Move over One Direction (R.I.P), N-Sync and BTS, because today I need to talk to you about Brockhampton. In a nutshell, Brockhampton is a more diverse, equally charming One Direction – but with BARS. In 2017, they literally saturated listeners with music by pumping out three full-length albums as part of their SATURATION trilogy. SATURATION, SATURATION II AND SATURATION III have garnered a great deal of attention and praise, and won the boys fans across the globe. Brockhampton sold out shows across the USA and landed a coveted spot in the Triple J Hottest 100 2017, coming in at number 11.
With such a large amount of content, the SATURATION trilogy provides a discography that feels like going into a restaurant with a 20-page menu. You’re spoiled for choice. For many fans this creates a fun, but endless debate regarding which SATURATION is the best. So with yet another upcoming album, PUPPY, expected to drop in 2018, what better way to celebrate the end of an era, and an incredible trilogy, than to offer my highlights from each album and rank them from worst to best? Here’s your breakdown from me, a superfan.
SATURATION. The O.G album. This was huge for the group. The songs GOLD and STAR are absolute classics, and much of the reason Brockhampton blew up in the first place. Through these two songs, listeners are introduced to Brockhampton’s best features: their versatility, individual talents and group chemistry, Kevin’s crush on Shawn Mendes, and just how undeniably catchy their songs can be. The rest of SATURATION doesn’t fail to back up these stellar tracks. It has a spacious and slick production style which ties the album together seamlessly, despite having a versatile range of sounds.
Still, this album ranks as my least favourite SATURATION only because it feels like the boys were mere foetuses back then. There are songs like TRIP, CASH and SWIM, which are great but not extremely memorable when considering the mega playlist that is the SATURATION trilogy. Although SATURATION is a perfect introduction into their unique music style, there is still plenty of room for their sound to evolve. To me, this album provides the foundations which Brockhampton would build upon in later albums.
Highlights: GOLD music video, production on BANK
#2: SATURATION III
After releasing two albums, SATURATION III was the best way that Brockhampton could have ended their trilogy. Out of the three, this album’s production style definitely makes it the most sonically unique. Songs like BOOGIE and SISTER/NATION prove to be some of the most off-the-wall and experimental moments in the entire trilogy. Songs like BLEACH and HOTTIE rely much more on melodies to give a spacy and moody tone.
Overall, this album is experimental, dark and at times whimsical. SATURATION III acts as a breath of fresh air from the other SATURATIONs. And while it does take a more experimental turn, the quality performances still result in extremely catchy and enjoyable tracks. My only complaint is that there are a lot of lyrics which explore the same topics and borrow flows from earlier SATURATIONs. The worst case of this is Ameer’s verse in LIQUID which has the exact same flow and explores almost the exact same topics as MILK from SATURATION. The repetition can cause some listener fatigue if you’re already two albums deep. For me, there were moments where Brockhampton seemed to be resting a little on their laurels.
Highlights: BOOGIE music video, HOTTIE, RENTAL
#1: SATURATION II
SATURATION II places as my favourite of the trilogy for many reasons. I remember this was the album that converted me from a casual listener to a loyal fan, and I have not stopped re-watching Brockhampton music videos since. On SATURATION II, Brockhampton was able to nail the SATURATION ‘formula’. The quintessential elements of the trilogy are performed to the fullest on this album. Catchy hooks YEP. Versatile performances MM HMM. Moody sentiments YES. Insane group chemistry YEAH. Quirky production style HECK YEP.
Take for example, SWEET. This song has some incredible bars and flows that all come together to create a totally infectious group presence. It is hard to deny that Dom’s verse isn’t his best yet, considering the amount of clever lines and flows he provides. QUEER and JUNKY are super conceptual and give some of the most engaging lyrics in the entire trilogy. Kevin’s opening verse on JUNKY is one of my favourites, he explores homophobia in different settings including his own internalised homophobia: “Is it homophobic to only hook up with straight n****s? You know, like closet n****s, masc-type? Why don’t you take that mask off? That’s the thought I had last night”. SATURATION II has absolutely no shortage of hits and each member really comes into their own. You know an album is great when almost every non-skit song could be a viable lead single. In the end, even if SATURATION II is not as unique as SATURATION III, it takes the cake for being pure quality.
Highlights: GUMMY music video, SWEET, QUEER, JUNKY