BROCKHAMPTON, an up-and-coming, self-proclaimed boyband, has recently come out with its fourth studio album and final album of its Saturation trilogy, entitled Saturation 3.
BROCKHAMPTON is making a name for itself and redefining the term “boyband” along the way. They’re a relatable group of boys who live and make both musical and visual art together. They have also recently come out with a movie. All of their projects are led by the band’s leader, Kevin Abstract, or formally, Ian Simpson.
Saturation 3 is the perfect ending to a beautifully diverse collection of tracks. Although it is the third album of the band’s to come out this year, it does not feel rushed or forced. The tracks on the album are arranged in a way that makes the songs feel genuine and not disjointed. This trilogy has had its ups and downs, but Saturation 3 was definitely a triumph.
“BOOGIE” starts the album off with a bang. The intensely infectious beat commences without warning. It’s a lot to take in all at once, so at first listen, I was not too big of a fan. Kevin takes the first verse, and his lyrics speak volumes: “What are the rules for breakfast today? What are the words I’m forbidden to say? I need to let my hair down and grow it.” This is referring to how confined Kevin felt when he was living with his family, as they were not supportive of his sexualtiy and ambitions. The song does have a positive vibe to it, though, as the majority of it focuses on triumph and rising above those rough beginnings: “Ain’t no stopping me tonight. I’ma get all the things I like.” Although the song is a lot, I really warmed up to it after the first few listens; once you get used the siren-like beat, it’s quite catchy and just an awesome song that’ll hype you up. It’s one of my favorite BROCKHAMPTON songs of all time, just because of the sheer chaotic and “I don’t care” atmosphere it gives off.
“ZIPPER” is the second track, and it is just as infectious in a different way. The fast-paced rapping as well as the cleverly comedic lyrics (“Shout out to salsa from San Marcos, I got addicted to soft shell tacos”) and syncopated chorus make for an interesting listening experience. The best part of the whole song is Dom McLennon’s verse; it’s heavily autotuned but BROCKHAMPTON is one of those few artists that use autotune correctly— the voice fluctuations match the anarchic song perfectly. But Matt Champion’s part cannot be overlooked either; it comes later in the track and grabs the listener’s attention once more, keeping me hooked for the whole song. His voice is fierce and his verse is meticulously rhythmic, complete with mouth effects, tone changes, and seemingly no breaths. It is signature BROCKHAMPTON style, so naturally, I love it.
“JOHNNY” is the next track. It is a very metaphorical song and includes many different members discussing their unique takes on life and their lives specifically. Kevin plays with this idea in verse one: “I could’ve got a job at McDonald’s, but I like curly fries. That’s a metaphor for my life, and I like taller guys.” Kevin is saying that he differs from McDonald’s french fries in the sense that they’re straight, and he’s wayward both in sexuality and creative ambition— his life’s a little “curly.” Again, Dom’s verse is the highlight of the song for me. He raps, “Could’ve peaked when I was in high school, but I had bigger plans. Could’ve took the time out to find you, but you ain’t understand. You don’t gotta leave for them to define you, Cause what would you demand? When everybody out to define you without a circumstance.” Dom has his own take on “defining” his life and—common theme with the album—he won’t let himself be caged by predetermined assumptions.
“STUPID” comes a little later in the album. What really stands out to me in the song is verse one, which is Ameer Vann’s and Matt Champion’s, who I think are two of the best rappers in the entire band. Ameer raps, “I’m a black man with a deadly weapon,” and Matt’s background lyric is “What drug reference, huh?” Matt’s line was added during one of Kevin’s infamous Instagram live videos, when a fan commented, “ameer thinking which drugs to reference,” taking a stab at the fact that Ameer always seems to be rapping about drugs, the same way Kevin always seems to be rapping about being gay. Although Kevin and Ameer addressed this in previous songs (“JUNKY” and “CHICK” off of Saturation 2), I think it’s really refreshing and authentic that they just added the lyric on the spot because a fan said something that made them laugh. Small actions like these are part of the reason why BROCKHAMPTON has such an intensely loyal following of fans.
