Somewhere on a dingy, pale-blue sofa in a poorly lit room, BROCKHAMPTON is situated before your screen in silvery jumpsuits. Their quintessential Cheeto-dust orange garb and cheesy smiles are supplanted by somber, subdued semi-dancemoves and emotionally raw lyricism. This is their latest album GINGER at its overarching emotional core, “Dearly Departed.”
An obvious sly at former vocalist Ameer Vann’s departure from the band in May 2018, the video depicts current members breaking the fourth wall as though speaking to a particular person. Kevin Abstract kicks off this intervention deadpan, staring into the eyes of the viewer as he spits his verse about betrayal and backstabbing, only to leave the scene immediately after he’s finished. From that point on, the music video centers on every member in the scene as they bare their heartbreak and pain from a different point of view. It pans out as Joba belts out the high notes in the chorus and collapses. It zooms in on Matt as he reads his verse from notecards only to tear them apart and abandon the track that’s still playing — Merlyn is in this cut but says absolutely nothing, sobered. And Dom gets up close and personal, punching the camera as he describes a situation in which a “friend” of his set up another friend to get robbed. Conducted in a single take, the nuances of the video stand out, from the panning in and out of the camera to the eye contact of the members to the actions they take as they sing their verses.
The art of this video pins itself in symbolism, every action directed towards the camera as though it’s an actual person. This emphasizes that any beef in the room is not among the bandmates but between the group and someone else in the room. They’re together in the emotional battle between BROCKHAMPTON and this other person. Ameer Vann is never explicitly brought up, but given the lyrical content, the unity of the members and the emotionally unhinged gestures, BROCKHAMPTON makes it clear that Vann is no longer welcome and has left deep, vulnerable scars in their lives.