought to release because of the 3 singles released in July. It wasn’t until late August that the band announced that the next album would be called iridescence, the fourth promised album. This album, like the others, was said

to be released with all new material, the one exception being TONYA, which they performed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Jun. 20.

 

BROCKHAMPTON’s fourth studio album iridescence differs from the other three for a few reasons. Not only is iridescence not of the SATURATION trilogy, but it was not recorded at the BROCKHAMPTON house in Van Nuys, CA, it was recorded mainly at Abbey Road in London.

The album genuinely feels like a BROCKHAMPTON project, while at the same time breaking away from the formula of the SAT trilogy and putting more emphasis on the content of the verses and less emphasis on the hooks and melodies of the album. It shows in it that the verses on this album seem more polished than in the past achieving the listener’s full attention with ease.

The themes on this album are pronounced and present themselves throughout. The baggage that comes with the boy band’s new found fame, personal struggles of group members and genuine introspection are all themes found on iridescence. The album is consistent in the sense that that you consistently have no idea what is going to happen next with the production. The band goes in so many directions it’s incredible.

The transitions of NEW ORLEANS to THUG LIFE and J’OUVERT to HONEY are breathtaking. The production on WEIGHT in particular is fantastic with Joba’s verse seemingly providing an optimistic window behind an uptempo beat in between Kevin Abstract & Dom McLennon’s somber verses behind low tempo production.

Throughout the album, effects are placed on each member’s voice (pitching the verse up or down, adding reverb, distortion, etc) which consistently sets and changes the feeling of each track. TONYA is a track with dynamic production and noticeable effects on the members’ voices; it does a phenomenal job at making me extremely sad while listening to it and still sits as one of my favorite songs on the project.

With the loss of Ameer Vann, bearface was assumed to have a greater interaction and rise to a highe

r role, but I personally think Joba came into his own throughout all of iridescence and stood out the most. From his background vocals on FABRIC saying, “You can pick me to pieces” to his extremely aggressive verse on J’OUVERT.

 

I feel like Joba took over every track he was on, continuously surprising the listener with his versatility.

While I did enjoy this album as a whole, it did differ from the SAT trilogy noticeably. Some people have expressed concerns that the group’s sound has changed and will remain this way. I personally couldn’t disagree more. This album was important in the sense that it put eyes on the group to see if they could land on their feet while losing the presence of one of their integral members. It feels like in the process of making this album the band seemingly had an identity crisis in terms of what the final product should sound like and thus they had various different albums announced.

At the point of this project, they seemingly let go and just made the album (only taking 10 days to record) how they felt it should be, regardless of what anyone else thought. After seeing the tweet from Kevin that read “THANKS TO EVERYBODY STREAMING THE ALBUM NO LEAD SINGLE NOT MANY HOOKS JUST WHAT WE WERE FEELIN THANK YOU” I feel confident that I am correct in this assumption.

With all the background information considered, this album feels good. It feels like a solid body of work that I expect to improve over more time with the album.

Many albums can fall short when trying to force a different sound, but this clearly came organically. While the album does have flaws, I feel most of them are hidden by the pronounced strengths of it.

An album shows its true colors as it ages; BROCKHAMPTON’s iridescence makes a good first impression and seems to fit well in the boy band’s discography.

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BROCKHAMPTON’s iridescence showcases pronounced strengths