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Music Quickspins

QUICKSPINS: BROCKHAMPTON – ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE

ROADRUNNER is a return to the lively energetic form BROCKHAMPTON became known for.

BROCKHAMPTON’s newest LP ROADRUNNER is a departure from the depressive and mellow aesthetic of their last album GINGER, as this new record sees the boy band going towards a more mature and hopeful direction.

ROADRUNNER is BROCKHAMPTON’s seventh major release in five years, and even though there was a year-and-a half-long wait for a new record, which seems like an eternity for the band, they did the right thing — taking time for themselves to breathe and let the dust settle after GINGER.

On GINGER, BROCKHAMPTON’s mood was at an all-time-low, mostly dealing with the departure of member Ameer Vann, resulting in some of their most downhearted and desperate songs to date. ROADRUNNER truly proves that the boy band has turned the page for good on this somber chapter by delivering one of their most focused and absorbing projects to date.

The band is undoubtedly in great shape on this new album and offers anything you would want or see from a BROCKHAMPTON record. They deliver their most aggressive and in-your-face bangers like on “BANKROLL” and on the abrasive opener “BUZZCUT,” which, in the context of the album, strikes even harder than solely as a single. They also haven’t shied away from making some of the most polished and sweetest pop tunes in the industry with songs like “I’LL TAKE YOU ON” and “WHAT’S THE OCCASION?” — both containing some of their most infectious and enticing choruses to date.

As is standard on a BROCKHAMPTON album, we can’t forget a bearface-led outro track that instantly puts you in your feelings, like on “DEAR LORD.” The boy band still finds time to unwind with some laid back and feel-good rap unmissables with songs such as “WHEN I BALL” and “WINDOWS,” the latter being a posse cut that sees every member come up with a hard-hitting verse. ROADRUNNER surely has something for everyone to enjoy while also being extremely reliable.

Kevin Abstract and Dom McLennon especially shine on this project with introspective verses, dropping one bar after another. Highlights include Kevin’s verse on “BUZZCUT,” “THE LIGHT” and on “THE LIGHT PT.II,” and Dom’s verses on “CHAIN ON” and “WHEN I BALL.”

Although the performances are top-notch, it is the production that unquestionably steals the show. Every single beat on this project is incredibly well-crafted and thoughtful, all aiming for a clear sentiment in their own unique way. Some of the best instrumentals include “COUNT ON ME,” “BANKROLL,” and “THE LIGHT.”

ROADRUNNER is the closest BROCKHAMPTON has come to reaching the level of greatness they once achieved on the legendary SATURATION trilogy, with the new endeavour seeing the boy band pursue this epic run. This new album is another incredible installment in their discography and is one of their most consistent and meticulous efforts yet.

Score: 9/10

Trial track: “COUNT ON ME”

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Quickspins

QUICKSPINS: BROCKHAMPTON – Ginger

Following a brief venture into experimental territory, BROCKHAMPTON have returned with a much more focused album in Ginger. This isn’t a return to the bright, fun style the boy band perfected during their Saturation era. This is a brooding album with each track focusing on the struggles each member has had to deal with since the controversial removal of ex-member Ameer Vann. These struggles are best highlighted on the standout track “DEARLY DEPARTED” which features one of Dom McLennon’s best verses ever,

Setting the tone early, “NO HALO” is a dark, string-led track bringing the best out of each member.  The M.V.P. of this album is undoubtedly Bearface, whose vocals have reached new heights, especially on tracks like “BIG BOY” and “VICTOR ROBERTS.”

Ginger is a triumphant success that shows just how much America’s best boy band has grown over the last year.

8.5/10

Trial Track: “NO HALO”

Star Bar:

“When somebody that you know throws you in the fire
How do you survive?
I kicked down the door inside a home I didn’t own just to save a friend’s life
Little did I know, the one who pulled the strings was once on my side
I had just moved to Texas, tried to make it right”

-Dom McLennon on “DEARLY DEPARTED”

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Music

Hip hop “boy band” perform for sold-out Montreal crowd

Brockhampton call themselves the best boy band since One Direction—and they very well might be

The L.A.-based alternative hip hop collective Brockhampton performed for a sold-out crowd at the Corona Theatre on Feb. 6. Montreal was the 15th stop on the group’s Love Your Parents Tour, following the release of their third studio album, Saturation 3, in December 2017.

As the crowd filled the dimly lit venue, fans sporting orange jumpsuits and blue face paint—a look made famous by the group—hurried to find spots closest to the stage.

Brockhampton is an independent collective of 20-somethings who met on an Internet forum. The 14 musicians and visual artists, who hail everywhere from Texas to Ireland, performed a wild show. With eight Brockhampton members on stage at all times, a lack of energy or stage presence were the last things on anyone’s mind.

Performing hit tracks from their last three studio albums, like “Gold,” “Gummy” and “Zipper,” fans had a variety of old and new songs to listen for and jam to. The self-proclaimed boy band had the crowd jumping for the entirety of their 90-minute set, with rap-R&B-jazz influenced, genre-swirling music.

Towards the end of their performance, after wrapping up a song, Brockhampton took a moment to address the crowd.

“Everyone with orange jumpsuits or blue faces, come on stage,” invited the group’s de facto leader, Kevin Abstract.

Less than five minutes later, more than 15 fans had been pulled up on stage by security and filled the space behind the group. As the last call was made for costumed concertgoers, Brockhampton began a bass-rumbling performance of “Star” from their second album, Saturation 2.

The “internet’s first boy band,” as the group refers to itself, has continued to build a sizable buzz in the last year, and there is no doubt among music critics and fans alike that Brockhampton will soon to be a household name.

Photo by Immanuel Matthews

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Music Quickspins

Brockhampton – Saturation III

Brockhampton – Saturation III (Empire)

Saturation III is the conclusion to Brockhampton’s Saturation trilogy. Starting in the summer of 2017, Brockhampton burst onto the scene with the first Saturation, a mix of R&B and rap that was exciting, fresh and filled with angst. The members of the group, of which there are more than 10, don’t consider themselves a rap group, but a boy band instead. Saturation II was a return to form and another great addition to the series. Saturation III is a solid end to the trilogy, however, it seems like more of an expansion of Saturation I and II than a new album. Much of the album has the same hard-hitting, jazzy, experimental vibes as the first two, with much of the same flows and lyrical themes as well. There are definitely stand-out tracks here. The opening song, “Boogie,” is a certified banger. The crazy, siren-like instrumental and spazzy flows are exactly what you’d want from Brockhampton. However, songs like “Stains,” “Alaska” and “Team” show that, while the album is good, you’ve heard it all before.

Trial Track: “Boogie”

Score: 7.5/10

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Quickspins

Brockhampton – Saturation II

Brockhampton – Saturation II (Empire, 2017)

Earlier this year, rap collective Brockhampton dropped, in my opinion, one of the best hip-hop projects of the year, Saturation. A few months later, the group, led by Kevin Abstract, is back with another set of songs that range from grimey bangers to R&B slow jams. Songs like “SUMMER” offer a softer side to the tracklist, with beautiful vocals and smooth production. All the while, songs like “JUNKY” show off a more braggadocious side to the group’s members. The beat is strong and heavy, while the lyrics hit you like a sledgehammer. Compared to Saturation, Saturation II has better R&B tunes, but the bangers don’t hit as hard as I would have hoped. Nonetheless, Saturation II just goes to show how much range this group has. With these two albums, Brockhampton have established themselves as the best rap collective out right now.

Trial Track: “JUNKY”

Score: 8.5/10

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