Album Review: Saturation III by BROCKHAMPTON


Mia Abulaf

BROCKHAMPTON prepares for a performance. Croudes cheer in anticipation.

Harris Bubalo, Staff Writer

On their third album of the year, West Coast rap crew BROCKHAMPTON further cements their place as an industry phenomenon. The group has been turning heads and breaking necks throughout the rap scene. In truth, they are not a hip hop collective, nor are they “America’s favorite boy band” like they have deemed themselves to be. They are a music-making machine that shows no sign of running out of fuel.

The whole notion of the SATURATION trilogy, a series of albums released in quick succession to “saturate” the rap scene, is the eventual adoption of “quantity over quality” that will become a rational fear among fans.   

Much like the first two installments in the trilogy, SATURATION III kicks off with a bombastic opener named “BOOGIE.” Aptly titled, it is easily BROCKHAMPTON’s most lively track to date. The instrumental is an insane arrangement of sirens, energetic yelp and a horn melody that makes you want to do as the title describes. Members of the group take turns boastfully announcing the return of BROCKHAMPTON. Verses flow into one another, and each performance is instantly memorable. Whether it’s Kevin Abstract’s iconic “Best boy band since One Direction,” or JOBA’s “Break necks, I’m the chiropractor,” listeners are assured that SATURATION III will be one hell of a ride.

The group’s sonic diversity ranges from the hard-hitting industrial beat on “SISTER/NATION,” to the twinkly guitars of the shoegaze-inspired “TEAM.” The “boy band” side of BROCKHAMPTON even gets some attention on the track “HOTTIE,” where the group outwardly wears the poppy, *NSYNC-inspired influence on their sleeves.

Though cohesiveness had been a problem throughout earlier installments, SATURATION III finally sees BROCKHAMPTON as a whole. The group’s members are now found working more cooperatively. On “JOHNNY,” group members stay on each others’ heels, directly responding to what the previous member stated. As a group of young adults with a variety of turbulent backgrounds, the members of BROCKHAMPTON certainly have a lot to say. Self-deprecation becomes a motif throughout the record, and members of the group often use it to emphasize their struggles. Perhaps the most impactful example of this comes on the track “JOHNNY,” where member JOBA essentially describes how his depression manifests itself throughout his life. The rest of the tracklist is laden with other introspective confessions. On “STUPID,” Abstract takes pride in his sexuality, despite his mother’s lack of approval. On “STAINS,” Vann discusses how he’s learn to grow from a long-distance breakup. On “BLEACH,” McLennon delivers the eye-opening, “Do you make mistakes or do you make a change?”

“TEAM,” the album’s closer, provides a climactic end to the trilogy. “EVANIE,” the first part of the track, is a poignant guitar ballad about a girl who cheats on her boyfriend with BROCKHAMPTON member Bear-face. Through a roaring wall of sound, Bear-face inquires about all that she has done to maintain their scandalous relationship. Then, a quietness pierces through the instrumental, before switching into the second part of the track. A jazz rap instrumental is established, while the group’s members make their lasting sentiments. As the piece comes to a close, a sample reaches a crescendo. This sample is the same used to begin SATURATION I, thus the entire trilogy can be seamlessly looped: a sentimental conclusion to an already astonishing set of albums.