Words by Taylor-Michelle Coriolon
Brockhampton’s fifth studio album, GINGER, arrived Friday, August 23rd, and it has received mixed reviews from critics. Each track of the album gives a different, new sound instead of the cohesiveness we have seen in past albums like the Saturation trilogy and Iridescence.
The group added depth and raw emotions to the lyrics of some songs like ‘No Halo’. It features the singer, Deb Never, who joins with Matt Champion and Merlyn Wood to add to the captivating and almost haunting chorus. In the verses, the group raps in-depth about topics like depression, drug abuse, and breakups. Here, Dom McLennon talks about his use of drugs to fight depression: “Used to fight all my night terrors, now I smoke through the dreams/Depression put me into places where I’m stuck in the seams”. Essentially, the song is simple and slow with smooth guitar and percussion.
‘Sugar’ continues the melancholic vibes, but it is more of a song about longing for love. It gives an alternative take on a traditional R&B love song. Both sweet and wistful, the song is infectious and definitely one of Brockhampton’s best.
‘Heaven Belongs to You’ is Brockhampton’s first collaboration. The only vocal on the short track is English rapper, slowthai. It features him discussing things like mental health and religion. Next, in ‘St. Percy’, we hear a sample in the chorus from D-Flexx’s 1997 song, ‘Only God Knows’. The song focuses on their hard work ethic and staying true to who they are always.
‘Boy Bye’, ‘If You Pray Right, and ‘I Been Born Again’ reminds us more of the sound Brockhampton is known for. The usual, unconventional sound that we all seem to enjoy. Although all three tracks give different vibes and emotions, they easily can get stuck in your head.
‘Dearly Departed’ has sparked many conversations because it seems to address the departure of Ameer Vann, who left back in mid-2018 due to allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. Lyrics of the song hint at the loss of friend and betrayal. Kevin Abstract opens the song by saying this: “What’s the point of havin' a best friend if you end up losin' him?/Woah, don’t view my text messages/Woah, don’t view my text messages”. Later in the track, Dom McLennon raps: “When somebody that you know throws you in the fire/How do you survive?/I kicked down the door inside a home/I did it all just to save a friend’s life/Little did I know, the one who pulled the strings was once on my side”.
'Ginger’ gives me the same vibes as ‘Sugar’ did; an alternative take on R&B love songs. However, ‘Love Me For Life’ uses that same hypnotic technique, yet it takes on more profound, darker topics such as loneliness and the hidden side of the rise to fame. In ‘Big Boy’, we also see dark themes like the idea of toxic masculinity, the struggles in their childhoods, and trying to conform to what others wanted. It talks about the idea of finding yourself and Joba describes this here: “Lost cause and a lost child/Lost my way tryna change for the wrong crowd/I'm weak and I'll say it proud”. Lastly, in ‘Victor Roberts’, artist Victor Roberts is featured on the track. He talks about his troubles with police in his family history, and also, helping someone by bringing them into his own home only to get betrayed by them because that person gets into bad dealings with cocaine. Later on in the song, we hear the chorus from Ryan Beatty and a bridge from Bearface.
All in all, GINGER is a multi-layered album with great meaning and depth. Even though some may say the album is not as cohesive and put together as they would like, it is a beautiful piece of work and one of Brockhampton’s very best.
Taylor-Michelle Coriolan is a seventeen year old writer interested in working part-time in journalism in the future. She is dedicated to her work and wants others to be inspired by her writing. From music reviews to pop culture, she writes about everything and anything to her best ability. In her spare time, she plays volleyball and will continue her volleyball career at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Find Taylor-Michelle on Instagram @taylorrcoriolan