Farewell to the best boy band since One Direction

Sirens, synths and a sinister drum loop – these were the sounds I was greeted with within the first ten seconds of the song “HEAT”. The instrumental felt menacing. The vocals kept bouncing around. The restlessness in the lyrics was fueled by adrenaline, pride and self-doubt. What unraveled in front of me over the course of the next hour was a beautiful mess of an album. It had anthems – songs that allowed me to march down the street, that prepared me to face the day head on and made me laugh every now and then. For the next few weeks, it was all I listened to.

Formed on a Kanye West fan forum, BROCKHAMPTON literally broke boundaries. The members of the collective were scattered all over the US and were united in a common belief that they could start making great music. And that’s exactly what they did. I could go on and on about the countless awards they’ve won and the many records they’ve broken, but that’s not what they’ll be remembered for. Their music struck a chord and will leave an impression.

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What could have been the crew’s perceived weakness instead shaped their identities. The diversity never clashed. That’s what made their sound so clear. With such a wide range of talent, they could kick it up a notch, but also soften things up. While the SATURATION trilogy got the recognition it deserved thanks to the record’s implosive energy, the band proved they don’t shy away from vulnerability.

After the allegations against Ameer Van and the rapper’s subsequent departure, the band felt disjointed. The incoherence also seeped into the music with the album color game has been met with mixed reactions. To redeem themselves and rekindle that initial spark, the members sat down to put together their most heartfelt record yet in the album. GINGER.

They talked about their identity, the misery of growing up, love, heartbreak and the uncertainty of the future. That was exactly what appealed to me. Beneath the crushing pain of having to figure out my life, I felt numb. While I could never express how I felt like I was never really in control of my own decisions and how helpless it made me feel, BROCKHAMPTON’s music felt like someone was just spelling the words out for me. Except it wasn’t just one person, it was an entire rap collective. And so I found comfort in it. It was an escape from the delirium of my own indecision. Through joy, pain, excitement and hope, the songs just fit.

The members wore their hearts on their sleeve. They were unapologetic about who they were and weaved it into their music. It’s that authenticity that people grew fond of. Whether the boys were dressed in jumpsuits, just breaking things for fun or performing on national television, they cleared a space to reveal their identities.

Every fan had their own reason to fall in love with the crew. They inspired their audiences with their manic, anarchic, aggressive and authentic energy. Whatever happens for BROCKHAMPTON, I think the members can move forward knowing that they embody the spirit of a generation.

Abir Hossain is a sub-editor at SHOUT.

Farewell to the best boy band since One Direction

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