Last weekend I was able to fulfill a year-long dream of mine when I saw BROCKHAMPTON in concert in Indianapolis. If you listened to music in 2017, you probably heard about this group at least once. The 15-member “boyband” took the nation by storm at the tail end of what already was a fantastic year for music. Driven by outstanding production that’s somehow simultaneously progressive and nostalgic and verses from off-kilter personalities such as the unapologetically gay frontman Kevin Abstract, the charmingly sluggish Matt Champion, and electrifying Merlyn Wood, BROCKHAMPTON truly stands out among the hordes of hip-hop projects released each year. In this list, I will attempt to rank every song BROCKHAMPTON released in their SATURATION series, from worst to best. (Note: This includes songs only, not Skits, Scenes, Cinemas, or any of the bonus tracks included in the box set.)
2PAC stands out in the BROCKHAMPTON catalogue as the group’s most boring and forgettable cut. The Ameer Vann solo verse comes across more resolutely as a musical interlude than a meaningful part of the album. The track features heavy repetition of uninteresting lyrics such as “trouble keep following me.” This is easily the group’s least enjoyable.
Another one of the least enjoyable BROCKHAMPTON offerings suffers from the same problems as 2PAC, existing more as an interlude than a song contributing to the vision of the project. Kevin starts of with a fine verse– it’s nowhere near his best, but it’s fine. It’s then followed with a melodic outro performed by the group’s resident crooner, Bearface, who’s at his worst on JESUS. This attempt at an emotional track is overshadowed by each of the three SATURATION closing numbers, WASTE, SUMMER, and TEAM, all of which are performed mostly by Bearface.
This song offers nothing more than some whimsical and inventive production. There is next to no lyrical value from this one, but that doesn’t make it a bad song. In the scope of all of the group’s offerings, this is simply one of the least dynamic and most effervescent.
I have nothing really good or bad to say about this track. Lyrically the repetition of “I’m lovin on ya” is kinda lazy, but some of the group’s best hooks come from straight repetition. I think the combination of lyrical aridity and tired production make it a relatively boring, forgettable track.
I like the hook on this song a decent amount, but that’s it. There aren’t any memorable verses here. Again, it’s just kinda boring. Nothing strikingly good or bad, it just gets muddled in with the rest of the forgettable tracks on SATURATION 1.
This song is kinda cute, but other than that it’s not very memorable. It captures the nostalgic, sad teen aesthetic, but nowhere near as well as a track like MILK. The sliding guitar line and the little bell embellishments are very pretty, and add a colorful layer to the track.
This is definitely the worst of the three finale songs that Bearface performs. It’s not bad by any means, but it pales heavily in comparison to TEAM and SUMMER. In the context of sultry Brockhampton jams, this is probably the worst.
This is easily the most boring song on SATURATION 3. There are some good and vulnerable verses about the members’ childhoods, but the flows are weak in comparison with most of their songs. Additionally, the hook is pretty weak. This one doesn’t offer much, but it is better than much of the torrent of vapid SATURATION 1 cuts.
This is where the BROCKHAMPTON cuts start getting good. The fun, dancey rhythm that comes in with the line “Be there any minute” give this song a really fun energy that is present in so many of the group’s best work. Additionally, the interlude performed by lesser known BROCKHAMPTON member Ashlan Grey is self-aware and highly comical, imploring “Y’all m***********s made three albums, still talking about the same s**t. The one gay, the one selling drugs, the one that’s tryna act like Lil Wayne. What the f**k is this s**t man?” That part makes me smile. It’s a good song, but overall nothing is incredibly special on STAINS.
I don’t understand why people dislike this song as much as they do. It’s certainly not the groups best lyrically, but the chord progression and instrumentation in this song is wonderful. The harmonies are beautiful as well. It really does get me in my feels a little bit.
