The Insane Clown Posse return with the second Joker’s Card of the second deck The Mighty Death Pop. As is tradition with the character’s of the Dark Carnival the Death Pop represents a theme that flows throughout the album. The Death Pop is a representation of taking life for granted, taking unnecessary risks just to live in the moment and in this social media/YouTube age it’s something we live around and witness weekly if not daily. The Death Pop as a character is basically a giant parade balloon he inflates with your excitement and adrenaline drifting high into the sky until one day it’s too much, he pops, and your life is over. As a bonus the jewel case album art represents this in a 3D hologram of the event taking place, which I have to say is pretty cool as I sat listening to the album and watching him pop over and over again like a geek. After listening to the album multiple times I can say this for the most part is the evolution of the group that I’ve been looking for. I’ve grown up with this music and it’s always felt as if it was maturing with me, as if I’ve been lucky enough to be the exact demographic it’s shooting for with every release. I know this isn’t really the case as Violent J and Shaggy have made it obvious with their broad range of style and content over the years that they have no interest in pandering to anyone and only make material they feel would be cool to listen to if they were buying the shit. The scene has kind of taken on a life of it’s own however and downgraded some of it’s artistic approach in the last few years and was beginning to feel as though the word juggalo (the label most fans have named themselves with) was a crutch to build new tunes off of. I’m all for partying and hanging out with friends but I’m really more interested in thought provoking challenging concepts and darker material than party anthems. After over 20 years in the game and more releases than almost any other group out there not everything is a fresh concept as that has to be getting to be a huge challenge this late in the game, but Death Pop still delivers enough new material to excite and surprise long time listeners. With that being said let’s jump into the track list shall we.
1. Intro – The intro serves to explain the Death Pop’s purpose within the universe. Listen as someone takes a stupid risk and is rewarded with experiencing the Death Pop.
2. The Mighty Death Pop – The title track using an instantly recognizable and catchy sample is one that takes hold and gets you moving with a groove that sets the stage for the party inside and is also a great anthem for the star attraction.
3. Night of the Chainsaw – Violent J takes his chainsaw, Chuck out for a stroll as he severs limbs and disembowels everyone in his path. The song is catchy, the beat gets my head moving and the pure energy in Mr. Bruce’s vocals blasts the character and track to a whole new level.
4. Chris Benoit – This track is a stand out for me as it is one of the group’s darkest tracks they have ever come up with. Rather than slapping your skull to death with the obvious shock factor that most these kind of tunes have ICP wisely took a more subtle approach focusing on the mind state someone like Benoit may have had during and after the act and it works extremely well.
5. The Blasta – A bullied revenge machine reminisces on how he dealt with his problems in the past only to realize he’s passed the tradition on and subconsciously refuses to quit himself. It sounds upbeat and when it’s about destroying everyone who pushes you around why shouldn’t it. This is familiar territory for the group but has a new energy.
6. Kickin’ Kickin’ – It took me a few listens to get into this track as it slows down the pace of the album to a screeching hault, but it is growing on me. A fun track about being a ninja nothing too special. It’s not one of their best ninja tracks, but it’s still far from feeling like filler.
7. Bazooka Joey – Shaggy solo’s through this one and damn I wish he would take centre stage more often. The track is basically about Joey AKA Shaggy 2 Dope nuking everything in sight with a rocket launcher that seems to have unlimited ammo. The anthem for a time when video games still had God mode. The pace picks up again as Shaggy dances…… “with a Goddamn Bazooka”.
8. Shooting Stars – This is pretty much an updated version of the Psychopathic Records collabo track Shock and Awe. This one is quite heavier and chunkier sounding than the previous though making it a welcome update to the still solid old theme. The clowns infiltrate a gathering of mainstream stars raining havoc and death on all who deserve it.
9. Juggalo Juice – It couldn’t be an ICP album without a heavy dose of Faygo to wash it all down. This is the new Faygo anthem and also a party anthem for the fans who love showering in the stuff. Hell who doesn’t love that experience?
10. Hate Her to Death – As I said earlier there are moments when ICP surpasses everything people label the music with and the approach to this track is the epitome of the artistry evolving and maturing with age. This is a slow ballad about obsessing over a love one can never have to the point of hatred. Tons of emotion behind this track makes it an amazing piece of the puzzle. Hate Her to Death is just plain creepy showing a more serious side to the clowns.
11. SKREEEM! feat. Hopsin and Tech N9ne – This is another party anthem that hits all the right notes. A stadium worthy tune about the fun of freaking out and screaming your head off at live events.
12. Ghetto Rainbows – Balancing the good with the bad Ghetto Rainbows is just the mentality that there is always something good to look forward to in even the worst situations. An upbeat laid back track about the brightest lights coming from the most putrid shadows.
13. When I’m Clownin – A track about being a clown from a duo who have been clowns for over 20 years. I assume they know their stuff on the subject, this is just a funny track not one of my favourites on the album but the beat is good enough that it keeps bumping through my brain. I’d be tempted to stab it out with a pair of scissors if it wasn’t so enjoyable.
14. Dog Catchers – At first I wasn’t understanding this song, but then I concentrated on the lyrics and nuclear mullet finally spelled it out for me. This is a hilarious diss track to Dog the Bounty Hunter. Love him or hate him you’ve gotta admit he’s a pretty funny looking dude and after the recorded racist remarks were leaked I guess the clowns decided it as a warrant to sick their Hell fire on him.
15. Daises – A strange out of place track about seeing diamonds in the rough. It’s out of place on the album, and out of place for the group which is why it’s a great tune. I like the group so much because they are something different and always experiment with different styles and themes and usually it works, this one does for me.
16. Where’s God – A track about how people use religion to their own advantage rather than to help others. This is basically ICP saying they stand behind God, but feel religion is poisoned and has tainted the notion of God.
17. Forever – A laid back track about somehow lasting forever. I think this late in the game even ICP are surprised to be releasing quality material, and they are appreciative that they were blessed with the talent to entertain and every door and everything it has rewarded them with. A great way to round out the album…….but it’s not even over yet.
In each edition of The Mighty Death Pop there is a bonus full length CD one with an hour long track, one with covers, and one with remixes, collabs, and left overs from the main album. In total the Mighty Death Pop is a behemoth of I believe 47 tracks when all is said and done. I won’t go into it all in detail but I will say it’s not a bunch of wasted filler or anything like that on the bonuses. There was so few tracks I didn’t care for out of the collection that it would be more than nitpicking to care. ICP are back and sound entirely revitalized for this assault!