Ginger is a brisk, restrained listen. At 12 songs and 44 minutes, Brockhampton‘s fifth album operates like a tightrope act between the group’s propensity for overwhelming earnestness and the chaos of their kinetic cyphers. That’s what makes the album’s second track, “Sugar,” feel like a bold swing after the darkness of the preceding intro track, “No Halo.”
Wistful and sweet, “Sugar” is centered by a mesmerizing hook from Ryan Beatty. “Spendin’ all my nights alone, waiting for you to call me,” Beatty’s layered vocals sing on top of a sparse, guitar-driven beat. “You’re the only one I want by my side when I fall asleep.” As the song unfolds, Jabari and Romil Hemnani slowly introduce more production elements that swell around Beatty’s voices and ultimately propel the downtempo affair into something far more upbeat. Through a vocoder-like drawl, Dom McLennon delivers one of the album’s most emotional verses as his voice twists around the lyrics “You can find me dancing in between the raindrops / Tryna find a way to make the pain stop.”
In a recent Rolling Stone interview about the making of Ginger, Kevin Abstract described Brockhampton’s desire to make their new album sound like summer. “I don’t know what makes a song connect anymore, and I don’t think people really know,” Abstract said. “Our album is very summery right now. Even though it’s maybe rooted in sadness, the goal is to make it feel right and to uplift and to help people get through.”
On “Sugar,” they accomplished just that.