This is one of the groups few true love songs, but it’s more about the absence of such love. It’s one of the groups saddest songs, if not the saddest. Unfortunately, the song doesn’t pack as much of a punch as I believe the group wants it to. It comes across as being fairly forgettable except for a really good chorus, which I believe is a common theme among many of the lower/mid-tier BROCKHAMPTON songs.
I don’t understand why people like this song as much as they do. It’s easily the group’s poppiest song in their discography, and honestly it tends to get on my nerves. There’s this cool dizzying synth that comes in with Joba’s verses, but that’s pretty much the only saving grace of the song. The lyrics are at their most trite during this cut: “I just wanna know where the party at.” “24/7 thinkin’ ’bout you.” Maybe I’m missing something in this song, but I don’t think so.
Clocking in at only 1 minute 20 seconds, TEETH showcases Ameer Vann at his most intimate, and most compelling. The artist’s best verse to date passionately recounts his experiences with racism growing up and its relation to Vann’s eminent success. Lyrically, it is dense and impactful, but sonically the track is decidedly vapid.
This track has a really good verse about race from Ameer, but apart from that it’s lyrically only alright. I do, however, quite enjoy the production on this song– it sounds somewhat otherworldly, and the paranoid sirens are a nice touch.
The transition from BLEACH to ALASKA is one of the most underwhelming moments in the whole SATURATION project. However, there are a few good moments in this song. The leading synth is great on this thing. Also the line “I love my n****s like white people love rap” makes me giggle every time I hear it. However, the second half of this song falls a little flat as Matt Champion warns people not to listen to music critics and to speak for themselves. This does strike me as a little ironic considering the success of BROCKHAMPTON is largely due to music critic Anthony Fantano, who gave their first album a 9/10 before the group was even remotely popular. That review got many people, including myself, interested in BROCKHAMPTON for the first time.
The song opens with the repeated words “Yippie Yah-hey” (or something), which is kinda laughable, but other than that this track is pretty good. The rappers employ that squeaky, chipmunk-esque voice they use sometimes to deliver a series of solid verses. No complaints with this one. The bassy synth is also pretty dope throughout this track.
This is undoubtedly the cutest song in the group’s discography. It makes me think of those memes with cute heart emojis floating around the airspace. Listening to it just puts a stupid grin on my face. Maybe it’s because I relate to it so much. It really captures the young, struggling, emerging adult aesthetic so well, and I think it resonates with a lot of people. There aren’t any super memorable verses except for Merlyn’s (which, might I add, is also super cute), and is the reason why this song isn’t higher on this list.
This song isn’t lower on this list for one reason only: It contains what is unarguably Kevin Abstract’s best verse, the iconic one dealing with his homosexuality and his place in the rap industry. The song opens fantastically, with Kevin’s famous verse sounding paranoid, fueled by claustrophobic sirens. Afterwards, though, the song goes downhill. I don’t care for the beat on this track and there are some forgettable verses from Ameer, Merlyn, and Matt. I know this low placement on the list will raise some eyebrows, but it’s never been that exciting to me apart from Kevin’s verse.
When people first heard this song in one of BROCKHAMPTON’s youtube videos, they really reacted well to it. Initially theorized to be called WILD, this was one of the most anticipated tracks on SATURATION 3. I don’t think this one has aged well. It’s a little boring in my opinion, not offering much in production or in lyrics apart from a pretty memorable verse from JOBA.
This song is super underrated. I can see how the repetitive lyrics may rub people the wrong way, but this song just has a certain swagger that I find irresistable. Also, this may not be Kevin’s best verse but the others are strong enough to make up for it. I also really appreciate the message of assertiveness and individuality. BROCKHAMPTON truly is “whoever (they) wanna be,” so this song is a good representation of their collective attitude.
On BOYS, the supergroup sets out to remind listeners that they are indeed a boyband, despite being unconventional candidates for such a status (gay, black, rapping, etc). On Ameer’s razor-sharp verse, he refers to he and his comrades as “Southside One Direction,” comparing himself to both Zayn and Harry. As far as subject matter goes, the song is pretty shallow, with members showcasing their braggadocious side, hyping themselves up and flexing their money. This places the song in a worse position than many of the other tracks in the SATURATION project.
