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BROCKHAMPTON - ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE Music Album Reviews

BROCKHAMPTON - ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE Music Album Reviews
The hip-hop collective’s sixth album refocuses on melody and economy, resulting in the group’s most focused and impressive record yet.

Something changed for Brockhampton with “Sugar.” The 2019 single, an unobtrusive and charming ballad about adolescence, love, and heartache, was the group’s most successful song by many metrics—it’s their lone entry on the Billboard’s Hot 100, peaking at No. 66; it’s certified platinum by the RIAA; it’s the band’s first song to get an official remix, featuring Dua Lipa, no less. “Sugar” is also their most traditional song, structured to give the showcased members a fitting role: Guest Ryan Beatty sings the inviting chorus; Dom McLennon and Matt Champion rap solid verses; Bearface handles a pre-chorus and the outro; and leader Kevin Abstract sings the bridge. No one is rapping about One Direction; there aren’t loud, conspicuous production gimmicks; and it’s finished in a tidy 205 seconds. In the best of ways, it could be anyone’s song.

Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine, the boisterous yet sensitive hip-hop collective’s sixth album, keeps this focus on melody and economy, resulting in the group’s most focused and impressive record. This is Brockhampton at their most efficient, paring back the instrumentals and woebegone attempts at self-examination. Previously, Brockhampton songs were long and incoherent, which, likewise, made their albums long and incoherent. A signature Brockhampton beat, meanwhile, was built with a unique, often wacky, loop: “Boogie” has a whooping siren; “Gold” has an arpeggio; “Boy Bye” has what I can best describe as pizzicato MIDI violin.

The beats are subtler on Roadrunner, with the flourishes dialed down and the emphasis placed on mood: wistful bliss on “Chain On” and “When I Ball,” impassioned swagger on “Bankroll.” Without the vestigial honks and boops cluttering the foreground, the music is sturdy and even sumptuous, as with the suite of “Bankroll,” “The Light,” and “Windows,” all co-produced by Abstract, Romil Hemnani, and Jabari Manwa. On these three songs, the strongest run of the album, you feel the rappers’ brash confidence, no matter if they’re spitting bluster or opening up. It’s enthralling.

Since their inception, Brockhampton have prioritized unchecked creativity and unfiltered self-expression over discipline or structure. It’s why their songs have too many verses, their albums have too many failed experiments, and it’s how you get something like Iridescence’s “Honey,” which feels like a collection of rough drafts sewn together. Roadrunner pressurizes this scattered energy, and the mood is consistent, even exuberant. Only one song—the well-earned posse cut “Windows,” with a thumping Houston-style beat—features a glut of verses, while the others emphasize members’ specific talents, as when Merlyn Wood plays hype man on “Buzzcut.”

The group also continues to blur its line between hip-hop and pop. The rap beats are polished enough to complement the boy-band cuts, which maintain a metronomic quality. The pop song “I’ll Take You On,” in particular, is a triumph, balancing a quietly skittering backbeat with lovesick harmonies. For all of their focus on colorful individuality, they sound best when they finally cohere into a synchronized unit.

Their newfound discipline extends to their signature confessionals. In the past, a Brockhampton song felt like an opportunity to excavate and explicate every possible trauma, but on Roadrunner, their lives leak through in compelling fragments. On the opening “Buzzcut,” Kevin Abstract threads his colorful rapping with evocative mini-scenes: “Thank God you let me crash on your couch,” “My whole family cursed.” He does the same on “The Light,” rapping stray lines like, “I was broke and desperate, leaning on my best friends.” We don’t need much more.

The darkness shows up most strongly on “The Light,” where operatic wildcard Joba describes his father’s suicide and its tormenting aftermath. Joba’s story is not linear, placing the listener into his maelstrom: “At a loss, aimless,” “Hope it was painless,” “I know you cared,” “Heard my mother squealing,” “I miss you.” His vocals are tactfully fuzzed in the mix, not burying Joba’s words so much as submerging him in the music. It’s maybe the most poignant moment Brockhampton have ever recorded.

Elsewhere, they sound liberated. Matt Champion is their best rapper, and he shines here. His lines might not mean a ton, but they’re wonderful to mimic, like when he raps “Nightmares, it’s fright-filled the moment Freddy tuck you in” on “Windows” or the way he punctuates, “This a jam for you whims and you woes/For the people in the back standin’ on they tippy toes,” on “Don’t Shoot Up the Party.” Everyone sounds like the best versions of themselves—focused, committed, inspired. The joy of being a collective bleeds into every bar and hook. For a change, it’s a Brockhampton album that isn’t telling you what to think or feel; it just sounds good.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
BROCKHAMPTON - ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE Music Album Reviews BROCKHAMPTON - ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 Rating: 5

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