Does it compare to SATURATION?
After their six months hiatus following the quick succession of four albums and the allegations against one of their main rappers, Ameer Vann, BROCKHAMPTON have released GINGER. A record that is meant to show their new musical direction, however as a huge BROCKHAMPTON fan I feel this record has lost the old magic they had and the amazing creative flow of their SATURATION trilogy. GINGER was born from the band’s relationship with actor Shia LeBeouf, who now holds weekly group therapy sessions at Abstract’s place. This may be why GINGER takes on a more melancholy tone through emphasising the themes of youthful angst, feeling lost and disconnected. However, the group’s lead, Kevin Abstract, told GQ in June that they wanted to create a “summer album”, but GINGER is far from it. There is no feel good summer anthem and mainly just feels slightly depressing. Though there are a few bangers on GINGER, it does not make up for the dip in quality.
The first track of the new record, ‘NO HALO’, shows the new direction BROCKHAMPTON are going in. Compared to other albums this is a rather subdued opener for BROCKHAMPTON, especially when looking at songs like ‘BOOGIE’, ‘GUMMY’ and ‘HEAT’ which are some of their most critically acclaimed tracks. Saying this, ‘NO HALO’ is a decent song and is quite relaxing and allows members to showcase all their vocal and lyrical ability with a smooth guitar strum and gentle percussion.
Though GINGER takes on a more sombre tone, ‘ST. PERCY’ takes a completely different direction, sticking to the true BROCKHAMPTON fashion of a massive bass and great production; ‘ST. PERCY’ has to be one of the best songs on the album. Compared to SATURATION this song has more subtle layers making it charming and shows their musical growth. Some of BROCKHAMPTON’s smoothest transitions appear from Texas inspired rap to soulful blues. Not even to mention BEARFACE has his own verse and raps, something fans (and myself) have been waiting for. ‘ST. PERCY’ takes BROCKHAMPTON out of their comfort zone, portraying why they can be considered the best boyband since One Direction (as Abstract proclaims). This can be said for ‘IF YOU PRAY RIGHT’, which is basically two songs combined into one, but is just so superbly done.
In ‘DEARLY DEPARTED’ the band directly discuss the Ameer Vann sexual allegations and how his actions affected the band; this song is almost a farewell to that era of BROCKHAMPTON’s life. The track is also used as a farewell for JOBA and Matt Champion’s grandparents who they have lost, making this song quite relatable. ‘DEARLY DEPARTED’ uses blues and soul as a foundation making it perfect for the tone of the song.
The title track is probably one of the worst songs on the album. With its gloomy production and disjointed verses, this song has an important meaning and message but it isn’t effective. There are multiple vocal performances on this track but they are all in different styles making it quite messy. The record has many collaborations , the best one definitely has to be on ‘HEAVEN BELONGS TO YOU’, featuring the distinctive flow of slowthai. This is a shocking collaboration but is one that shows how good the production of BROCKHAMPTON can be as they adapt the song to fit slowthai’s flow perfectly. Making it one of the stand-out tracks on GINGER.
The issue with rating BROCKHAMPTON is that we have seen how great they can be, making it frustrating when some songs are not up to the standard that we have seen before. Though GINGER as a whole can be seen as slightly disappointing there are some amazing songs on the album, such as ‘ST. PERCY’ and ‘IF YOU PRAY RIGHT’. It may not be an album you would replay but individual songs are something to add to a playlist.
BROCKHAMPTON’s GINGER is out now via RCA Records.