In this heavily underrated SATURATION 2 cut, Matt Champion’s snarling opening verse sounds at home over the funky, somewhat spooky beat. Ameer and Dom’s subsequent verses don’t quite live up to the opening section of the song, which is why this song can’t be any higher on this list.
This song is basically a wannabee QUEER, leaping back and forth between hard-hitting verses (which have a griminess reminiscent of HEAT) and a delightfully melodic hook. The transitions are not as smooth or rewarding as they could be, especially noting how the group has done them better in their discography.
This song is stunning, although I don’t like it as much as I like SUMMER. Bearface continues to elicit raw and emotional verses and choruses in these closing songs. The moment where the music comes to a standstill and he comes in with that crooning “You should move on…” is simply immaculate. The second act of the song when Kevin comes in with the line about Obama is super noteworthy as well. The fact that this song loops into HEAT is just super awesome. This all being said, the song overstays its welcome in a big way– it gets repetitive and goes on a bit too long.
Filled with some memorable lines such as “I want a shirt that make my body feel all sexy.” and “I want a love that make me feel like I ain’t breaking your heart,” RENTAL track stands out as one of the group’s catchiest, most R&B influenced cuts. The hook is clearly memorable, and production is certainly there. I consider this one underrated.
The most nostalgic track in the group’s discography, this is the moment when Bearface shines the most. This one has such a beautiful feel to it, one can’t help but smile and wanna hug a homie when it comes on. The guitar solo on this song is simple, but massively impactful.
HEAT stands out in the BROCKHAMPTON catalog as the angstiest, grimiest song they’ve ever made. The beat is clunky yet explosive, lyrics gritty, delivery animalistic, and honestly the end result is dope. Once I tweeted “‘I’ll break your neck so you can watch your back’ is one of the best lines of 2017.” This is still true. When I was at the concert, I was absolutely THROWN around during this song. I’ve never been in a more intense moshpit during a show, but honestly I had a blast.
This is another song that gets far more hate than it deserves in my opinion. Sure, the “La Di Da Di Da Di Da” repetition is a little juvenile, but the production on this song is great, and more than makes up for the poor hook in my opinion. The descending string section and weird synth are incredibly intriguing. It also features what is arguably Matt Champion’s best verse– wickedly sharp, and a clear departure from many of his other drowsy sounding verses. A very good track, all things considered.
This is certainly the weirdest and most inventive song in the entire BROCKHAMPTON discography. The first half the track, SISTER, is an absolute banger. I listen to this song and I thrash all over the place. It’s punky, it’s violent, it’s psychedelically glitchy– truly among the best in the SATURATION canon. JOBA also has this really unsettling verse about mood stabilizers and schizophrenia that’s noteworthy. NATION, on the other hand, is a complete 180, moving into smoother synths and a slow, brooding verse from Ameer. This section is decidedly less exciting than the excellent first bit, although it still does pack a nostalgic punch that the group does really well. For this reason, it doesn’t stand up to some of the best songs in the series.
“Ooh them boys stay nasty…” ZIPPER is one the group’s most fun songs. I remember dancing all about my room as I heard it for the first time. Production on this track is stellar. The subtle mix of g-funk and whimsy that this groups somehow pulls off so well is perhaps at its best during this song. Like a lot of BROCKHAMPTON’s best, it’s got a super memorable chorus. Also, Merlyn has an awesome verse during which he gives a shoutout to the highly influential Anthony Fantano and also mentions at one point that he got addicted to soft shell tacos, and I think that’s beautiful.
I have such an interesting relationship with this track. I went from disliking it when I first heard it, to loving it, to now being a little indifferent. In terms of lyrical quality this is one of their finer offerings, but production is where it gets really polarizing. The track features this absolutely bizarre shrill horn section and wailing sirens. Initially, this was so inventive that I couldn’t help but love it. As time goes on this instrumentation has become increasingly annoying. This being said, it’s still undeniably one of the group’s best. JOBA has a fantastic verse on this thing– the way he yelps “Break necks I’m the chiropractor,” is hilarious.
