Band leaves their golden age

Music collective “BROCKHAMPTON” releases their finale album to end off their several-year lifespan

BROCKHAMPTONs The Family album released on Nov. 17th, 2022

Photo credits to RCA Records

BROCKHAMPTON’s “The Family” album released on Nov. 17th, 2022

Albi Dell Apa, Staff Reporter

November 17th was the day the music collective known as “BROCKHAMPTON” released their final album called “The Family.” It was released as they were doing their set at Coachella, a great way to end off their 12 year run. Except, a collection of previously unfinished songs was released under the album “TM” the very next day, making it the true final album. Those won’t be talked about in this review however, the songs on that album are mostly just extra tracks. 

“Take It Back” is a track reminiscing about the journey of the band. In the first chorus of the song, the member known as Kevin Abstract recalled when he and BROCKHAMPTON’s photographer Ashlan Grey were making music for people in their hometown. He thanks Tyler, The Creator and Kanye West for being his inspiration in music and for being a link that got him to meet the other members of the band, despite only meeting Tyler in person. Kevin Abstract shakes away the era of the collective’s older albums by saying “had to wash the blue paint off, so I can be free.” This is referring to a trilogy of albums previously released called “Saturation I-III” with album covers featuring members wearing blue body paint. Later into the timeline, Kevin recalls the seemingly miniscule origin story of the band, where he put in a Kanye West forum “anybody wanna start a band?” He and his friend Merlyn Wood who he met in high school were the two original members under a different name of AliveSinceForever. The last few lines show Kevin’s love for his friends, hoping they reunite with each other at some point. This song would honestly have been a great sendoff even if it was just a single, but this being the first song on the album holds high hopes for the rest of the tracks. 

“Golden Teeth” sees Kevin Abstract showing his exhaustion with the music business, directly saying that the entire album was to fulfill a contract they had with their label. The collective was required by contract to release six albums over the three years from the day of signing, and by the end of it Kevin felt like they had put too much on themselves to feasibly deal with. Kevin says that they were effectively the blueprint for copies of other bands of their style, and called people clowns for listening to “fake BROCKHAMPTONS.” He ends with saying he’s the richest person to be seen falling off, which was only true at the time the song was being made. 

“Good Time” was another track on the album calling back to when it wasn’t all about money for the band, when they were still annoying their neighbors with their music and working on their “classic” albums. It initially starts with saying it’s time to pack it up, they’ve got nothing left to do. Kevin says he’s got his life set for a good future through using the music, but it was at the cost of his friends. Most members had left before this album was recorded, with member “bearface” helping out Kevin and pushing him to make one last album in order for the man who started it all to vent his frustrations and contradictions. He ended the song saying he felt bad because the only way to cope with it all was turning it into art which Kevin felt was extremely toxic.

“Any Way You Want Me” is a message to Kevin’s former bandmate Ameer who was cut off from the band with little time to talk about it, leaving much to be said. Ameer and Kevin knew each other since they were 14, so it wasn’t just some random guy that was being thrown out and to be replaced. Kevin had been feeling lots of regret as Ameer wasn’t willing to simply overlook this act, and Kevin states in the song “I know you hate me, but what if I could change?” The song ends off with Kevin acknowledging how toxic that is as a concept, but admits thats just how he is. 

“The Family” starts with Kevin sipping a bit of alcohol in order to give himself some sort of reason to blame the following few minutes of lyrics he is about to say in this song. This song is largely picking out specific moments in the band’s history that would eventually lead to their demise, with the intro of the song calling out his bandmates for leaving him to deal with responding to the fans online all on his own. He says he doesn’t feel bad for cutting verses from songs that weren’t up-to-par with the others, which had caused disputes over the splitting of money. Not to mention, he wanted to release an album called “PUPPY,” but other members were against it due to having the previously mentioned Ameer on it, so it was scrapped entirely. The outro has bearface sort of thanking Kevin for trying to keep it alive even if it didn’t quite work. 

“The Ending” reminisced his life before music. He woke up one day and knew he would be a superstar. Unknowingly it would cost him his friendships, but still appreciated the people that were there with him from the start. He had thanked the management company that was behind him and his band, 4strikes, for believing in his vision many years ago when most people wouldn’t. He makes one final reference to the question the fans asked when the band ended very publicly in early 2022 of “is this how they wanted to end their story?”

“Brockhampton” was the final song on the album. It was a farewell letter to the band relating to the struggles that they had faced. They had previously released an album by the name of ‘ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE” and that album was a much needed healing process for them as a member called Joba lost his father as well as Kevin needing to go sober. A bit later into the song, Kevin says that he wanted to get his success differently from the format that others followed via TikTok and radio songs but lost that when he succumbed to the loss of his creative control over his music to his label. As soon as money was involved, he felt his relationships with his friends and creativity start to crumble under the pressure. The song nears its end as he thanks all his bandmates despite their turmoil, and then saying that the show is over. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this album. BROCKHAMPTON was known for their very unique beats and the story behind the band’s lifespan is such an interesting one. The album was largely a solo project by Kevin Abstract which further reinforced how alone he was through the finale of this several year long journey. It’s unsure where Kevin is going to take his career after this album, there has been talk that he is leaving music as a whole but everything has to be taken with a grain of salt. Overall, the album gets a solid 5/5.