Review Summary: Remember that kid from high school who laughed every time anyone said "penis"? He probably listens to Insane Clown Posse.
Sometimes bands exist peripherally to you. You know they're over there, but for whatever reason, you've ignored them. But the noise gets louder and louder from that direction, your eyes start drifting towards them, because you want to know what that's all about. So... I decided to step into the carnival that Insane Clown Posse are supposed to represent, see what this is all about. What is this that inspires so many incredibly fanatical cult followers and such intense detractors? I grabbed a copy of their latest album, Bang! Pow! Boom!
(green version), to find out.
I entered the experience and was immediately worried by the intro. Creatively titled "Intro"
. I'm one for theatrics, but knowing what little I knew about this band, something about it just didn't set well with me. But, look, it's over and the first real track begins, "The Clowns Are Back"
. Circus flavored music, pretty welcoming. Not bad as an extended opener, they probably open their shows with this. My worries lessened, this wasn't the worst thing I'd ever heard. It wasn't good, but it seemed forgivable as an opener.
But then things began for real. It was time for the real songs, no more introductions, this was what the album was going to offer. "In Yo Face"
. What are these lyrics? Really? The first verse was fine, a call out to fans, bad mouthing people who pretend to be fans... But the next verse; condoms getting stuck in mustaches, "wang to the mouth", "from Pluto to Uranus, we underground famous." Yeah. I'm in for a very juvenile ride. (And, by the way, you know a band is "underground famous" when their T-shirts and CDs are in Hot Topic and their board game is being sold a few stores down in Spencer's Gifts.)
was less painful, I got a slight Cake vibe from it's vocal delivery, "Zombie Slide"
was not as funny or fun as they clearly meant it to be- this is when I realized I wasn't sure when they were serious or when they were trying to be funny. "To Catch A Predator"
is ridiculous but entertaining in the way that watching people hurt themselves is, "Boing Boing"
is a pathetic, misogynistic bragging fest about how much "bitches" want his apparently amazing penis. It's huge
. They love it
. You as jealous as I am, homie? Word.
This seems like a good time to share something I realized about them. They're very much one trick ponies. Every song follows the same formulas. You're not going to hear any new tricks from one song to another, production or musically. The rapping verses almost always follow the same brand of flow, a very basic matching of the beats, which are often incredibly basic themselves. It renders all of their raps obnoxiously similar, after a while, you get very tired of them. None stand out from each other at all.
Also, an aside, some lyrical research reveals a strange hypocrisy in this albums strong anti-pedophile lyrics. Past songs such as "The Neden Game"
off of The Great Milenko
spoke of admiring a thirteen year old's "tits", and the song "Lil' Somethin' Somethin'"
off of Riddle Box
actually talks about engaging in anal sex with a girl who "can't be a day over fifteen". I guess after having their own kids, things like that stopped being so cool or funny.
Back to the album, it just goes on and on, I don't think I need to give a blow by blow. More crude high school humor about dicks, sex, violence, misogyny, all mix together into a soggy, foul smelling stew of mediocrity. And, my God, "Miracles"
nearly killed me. I think this song really sums up the intelligence level of this group. It would seem their theory on life is that everything is magic. Everything. Including giraffes and "f*cking rainbows". "Water, fire, air and dirt. F*ckin' magnets, how do they work? And I don't wanna talk to a scientist, ya'll motherf*ckers lyin' and gettin' me pissed."
Clearly this band has succeeded by appealing to the lowest common denominator. They suck them in with their created world, The Dark Carnival, by naming them, and by making them feel like they're a part of something big. But to us on the outside, it's just mediocre music and terrible lyrics. Go listen to one of my recommendations, this is awful.