“BLEACH” is the proceeding track, and is one of the more mellow songs of the album. It’s one of my favorites because of the raw emotion it communicates. Matt Champion truly shines in this song when he takes Verse 1. He talks about how disjointed his thoughts are and how he can’t talk to people about it. His final words are “You should set it off, tell me ‘time’s up.’ Let the water run, let my body run.” They are filled with passion and although they’re spoken harshly and end abruptly, automatically leading into the very soft chorus, it all just works beautifully. It’s a gorgeous standout track that completely encompasses the album for me.
“HOTTIE” is Track 9, and is the most sing-along track, in my opinion. Kevin starts it off with a catchy chorus that seems to say that he’s changed since the previous two albums came out, and people shouldn’t make assumptions about him. As usual, Dom doesn’t disappoint and executes verse one perfectly. The signature voice drops and syncopated beats are there, and of course so are the authentic lyrics. It’s an appealing song and is one of the better executed songs on the album.
“SISTER/NATION” is a joint-song, the latter half taking its spot as my favorite song on the album. “SISTER” is basic BROCKHAMPTON rap, but the verse that stands out is the first, rapped by the extremely versatile JOBA. The lyrics are said in a monotone manner, but they hold gravity: “I’m pure to some, a psychopath to others, and grew up in counselling, flipping off my counselors. They gave me mood stabilizers but when I came off ’em I was violent. Took the drugs that I wanted which didn’t help with the voices…I juggle all my personalities.” JOBA is known for doing pretty much everything in BROCKHAMPTON’s music: rapping, screaming, singing, and just taking on extremely different voices depending on the song. So this verse could maybe be implying that JOBA has an identity disorder. The music certainly points to this, as he sounds gorgeously melodic in some songs, and in others, completely psychotic. The rest of “SISTER” has a generally negative tone.
“NATION” has a completely different vibe, and honestly, I’m baffled as to why the two were put together. Kevin starts it off beautifully, his voice bursting with emotion as he talks about his “past-life” before he was openly gay. After the harsh beep separating “SISTER” and “NATION,” his raw voice is a nice relief. Ameer Vann takes verse two, where he talks about how differently he was treated at school because of the color of his skin. Kevin sings the refrain, which is a repetition of the line, “I feel like all my days are coming to rubble.” Dom then concludes the song with a gorgeously syncopated verse that is breathtaking to listen to, but includes unrestrained, real lyrics about how he’s defined just because he’s a black celebrity. It’s reminiscent of his verse in “JOHNNY.” He sings, “In the eyes of the law I’m a problem. In the eyes of blogs I’m a paycheck. In the eyes of the world I’m an icon. In the eyes that I own I ain’t start yet.” It’s a beautiful, tender song that gives a new meaning to the word “stereotype.”
“TEAM” is the final song on Saturation 3. It also has two parts. The first is “EVANIE”, a ballad sung by bearface, where he tells the story of a woman, named Evanie, who cheats on her boyfriend with him. He sings, “And when you’re alone, and his love is gone, maybe you’ll see that your company was the worst thing for him, your sin.” It’s a short story, and Kevin soon takes over the song and initiates “TEAM” with the line, “Little old me, I thought my world was progressive, Cause my president was black, twenty-five lighters on the dresser.” The song proceeds to contain many biblical references, Ameer talking about Samson, and Matt saying that he hopes the holy water burns him because he isn’t worth repentance. Looking at these messages, it’s interesting to see how much the music’s vibes have changed from Track 1 to Track 15. The song ends off with a harsh jazzy tune following the final verse. The tune may seem a little rambling and confused, but when you play “HEAT” (the first track off of Saturation 1) right after “TEAM,” you see that it has that same jumbled tune playing in the beginning. The band is trying to show that the trilogy is a cycle. I think this was a brilliant way to end the album, but it could have been executed better to make more sense with the song.
BROCKHAMPTON has come out with three albums this past year, with a new one coming soon, truly saturating their fans with music. The trilogy was a great success and Saturation 3 provided an excellent ending to this beautiful bombardment of music.