Never before has a boyband been so intimate with their fans. Is that what makes BROCKHAMPTON the greatest?
Boyband culture is strange. The concept of ‘Beatlemania’ is so perverse to me, and I can’t imagine anything worse being at a concert where the crowd screams so loud that it’s impossible to hear the performers (there was even an article I read that stated crowds at a BTS concert could even be at risk of going deaf)
But this is often the case with boybands. From British groups such as One Direction to the newly dominating K-Pop obsession, it appears that there is something in the market for everyone. Yet, despite being estranged from this phenomenon, I admit I find myself finally understanding it. Even though I couldn’t fathom how anyone would try and deafen those around them, I found myself doing the same thing at Brockhampton’s set at Leeds Festival. BROCKHAMPTON’s mission, by Kevin Abstract’s own admission, is that they exist to “redefine what a boyband is.”
Finding myself instinctively following each and every member of Brockhampton on Twitter after that weekend, I dug deeper and deeper into their niche fandom – one that was about to break into the mainstream. I’d been a long-time fan of BROCKHAMPTON, regularly listening to the SATURATION trilogy and ALL-AMERICAN TRASH and blasting them to my friends in social situations. Yet, I still didn’t really ‘follow’ the band. I knew the members, could recognise their voices, and only knew their personalities based on their verses in previous albums. Seeing them interact with each other and fans on Twitter opened my eyes to how down to Earth and genuine the guys seem to be.
As the release of iridescence came closer, Twitter erupted into a wave of iridescence as AVIs and cover photos became thermal to match the theme. Everyone seemed to be excited, even some of those you wouldn’t expect.
The band continued to raise expectations as they announced that iridescence would be recorded at the iconic Abbey Road studios in London. Kevin Abstract was very frank about his experience with iridescence, tweeting that he struggled with the prospect of writing another album before the band decided to move to Abbey Road.
BROCKHAMPTON’s music is entirely intimate and as such, I didn’t want to rush this review; this album is soaked with musical depth, context, and gravitas as the band battle with the duality between their roots and newfound fame. As a result of this, the discussion surrounding mental health plays a great part in iridescence. The marvellous, and slightly terrifying, fact is that for the longest time BROCKHAMPTON was a group from different backgrounds, classes, ethnicities, sexual orientations etc. rapping about their experiences. Iridescence is the first instance wherein the group understand each other’s positions with their ever-increasing popularity. Covering topics ranging from nostalgia to two-faced friends, to homosexuality and even to self-harm, the team cover all basis that makes up the notion of personal growth and consistently seem completely relatable and humanised. Due to these differences, there’s something for everyone hidden within iridescence…
Are you feeling angry? Listen to J’OUVERT.
Sentimental or homesick? SAN MARCOS (where BROCKHAMPTON initially formed.)
Feeling romantic? SOMETHING ABOUT HIM.
Want to chill? NEW ORLEANS / THUG LIFE.
Want to dance? HONEY.
This is an album that will resonate with a large number of our readers and an even larger number of young people undergoing massive transformations in their lives. BROCKHAMPTON’s legendary status isn’t fading anytime soon, evident by the fact that, as I write this, iridesence just premiered as the #1 album on the Billboard Charts. Despite this, I am sure that rumours will continue to spark about BROCKHAMPTON’s “expiry” – fuelled in part by Kevin Abstract’s frank tweets about the group deciding how many more albums they have in them – it’s time to get into this band now before they’re gone. This is important.
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