Review Summary: Death Grips take their sound to new places, both more extreme and more subdued.Jenny Death
comes during the most uncertain times in a history of a band that is notorious for its uncertainties. For those of you who may be totally oblivious to the circumstances of JD's release, the speculation was such that many believed the album simply didn't exist at times. Fans proposed release date possibilities that came and went almost daily, and the initial promise of the album's release before the end of 2014 was broken, much like many of their other promises over the past couple of years. The band even went as far as to drop an instrumental surprise album (while they were supposedly broken up, no less) where letters of the tracks spelled out the infamous phrase "JENNY DEATH WHEN," the resounding speculative statement behind the album's release.
To say that this album had a lot of hype to live up to is a fairly gross understatement, but the second part of Death Grips' final(?) album The Powers that B
answers that anticipation adequately with the band's most warped, diverse, and sonically ambitious release to date. Jenny Death
takes the extremes of the band's previous work and stretches them even further, while also branching into new territory. "Inanimate Sensation" is a cacophony of screeching vocal samples, grating synths and pounding beats into total sensory overload, and that's just within the opening minute. MC Ride throws some new tricks our way with some whispered and down-pitched verses giving him some much needed diversity. "Why a Bitch Gotta Lie" draws heavily from a rock aesthetic, wrought with live drumming from Zach Hill. Here, Ride turns his voice into a robotic drone while he rants about how he shouldn't be tamed during the verses, further stretching the band's already bizarre sound.
However, the most surprising addition to the album is that of "On GP." Like the couple tracks before it, "Beyond Alive" and "Centuries of Damn," it's a very rock oriented sound with your typical array of guitars and the always stellar drumming of Zach. What really makes this song special is the lyrics; MC Ride spits some of his most personal and emotional lyrics yet. "Last night, 3:30 in the morning, Death on my front porch/Can feel him itching to take me with him, hail death, *** you waiting for/like a question no one mention, he turns around, hands me his weapon/He slurs, "Use at your discretion; it's been a pleasure, Stefan."
The direct mention of his name and numerous references to his own suicide throughout the track paint a solemn picture of a man who's much better known for his ridiculous one liners and paranoid lyricism. It's also important to note that the closing track "Death Grips 2.0" is void of Ride's vocals entirely, samples and all, which has lead to, of course, further speculation on where the band may go from here, if they move on at all.
As a whole, it provides a stark, noisy and nuanced contrast to the refined and cohesive first part of the double album, niggas on the moon
. It shows that Death Grips can do much more than glitchy, noisy hip hop and can still expand on a sound they've single-handedly pioneered and reinvented numerous times. The effectiveness of Jenny Death
is a testament to the band's ability to produce music interesting enough to supersede their ridiculous antics. However, it also leaves us with a lot of questions: Will the band continue? Where do they go from here in terms of their sound? Is "Death Grips 2.0" just an instrumental tacked on to close the record, or does it have larger implications? These are questions that only time will answer, because the band certainly won't.