Illustration by Gina Ledor
Iridescence can be defined as “a lustrous rainbowlike play of color caused by differential refraction of light waves” according to Webster’s Dictionary, but it can also be defined as the new album by new wave American boy band, Brockhampton. The band, now with 14 members after member Ameer Vann was kicked out over sexual misconduct accusations surfaced, took the stage in 2017 with their first album Saturation, which featured hits like “GOLD” and “STAR.” They quickly produced two more albums, Saturation II and Saturation III, and a few other singles. They lost the cover boy from all of their album covers, and an integral member to their music in Vann. This is not to say it is sad Vann was kicked out, on the contrary, Brockhampton recovered and produced another hit album. Lead singer Kevin Abstract was quoted to say that the album took ten days, and was recorded at legendary London studio Abbey Road Studios.
In the day and age of the #MeToo movement, there is no room in the music industry for sexual misconduct, and Brockhampton understands that. By kicking out Vann, they are losing an important member of their group, that is certain, but they are also taking a stand against misogyny and against serial abusers in a big way. Even though Vann was a strong artist and aided the group in their climb to fame, the group chose their morals over fame, and for me that makes this album a little better.
The album opens with a classic Brockhampton song with lyrics professing that someone is lower than them. Opening the album with a song like “NEW ORLEANS” that outlines their greatness is a powerful move. The fervor of “NEW ORLEANS” quickly changes to a slower song, “THUG LIFE.” This kind of slow rap, with a chorus in the background, is what draws so many different people to Brockhampton. Although “NEW ORLEANS” and “THUG LIFE” feature the same bridge by rapper Bearface, the songs are incredibly different. The latter consists of sadder lyrics, concerned with self deprecation and self doubt, which is far different from the positive lyrics of the former. Their ability to display such a diverse array of songs in a single album is one reason they’re such a unique group.
The loss of a main member of their band is evident in the overall tone of the majority of the songs. Where there was once hype and energy, there is now slowness and lament. “TONYA” is a prime example of this. Obviously, the absence of Vann is making a large impact on the band, but they continue to produce music for their fans. By no means is the new tone bad, on the contrary, it’s relaxing to listen to a slower pace; this new album fits a vast variety of moods and situations. You could nap to Iridescence, cry, cuddle, or whatever you want to this new music.
One of the more exciting aspects of the album is the sampling of Beyonce’s “Dance for You” in Brockhampton’s “HONEY.” The ability to sample Beyonce’s hit is evidence of the band’s success and rising popularity. New fans of Brockhampton cite their variety of sounds in their voices as what turned them onto the band. One new fan mentioned that the band uses their voices as instruments, which is uncommon in current hip hop. Brockhampton is a new kind of American boy band, a new breed of music, and I can’t wait to see where they go in the future.