Yesterday, BROCKHAMPTON leader Kevin Abstract announced that the band wouldn’t be releasing any more records after the two albums they plan to release this year. The hip-hop group has barely been around half a decade but they have already amassed a cult following and infiltrated the charts with Sugar from their last album Ginger.
Next week, we’ll get the first of two farewell albums Road Runner. With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the best albums that were released before artists bid farewell. It’s a good sign that these albums may be some of BROCKHAMPTON's best work yet.
The Beatles - Let It Be
Arguably the most famous break-up album of all time, Let It Be closed the book on one of the most formative groups in music. It was released a month after the group’s break-up but was actually recorded mostly before Abbey Road. Despite being put together by producer Phil Spektor using essentially rejected studio sessions, it’s given way to some of the group’s most famous songs including the title track and Across The Universe. All the members of The Beatles would go on to release their own projects both in bands and solo following Let It Be.
The White Stripes - Icky Thump
In 2007, The White Stripes released their sixth album Icky Thump driven by the relentless, crushing title track. Unbeknownst to fans at the time, it would be the final album that Jack and Meg White would release together. They announced a tour for the album but cancelled many of the dates and in 2011 officially announced their split. Icky Thump is a sterling album to go out on though. It’s experimental, in-your-face and wildly entertaining. Jack went on to release solo records and continue with his other bands The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. Meg, however, has been largely inactive in music.
Outkast - Idlewild
Outkast were already starting to part when they released Speakerboxxx/The Love Below with separate sides but by Idlewild they were ready to split officially. It was a soundtrack to a film of the same name that fused together musical influences of the deep south. The album was mildly received compared to its predecessor but in retrospect it has some shining moments. From the boisterous joy of Morris Brown to the playful blues of Idlewild Blues, it’s an entertaining set that bids farewell in ambitious style.
The Fugees - The Score
It’s rare that a group with only two albums to their name leave such an impact but The Fugees are musical royalty. The Score was their magnum opus and also their farewell record, not that fans knew that at the time. They broke up the following year and left behind them a record considered by many to be one of the best of all time. Songs like Killing Me Softly and Ready Or Not are hip-hop hallmarks now. All members went on to make their own project - most notably Lauryn Hill dropped The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, collecting the Grammy for Album Of The Year.
The Throne - Watch The Throne
In 2011, Kanye was coming in off the back of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and JAY-Z had enjoyed a commercial renaissance with The Blueprint III. On the top of their game, they united as The Throne for a gold standard hip-hop record. It’s a monumental, grandiose album that gave way to one of the most recognisable rap songs of all time in N***as In Paris. Their turbulent friendship since has been well-documented making us skeptical that we’re ever going to get another Throne record.
Destiny’s Child - Destiny Fulfilled
Destiny Fulfilled basically says it all. The iconic R&B trio had come and conquered and now they were ready to part after one final statement. And what a statement it was. Bounding in hot with the rollicking Lose My Breath, Beyoncé, Kelly, and Michelle were in top form. Both Bey and Kelly had found success with solo projects but as a group their power was palpable. From the harmonies on Girl to the effortless cool on Soldier, it was a reminder that they will always be one of the best girl groups of all time.
One Direction - Made In The A.M.
One Direction had already lost one member by the time they arrived at their fifth album Made In The A.M. Showing no signs of giving in, however, they came through with arguably their best studio album. Singles Perfect and Drag Me Down packed a mature punch like few of their previous drops while each member was given their moment to shine as a songwriter.
ABBA - The Visitors
When there are two couples within your group and both divorce, it’s almost impossible to recover. ABBA’s swansong was The Visitors, an album that came while the band was crumbling from the inside. Gone were the feathery disco songs and in their place were weighted pop songs that dealt with love and loss while also being infiltrated by the Cold War that was impacting the globe at the time.
*NSYNC - Celebrity
*NSYNC’s third album came after the group’s hugely successful No Strings Attached. A more mature, R&B project, it essentially set Justin Timberlake up for solo success. Still, it garnered huge success. Girlfriend is one of the group’s biggest tracks and the album was the third highest selling album of 2001 in the US. The following year, JT released Justified and the rest is history.
Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
We didn’t know this was Daft Punk’s last record until last month. The iconic French duo announced that they were parting ways leaving Random Access Memories as their final LP. Coming eight years after their previous album, RAM was a deep dive into the history of disco music - a prelude to the sound the group kicked off with, if you like. Get Lucky became one of their biggest hits ever and the album nabbed them the Grammy for Album Of The Year.