By: Winona Young, Arts Editor
Iridescence by Brockhampton
2018 so far has been filled with many notable events for Brockhampton, like being signed to RCA Records, or dismissing former band member Ameer Vann. But the hip-hop group has since returned with iridescence, a passion filled album with bangers, and brilliance galore.
The album starts off with a hypnotic, tough, verse-centric banger that is “NEW ORLEANS.” While the album starts off with more heavy and over-saturated vocals like “BERLIN,” sweeter, almost shy tracks like “THUG LIFE” and “SOMETHING ABOUT HIM” lighten the album. “SAN MARCOS” stands as an anthemic, hopeful song on the album, and I see it as their next “BLEACH.” The album is bangers galore with infectious and heart pumping songs like “WHERE THE CASH AT” and FABRIC”.
Iridescence features some of Joba’s best verses, most notably in “J’OUVERT” as an unstoppable force of manic charisma. Something that I appreciated was the integration of band member bearface into more songs than just moody ballads, most notably on “THUG LIFE.” The album also includes some wonderful features, not only that of Jaden Smith on “NEW ORLEANS” but also serpentwithfeet on the poignant and stirring song “TONYA.”
While this stands as the beginning of THE TIME OF OUR LIVES instalment, and while diehard Brockhampton fans may have had reason to fear that after such a rocky few months that this boy band may be done for good, iridescence proves these boys will continue to be an unstoppable force in hip-hop.
No Shame by Lily Allen
No Shame stands as a long-awaited and difficult comeback for Allen. After years of turmoil struggling with addiction, a divorce, and a stalker, Allen steps back into the music scene unabashedly herself: flawed and regretful, but still full of hope and music.
“Come On Then” kicks off the album on a slow note, but with a heavy trap beat, coming with the most striking and painfully honest lyrics “Yeah I’m a bad mother, I’m a bad wife.” By far what stands as the best track which was also the leading single was “Trigger Bang,” a catchy but chill anthem that takes account of the diva’s past party days from a mature perspective.
Some songs definitely fall to the wayside — like “Higher” and “Lost My Mind,” which fall into the tired pattern of too-heavy hip-hop instrumentation and wandering, over-tuned vocals on Allen’s part. A few notable tracks also include the upbeat “Pushing Up Daisies” which is reminiscent of Allen’s pop sound, just as flirtatious but a tad more shy, and “Apples” which is a quiet, sorrowful rumination on losing her marriage.
While No Shame may not be Allen’s strongest album, it shows her at her most emotionally vulnerable, making it her most groundbreaking.