Opting for a tamer sound than could be heard previously, Brockhampton offer up plenty of cool and intriguing ideas; but ultimately their weakest album to date. It was always going to be difficult to follow their prolific run that came before this, and all credit to them for trying something unique rather than refreshing tried and tested methods, but Ginger is simply no more than a decent album amongst a discography of great ones.
Apologies for the downbeat mood of this review, but I just don’t get it. I knew from the singles it was going to be difficult for me to digest this one (granted my opinion on I BEEN BORN AGAIN and NO HALO has changed drastically for the better), and I wasn’t wrong in my assumption.
Last year, Brockhampton brought out iridescence, one of my favourite rap albums of the decade; a totally off-the-wall record with endless experimentation, stellar performances and magnificent production. You could hear the inspiration oozing from each member of the group, making glitchy hip-hop bangers and commercially viable relatable heartbreak ballads on the same project; yet still managing to make it sew together gorgeously.
This year, Brockhampton have brought out Ginger, an album that probably won’t even make my top 50 of the year. An utterly predictable record with worn out performances and low-key production. The album is, to its credit, focused and cohesive, but I am seeing people say that more so than for iridescence? I must be listening to a different album, because clearly I just can’t see what everyone else does.
It isn’t without it’s glowing moments, however. When you need a hero to save your album in 2019, which rapper do you turn to? slowthai. His appearance on HEAVEN BELONGS TO YOU is so slick, and proof that when a charismatic voice is put on a track, he can lift the atmosphere entirely. It’s also worth mentioning that the first two tracks, NO HALO and SUGAR, are the best Brockhampton-performed songs on the whole project; utilising the stripped back almost R&B style and creating really catchy tracks. The hooks are performed beautifully and both tracks have the radio-friendly flavour you feel they were shooting for.
I don’t want people thinking that the understated aesthetic was what put me off; yes I adored the loud energy that Brockhampton brought to earlier projects; but some of my favourite songs of theirs are slower, more melodic cuts. Look at the likes of SAN MARCOS and TONYA from iridescence, or FACE and BLEACH from the Saturation trilogy; smoother, downbeat cuts done expertly. On GINGER, the bitter taste in my mouth comes from just how worn out they sound; something that will only come naturally when you consider just how much music is being churned out in a short space of time. An eagerness to be prolific and rapid-fire could well have been their downfall here, perhaps a break is in order for the self-proclaimed hardest working boyband in the world.
BEST TRACKS: NO HALO, SUGAR, HEAVEN BELONGS TO YOU, ST. PERCY
WORST TRACKS: IF YOU PRAY RIGHT, GINGER, BIG BOY