“hypochondriac” by brakence: a three-year journey

An abstract image of brakence, who appears to be in some sort of forest. This image also serves as the album cover for “hypochondriac”. (Courtesy of RateYourMusic.com)

An abstract image of brakence, who appears to be in some sort of forest. This image also serves as the album cover for “hypochondriac”. (Courtesy of RateYourMusic.com)

By Michael Birdsell, Senior Reporter


Glitch pop extraordinaire, brakence has finally released a new album after an almost three-year break, while this may seem like a while to some, brakence kept fans entertained with a plethora of singles, a build for what was to come on “hypochondriac”, his third studio album. 

As an artist, brakence has always been somewhat reserved whenever it comes to showing himself publicly. The now twenty-one year old hyperpop artist has been writing and producing music since he was around the ages of 10 to 12, taking influence from artists from a wide variety of genres such as Frank Ocean, Denzel Curry, and most importantly, EDEN, so much to the point that when brakence first started gaining traction, people thought he was a side project of EDEN as they had a similar voice. All of this information comes from an “Ask Me Anything” that he did on Reddit all the way back in 2019, further proving how little he has actually revealed about himself. Over time, brakence released his debut album “hypnagogia”, a short, 20-minute project that never really gained too much attraction in the music world, but he would have more to say in the future. 

The back cover of “hypochondriac” that features a spiral along with the titles of each song. (Courtesy of Genius)

Fast forward to February 2020, when brakence began to tease the project that would blow him up in the underground “punk2” with the song “rosier”, an emotional ballad that leads up to an explosive ending filled with punching bass and glitchy vocals. Fans would not have to wait long for “punk2” either, as it was released in March 2020 with some highlights being “fwb”, “rosier/punk2”, and “ginger tea”. This was also the album that got him signed to Columbia Records, who pushed a re-release of “punk2” with the bonus track “sauceintherough” which featured production from Dylan Brady, one half of what could be considered the most mainstream hyperpop duo, 100 gecs. 

After all of this, brakence would enter a year and a half hiatus until he slowly but surely released five singles for “hypochondriac”. He started by dropping the track “argyle”, moving to the song “cbd”, then to “venus fly trap” and “caffeine”. Finally, just around half a month before the release of the album brakence released “bugging!” which would become the first track chronologically on the album.

“hypochondriac” might just be one of the greatest albums to come out this year. While brakence’s previous project focuses more on his past relationships and how his life could end up in the future, his latest project just feels more mature, could it be the introspective vocals or even the groundbreaking production featured on it. 

The album opens up with brakence recognizing his long absence from the music world with the song “bugging!” a track that features his signature vocal flows of pitching his voice extremely high at times, and also short occasional rap verses to break up the flow of the song. This song could be considered one of the lower points of the album, but the next track, “caffeine”, which was the second to last single released has to be the lowest point of the album. It has an obnoxious instrumental and repetitive chorus which repeats for pretty much the entire song. The song does not fit in with the themes of the album, and it does not even transition well into the next song as most others do. Most every song on the albums has somewhat of a hint or element for what  would be to come in the next track, may it be a small melody or using the same beat as a transition, but “caffeine” does not, giving the track an almost jarring feeling. 

The next song “venus fly trap”, hands down, has to be one of the most addicting songs to listen to on the project with an incredibly catch chorus throughout the track, ultimately leading to a beat switch in the latter half, slowing down the song into an eerie slow outro reminiscing on a past romance. The song towards the end has this chime that could remind one almost of that chime heard when a car is started, one again seamlessly transitioning to the song “teeth” which carries that chime throughout the song’s introduction. The song begins with a short rap verse that contains a clever nod to the video game Elden Ring, later transitioning into synths that have an almost video game type of sound. 


Getting further into “hypochondriac”, listeners will find the middle section of the album to be quite diverse in terms of tracks. This section also contains the most popular song that wasn’t released as a single, “5g”, one that is currently gaining a small amount of traction on TikTok. 

Once making it to then end of the album, which could be considered the best stretch, ranging from songs “deepfake” all the way to the final and title track “hypochondriac”. A song that noticeably does not have brakence’s signature glitchy, bass-heavy production, but instead is a piano ballad about how badly he messed up a past relationship.   

Additionally, the tour for this album is still ongoing as of the writing of the article, and the performance done in Chicago showcased that brakence not only can sing well in the studio, but can sound almost exactly the same live as in those studio sessions. For the “hypochondriac tour” being his first one headlining brakence is sure to have a bright future in music. 

As a whole “hypochondriac” is an album that showcases the maturity brakence has gone through during his brief absence, may it be the articulate showcase of production using complicated guitar chords, or the glitchy, experimental synths.

If only the songs “caffeine” and ‎”preparation exercise no. 7 (trembling)” were not on the album “hypochondriac” would be a masterpiece.