Honest, earnest look at the dynamics of a band

Ginger, Brockhampton

By Gunner Young/campus editor

The road to success for rap group and “internet boyband” Brockhampton has not been an easy one, but its fifth studio album, “Ginger,” proves that it can overcome the adversity within the band and continue to put out fantastic music.

Brockhampton exploded onto the scene in the summer of 2017 with its first commercially successful album, “Saturation,” and would end up dropping the next two albums of a three-album series by the end of the year.

It seemed like nothing could stop the Brockhampton hype until the member featured on three of their album covers, Ameer Vann, was kicked out of the group after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced.

When “Ginger” was released Aug. 23, the group known for its high-energy bangers and heartfelt ballad-blended albums seemed to have changed direction. The songs are just as focused as previous works but add a mature and melancholy element to the formula that the band has found success with so far. 

This is exemplified by the opening track, “No Halo.” The song features an acoustic guitar-focused instrumental and plays with themes of imperfection and failure. While they have played with dark themes in previous albums, the opening tracks of Brockhampton albums are consistently high energy to set the tone. This is not the case with “Ginger.”

Another theme of the album, seen from the titles of the 12 tracks, is religion. Songs like “Heaven Belongs to You,” “If You Pray Right” and “I Been Born Again” touch on topics generally unexplored in popular music like Buddhism, and the titles themselves reference singer/songwriter Nina Simone.

The album’s flagship track, the song that summarizes everything that makes this album great, is “Dearly Departed.” The dreamy, synthy instrumentation and psychedelic-tinged drums topped by screaming, choir-like choruses demands listeners’ attention the second it begins. The track explores the cause of rift in the band’s career, ex-member Vann.

The controversial way Vann left as well as the broken friendships involved in the split makes for an insanely emotional track. This is the first time since the incident that the band fully explores and expresses the pain that came along with finding out someone close was actually hurting others.

The song ends with the impassioned verse by Dom McLennon, “That’s just where you stand, that’s your cross to bear, you could talk to God, I don’t wanna hear.”

Overall, this album is a look inside the downsides to fame, friendship and the vices involved in the navigation of life. Its religious themes and tales of mental health issues and drug abuse make this album compelling until the final notes play.