Easily one of the most recognizable hooks in the BROCKHAMPTON discography, this audacious banger is certainly one of the group’s more commercial singles, and that’s okay. Great verses keep coming on this track featuring Ameer’s weird squeaky inflection, Merlyn’s bombastic squawking, Dom’s cool flow, and whatever JOBA does in this song. It’s all just great.
This song goes SO HARD. My body hits the floor the moment that Merlyn self-indulgently yelps his own name at the opening of this thing. The hook on this track is catchy as well. Easily one of the most fun cuts in their discography. It’s one of my go-to songs for starting a party.
This is always the first BROCKHAMPTON song I show to people. Joba’s sprightly first verse is infectious, and paired with the g-funk production and a punchy hook delivered by Kevin, it serves as the perfect introduction to the group. A great verse from Dom McLennon as well. BROCKHAMPTON at their most accessible.
“DON’T CALL ME STUPID THAT AIN’T THE WAY MY NAME PRONOUNCED.” It’s the most infectious line in the BROCKHAMPTON catalogue. The beat on this song is just so fantastic… I don’t even know how to describe it. This song has the best Merlyn verse in the SATURATION series, but Matt Champion and JOBA verses are also absolutely fantastic.
Another time I tweeted “Every time I hear BLEACH I tear off all my clothes and beat the ground with my fist.” This is still true. The moment when that airy synth enters before the final chorus is the most emotionally charged moment on the whole SATURATION project, and it occurs to great effect. The hauntingly beautiful atmosphere of this song makes it one of the most memorable moments in the project, and is the most consummate example of the deep vulnerability that this group is able to pull off so well. The line, “Do you make mistakes or do you make a change?” makes me wanna curl up in a ball every time I hear it.
The first BROCKHAMPTON song I ever heard certainly has a special place in my heart. Who will ever forget the hook to this song? Honestly. It’s just so great. Coming after the uncharacteristically abrasive opening song HEAT, this track acts as both a catharsis and a true introduction to the swagger and vivacity that BROCKHAMPTON so delightfully embodies.
GUMMY has what I consider the best production of any BROCKHAMPTON song. The instrumental overture catches any listener off-guard and the moment when the stellar g-funk influenced beat comes in is one of the most satisfying points across the whole SATURATION project. The hook, performed by Kevin Abstract, features the group’s signature modified vocal that sounds almost womanly. Kevin once said that on GUMMY’s hook, he was “trying to sound like M.I.A.” Whatever he was going for, we’re all big fans of it.
QUEER is essentially a more refined version of what the group tried to do with BUMP, and with much better results. The beat changes in this song are insane. I am continually amazed at how effortlessly the song goes from a falsetto-filled slow jam to an absolute home-wrecking banger. The pin-drop transitions of this song are what make it one of the best the group has created.
In my opinion, STAR is the quintessential BROCKHAMPTON song. They performed this five times at their concert, not even kidding. Lyrically, the group is at their most dexterous, weaving together an insane number of pop culture references, including one about Shawn Mendes (my all-time favorite BROCKHAMPTON lyric). The beat on this one is accessible yet inventive, and lyrically the track expansively impressive, fusing together immense cultural conscience, effective comedy, and skillful verbal flows. Truly, this song stands as the consummation of all of the best aspects of BROCKHAMPTON, and the end product is a masterpiece.
1,994 total views, 13 views today
Latest posts by Cole Jackson (see all)
- The 1975 Screenshots the Contemporary with ‘A Brief Inquiry’ - December 7, 2018
- Feeling Behind? Here’s a Recap of This Season’s Essential Albums - October 28, 2018
- Magic in Memphis: A Review of Beale Street Music Festival 2018 - October 15, 2018