BROCKHAMPTON delves into serious topics on their latest album release. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Maggie Johanet, Contributing Writer

American boyband BROCKHAMPTON released its sixth album on April 9, 2021. The album, titled “ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE,” boasts a sizable 13 tracks that ring in at about 46 minutes.

“ROADRUNNER” is a vast departure from the group’s past endeavors. The album features a more “honed in” approach to the style and flow of their songs, rather than the band’s characteristic genre-hopping. “ROADRUNNER” sounds a lot more pop-like than any of their past work. Don’t get it confused, though — “ROADRUNNER” does not sacrifice any of its artistic and introspective qualities. The album does not shy away from darkness and has recurring references to band member Joba’s father’s suicide and the events that followed.

On “THE LIGHT,” Joba confronts his father’s suicide and the events that ensued. It is the true stunner of this album. The song feels potent and intense as Joba sings in almost graphic detail about his father’s death. Joba does not shy away from the heavy reality of the suicide and the period afterward. He also grapples with the themes of life, death, the afterlife and eternal damnation in the song. Joba successfully undertakes a lot in under four minutes.

The album’s 11th track, titled “DON’T SHOOT UP THE PARTY,” is another standout piece. This song pays homage to ’90s hip-hop with a pronounced vintage sound. In this song, band member Kevin Abstract delves into his internalized racism and homophobia. “DON’T SHOOT UP THE PARTY” deals with many of the same themes that Abstract displayed in his 2016 solo album, “American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story.” However, “DON’T SHOOT UP THE PARTY” lacks the innocence and melancholic longing of “American Boyfriend,” swapping it out for a more intense and almost angry undertone.

“ROADRUNNER” is the group’s first album featuring collaborations with other artists. “ROADRUNNER” boasts a whopping seven collaborations, showcasing artists such as Danny Brown, JPEGMAFIA, A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, Sogone Soflexy, Charlie Wilson and Baird. All of these outside artists contribute to a more pop-like sound and a less sporadic direction for BROCKHAMPTON. 

The album is definitely worth a listen. It is shorter than many off BROCKHAMPTON’s previous albums, but this makes it an easier listen. The album is not as dense as BROCKHAMPTON’s albums usually are, which results in a more focused and mature product. This album shows that BROCKHAMPTON is not the hip-hop indie boy band we sometimes like to think of, but rather a talented and impressive group of artists that are really coming into their own. BROCKHAMPTON’s “ROADRUNNER” is one of their most impressive albums yet and might be their work with the most concentrated vision, too.

Stream it now on Apple Music, Spotify and more!