The song “TONYA” by BROCKHAMPTON, is about regret, self-worth and letting down those closest to you. The American hip hop collective was going through a falling-out with Ameer Vaan, a main member of the group and the face of their three SATURATION albums. Ameer was accused of sexual assault by multiple women in 2018, something that he denied, but eventually admitted to doing. After kicking Vaan out of the band, morale was severely impacted and the trajectory of their fifth album, “iridescence” changed entirely. The 14th song on the album “TONYA” marks a turning point for the band as they take an honest route to stay true to themselves and the emotion pouring out of this performance from every single member hits hard for long time fans including myself. Every BROCKHAMPTON song and album has different themes and experiences. The diversity of the group helps to portray these different backgrounds with personalized lyrics and heavy subject matter.
Verse 3: Dom McLennonI fantasize about a time when everything was simple
My shelter sheltered me from things I needed to commit to
The way it stands to me
A victim of Stockholm in my friendships and family
Dom as a lyricist has made me look deeper into his verses which always have deeper meanings tied to them. Each member shows how they feel about the trajectory of the group as well as past struggles throughout their lives. When he references being “A victim of Stockholm” with the various relationships he has in his life, he’s not saying they actually kidnapped him, but his emotions feel kidnapped in a way. He develops an emotional bond with his family and friends which results in him being emotionally damaged by these relationships when things go wrong. He incorporates a line break in the third line above to create a more impacting line delivery for the final line in the verse. There is also of course rhythm throughout the song including the chorus and outside of it. The use of repetition in the chorus helps to convey the questioning of self worth and helps the listener with summarizing how the difficulties that the group goes through makes them all feel worthless.
Chorus:Hey, and I’ve been feelin’ like I don’t matter how I used to
Hey, and I’ve been feelin’ like I don’t matter how I used to
The group members all have personal struggles and aren’t afraid of being emotional on their newer albums, which is unlike their previous projects being more lighthearted and fun. That’s not to say their were exceptions to this in both eras of BROCKHAMPTON, but again, at the time of the creation of iridescence, the group was in a rough spot on the inside rather than the performance on the outside.
The group came out with their final studio album last month resulting from some of the inside problems they were experiencing throughout their careers in BROCKHAMPTON. I have always been a fan and will continue to listen to their music as they redefined the definition of what a boyband can be and accomplish. I thank BROCKHAMPTON for helping me through some rough spots of my own and wish the members the best of luck in their futures. They stayed a family till the end.