BROCKHAMPTON - The Family Music Album Reviews

BROCKHAMPTON - The Family Music Album Reviews
The purported final album from the chart-topping hip-hop collective chronicles their rise and accelerated decline through the lens of a mercurial Svengali.

They weren’t going to live in the frat house forever. From virtually the moment iridescence topped the album charts—capping Brockhampton’s ascent from modest message-board origins—frontman Kevin Abstract promised the end was nigh. “This is going to be over in a few albums,” he told GQ in 2019. “But that’s okay. It’s still a family.” In early 2022, the group canceled an international tour and went on “indefinite hiatus”; at Coachella, they teased a forthcoming “final album,” sporting letterman jackets stitched with the epigraph “All Good Things Must Come to an End!”

The Family is the album foretold at Coachella, though a package of shelved recordings, TM, arrived hours later, earning the distinction—for now, anyway—of being the final Brockhampton release. In terms of personnel, The Family is effectively a Kevin Abstract solo project: Bearface and associate Boylife split production duties, but Abstract’s is the lone voice on nearly all 17 tracks. The record has a calculated fishbowl quality, chronicling the group’s rise and accelerated decline through the lens of a mercurial Svengali. It’s a victory lap with a slightly bitter aftertaste, like champagne left uncorked in a trashed hotel suite.

With most of the group in absentia, The Family retains Brockhampton’s prismatic framework. Taking stock of their improbable stardom, Abstract sketches a series of brief retrospectives full of contradictory and ambivalent sentiments. In Abstract’s telling, Brockhampton’s journey was the thrill of a lifetime, and also a decade-long slog of recording and touring. “All That,” an upbeat interpolation of TLC’s All That theme, depicts the group’s meteoric rise in a panoramic blur. The song’s succession of images—hungry stomachs, disaffected co-stars—makes for a Hollywood cautionary tale, yet the stakes are relatively low. The squabbling bandmates make up in the end; Abstract, at least, is bound for bigger and better things. As a showcase of his one-man-band talent—the nasally ’90s flows on “All That,” the staccato bars of “The Family,” the easy harmonies of “My American Life”—The Family glimpses any number of possible futures.

Some of Abstract’s criticism is directed at himself, albeit with tongue in cheek. On “Good Time,” he cheers the group’s demise like it’s the last day of school, admitting his “toxic” cravings for attention and validation. It’s a poignant realization: The appetites that fueled Abstract’s viral fame made him, by his own account, a bit of a monster. He leans into the persona on the title track, reenacting his most domineering moments: “I don’t feel guilty from wakin’ you up when you sleep/I don’t feel guilty from cuttin’ your verse from this beat/I don’t feel guilty for heat you caught from my tweets/Dead projects I teased from my lack of empathy.” Some revelations feel predictable, others too inside-baseball, but Abstract’s attempt to construct a warts-and-all profile makes The Family his most ambitious conceit to date.

Supposing The Family is, in fact, the group’s swan song, we may as well perform a postmortem: What did Brockhampton mean? The specter of Kanye West looms large across their catalog (the band members met on the fan forum KanyeToThe), and The Family is no exception. “Good Time” and “Boyband” borrow the sped-up sampling technique of Kanye’s early production catalog, the cozy chipmunk-soul sound that defined the mid-2000s. Other elements—the pulsing layers of “Gold Teeth,” Abstract’s grandiosity tempered by self-deprecating humor—feel cribbed from the Yeezus era. As West’s discography is reduced to context for his public meltdowns, Brockhampton’s homage points to the resonance of his best work, and its unprecedented spread among internet communities. 

As it happens, West wasn’t even Brockhampton’s most ignominious influence. Their residential incubator model was inspired by Abstract’s reverence for Mark Zuckerberg; Shia LaBeouf, since disgraced, acted as a mentor. To their credit, Brockhampton distanced themselves from other sordid associations, dismissing rapper Ameer Vann after accusations of sexual misconduct. There was a Breakfast Club charm about the unlikely collective—a union of listless chatroom lurkers who, for want of anything better to do, became a chart-topping rap group. 

If their formulation as a queer, multi-racial, shapeshifting artists’ colony seemed radical, they’d probably scoff at the notion. Brockhampton never sought a soapbox, but their why-not inclusivity (why shouldn’t a rap group have an in-house app developer?) helped them chart a path around hip-hop’s reverential spaces. And yet none of their affectations—the rags-to-riches mythos, the body paint, the brand synergy—would have landed if the music wasn’t good. The post-iridescence records distilled their frenetic energy into a more technical, melodic palette, maintaining coming-of-age gravitas with fewer motivational platitudes. An epitaph fit for a gravestone: Brockhampton was greater than the sum of its parts.

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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 - The Family Music Album Reviews BROCKHAMPTON - The Family Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on November 29, 2022 Rating: 5


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