Rating – 7.5
If you thought 2017 wasn’t big year for the hottest hip-hop boy band, 2018 has catapulted BROCKHAMPTON to different heights. Since their Saturation trilogy, which all released within the span of half a year, the group has gained much more traction with the general public as they continue to outgrow their niche. If the three Saturation projects served as a general rookie effort from BROCKHAMPTON in the spotlight, iridescence follows the traditional formula for a second album.
Not to any surprise, iridescence’s subject matter is primarily about that first adjustment to fame that is typical to second projects. The first track, “NEW ORLEANS” comes right out the gate with stardom-risen lyrics as Kevin Abstract raps “Tell the world, I ain’t scared of nothin’. Tell the world, I ain’t scared of jumpin’.” Even Jaden Smith makes an appearance on the opener, if that gives any more indication of the hype around the group as of late. Could he be a possible BROCKHAMPTON member? While the subject matter does give a bit of a “we have heard this before” feeling, some of the strongest cuts on the album feature similar topics blended in a more personal way. “WEIGHT” is a highlight to album as Kevin Abstract stands out with a very personal opening first speaking in more detail to his sexual orientation and insecurities as a creative.
Sonically speaking, the album is still very BROCKHAMPTON. That is not to say they didn’t try anything out of their usual territory though. iridescence is supposed to be a new trilogy in itself and it does incorporate enough different elements to be justified. Nonetheless, this project is most reminiscent of the smooth pop influenced Saturation III. “THUG LIFE” has a very smooth melody that is reminiscent to something heard from a 90’s boy band. “SAN MARCOS” probably takes the cake as the strongest and most soothing cut. In what is one of the biggest departures from their rambunctious rapping, this song blends an underutilized Matt Champion on the opening verse with a Kevin Abstract bride, then into a beautifully auto-tuned Bearface hook. The slowly creaking guitar riff provides a minimal foundation for the artists to do their thing.
The weaker elements on the album come from a sense of discombobulation. I cannot say if Ameer’s departure from the group is the reason, but it certainly didn’t help. It is inevitable to
feel that a little with any group this large, but with more effort used to push the sound, it just seemed liked the boys could not fully come together on tracks like “J’OUVERT” and “DISTRICT.”
iridescence is somewhat of a rehash of past work, but it is puzzling as a listener when their more ambitious tracks are the weaker ones. Maybe there needs to be more time in between
for the group to collect and more efficiently ground their experimental concepts. There are undoubtedly talented artists in “BROCKHAMPTON” and that talent in itself was enough to keep
this album serviceable until they can gain a bit more chemistry in their new era of stardom.
iridescence streaming everywhere. http://brckhmptn.com/