by Grant Foskett
BROCKHAMPTON can best be described by Dom McLennon’s line on ‘Fake’ off the group’s first album, “We turn weird shit to a commodity.” The fourteen member boy band is defined by their contradiction. They set out with a goal to saturate the music industry with their own brand of oddball hip hop and redefine what it means to be a boy band and a popstar in the Internet age. They’re diverse, young, and driven and bursted into the music scene with three excellent albums in the second half of 2017. They wear their influences on their sleeve, but have clearly cultivated their own unique sound. No one does – and no one has done – what BROCKHAMPTON is doing, and that in itself makes them interesting. Plus, they make some damn good music.
Saturation III begins with the absolutely infective ‘BOOGIE,’ the group’s most insane single by far. The track features blaring police sirens, squawking horns, and a gripping dance beat that absolutely warrant the title. On top of the beat, each rapper comes through with a tight, energetic mini-verse featuring call-backs galore from JOBA’s hook, “Break necks, I’m the chiropractor” to Kevin Abstract’s “Best boy band since One Direction.” As the first track, ‘BOOGIE’ clearly sets the tone for what to expect on the rest of Saturation III. The album features some of BROCKHAMPTON’s best production and experimentation as well as some of the best verses the group has ever released. ‘SISTER/NATION,’ for example, sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before. The former rides on the energy of a wacky beat immaculately produced by Romil Hemnani, who uses some excellent drum fills and synth bursts to create a hypnotizing canvas for Matt Champion and Dom McLennon’s fast-paced verses and an auto-tuned hook from Kevin Abstract. After the song’s beat-change ‘NATION’ comes in as a slower, dreamy cut juxtaposed by another scrambling verse from Dom.
‘BLEACH’ also stands out as one of the group’s best songs to date. Originally featured in the short film ‘Billy Star,’ released just days before the album, ‘BLEACH’ is slow and somber. The track highlights an auto tuned feature by Ryan Beatty on the chorus where he sums up the song’s introspective tone as “Who got the feeling? Tell me why I cry when I feel it.” Ameer Vann reflects on depression and drug use, declaring “I found false hope in all kinda places. Hotel rooms and temporary feelings,” to which Dom McLennon questions “Do you make mistakes or do you make a change?” Along with ‘BLEACH,’ the final track ‘TEAM’ is another example of BROCKHAMPTON’s capacity for stylistic diversity. A shoegaze inspired ballad washed out in reverb, the first part of ‘TEAM’, unofficially known as ‘EVANIE,’ is the work of BROCKHAMPTON’s most enigmatic member, bearface. It’s a beautiful wall of sound that showcases bearface’s saccharine voice before switching abruptly to the more traditional rap sound of ‘TEAM.’.Kevin Abstract hits hard by opening up with ‘Little old me, I thought my world was progressive ‘cause my president was black,’ and the other members trickle in to give one final thought before the song fades out into the beat of the first song on the first Saturation, ‘HEAT,’ simultaneously ending Saturation III and the Saturation trilogy as a whole.
To me, it’s clear that BROCKHAMPTON will herald in a new era of Internet-age music. The group’s diversity and DIY-ethic combined with their meteoric rise to fame all represent something the music industry has never seen before. Because of this, I think it’s clear that America’s favorite boy band will inspire a whole generation of creativity to follow their dreams, and if any of them come even close to the level of quality BROCKHAMPTON has consistently produced, we’ll be very lucky.