“SATURATION II” is the second full-length album from the self-proclaimed boyband, BROCKHAMPTON. Not only is this their second album as a collective, it is their second album this summer, with the original “SATURATION” being released this past June. The group consists of 17 members, many of which are producers and managers, and members of the creative team, but the main vocal performers include Kevin Abstract, Ameer Vann, who is featured on both album covers, Matt Champion, Dom McLennon, JOBA, Merlyn Wood, and Bear//Face.
This is a group that I hadn’t even heard of coming into 2017, but ever since their debut album, an album that I thoroughly enjoyed, BROCKHAMPTON has quickly become a name that I have considered one to look out for. My anticipation for this new album only increased with each new single that the band released leading up to it, with “GUMMY,” “SWAMP,” “JUNKY,” and “SWEET” all being truly some of the best singles I had heard this year. So, coming in I was hoping for, at the least, an album that was comparable to their first release this year, but I also hoped they could improve beyond “SATURATION” and release one of the best albums of the year.
Well, it turns out that my hope was in the right place, because not only has BROCKHAMPTON managed to make a sequel album that is up to par with their tremendous first effort, they have made an even more consistent, better produced, better-performed sequel album that is loaded with great songs from front to back. As great as “SATURATION” was, and still is, “SATURATION II” improves on the few flaws I had with the original, even in a mere ten-week time period.
Starting from the top, “GUMMY” is a phenomenal opening track that leads with an intense Kevin Abstract verse that dives into a lot of questions that people seem to have about him, and it works increasingly well with the exotic production. Ameer Vann, Dom McLennon, and Merlyn Wood are all equally great on the track, but it is Matt Champion coming in at the end with an insane delivery that steals the show.
When looking at the other singles, “SWAMP” is an excellent track that is a bit slower, and the beat is truly gorgeous from start to finish. Kevin and Matt bring the chorus to life, even with some relatively simple lyrics, and Dom brings another tremendous verse, this time about the struggles of love and fair-weathered friends. I also love JOBA’s verse at the end of the track, as I truly did not know that JOBA could bring that sort of fire, but he does, and he leaves the song on a high note.
“JUNKY” and “SWEET” are two of my favorite songs that BROCKHAMPTON has released to this date, as both show the true range that this group has. “JUNKY” is a balls-to-the-wall banger with a beat that could give you nightmares, and five of the best rap verses you will hear in 2017, each going into a member’s inner demons. Picking a favorite verse in this song is like picking a favorite son: it is truly impossible, so I won’t even try. Then we have “SWEET,” a much more laid back song with an incredibly fun, intoxicating beat, and an equally intoxicating chorus from Mr. Abstract. This is simply a blast of a track, with clever lyrics and great verses, especially from Dom McLennon, who has an awesome flow towards the beginning of the song.
For many artists, these singles would be the clear highlights in an otherwise average track list, but with BROCKHAMPTON, these singles barely stand out among the 14 (not including the “SCENE” interludes) outstanding tracks that they offer up. Going back to the start of the album, “QUEER” is an intense song focused on each of the member’s quirks that make them unique. The beat is terrific, each verse is great, especially Ameer’s at the tail end of the track, and it is just another song showing the range that this group has in concepts, flow, and instrumentals.
“JELLO” has a fire chorus, and shows the band’s use of auto tune, but unlike on “SATURATION” where I thought that it occasionally took away the emotional impact of the songs, the vocal distortions work in the artists’ favor here, as each of them sound much more in the theme with the awesome beat, and, of course, all of the members kill their respective verses.
“TEETH” is one of the most emotionally charged moments on the record, as it has Ameer Vann going deep into his childhood problems and how music helped him move forward. Ameer is beyond exceptional on this track, and the production by Romil Hemnani is some of the most simple, but also some of my favorite on the entire album. The same sort of emotion can be found on “JESUS” which, like “TEETH,” is quite short in length, but it still packs a hefty emotional punch, and features Kevin singing about his relationship struggles, and is highlighted by a beautiful outro by Bear//Face that takes my breath away every time I hear it.
I love the jazzy instrumental on “TOKYO,” I love the lyrics and theme of the song “CHICK,” which centers around the haters and naysayers that each member endures. “FIGHT” is one of my personal favorites on this album, as it has a great beat, and features lyrical highlights from Ameer and Dom, both of which go off on young black struggles in America. These verses are capped off with some flair, as Kevin and Merlyn get increasingly intense on the chorus, and it goes over incredibly well.
All of these very different, but equally fantastic songs bring the album to its concluding three tracks, “GAMBA,” “SUNNY,” and “SUMMER,” all three of which are slower, much more melodic songs, but are equally effective at creating a tone that works for its artists. I like to lump these three songs as the songs where Bear//Face just shows off, as this man has the voice of an angel, and every time he shows up on a track I just lose my mind. He has a small part in all three of these closers, and he is the stand out in each and every one of them. Still, there is a ton to enjoy aside from him, as the production on each track is outstanding, as are the uses of vocal effects to create a certain mood.
BROCKHAMPTON came out with one of the best albums of the year earlier this summer with “SATURATION,” and somehow this boyband not only topped it two months later, they topped it by a wide margin, and quite possibly made the best album of the entire year in the process. I love every single song from start to finish, I even love the two scenes, specifically “SCENE 2,” which is a lovely ode to the family that this group has created within themselves. Each rap verse is consistently fresh, each member brings a new perspective, a distinct flow, or an original idea to the table with each new song, and the production is some of the best you will hear on a record in 2017. This is a flawless project from a group that truly deserves the attention of the entire music community. “SATURATION II” is more than an improved sequel; it is a groundbreaking, genre-breaking album that consistently surprises and consistently blew me away with each song on the track list.
What did you think of “SATURATION II”? Is it better than the first? Comment below with your thoughts.