Well, it’s happening.
Finally, Death Grips has given us a date for the release of disc 2 of their final album, The Powers That B. Jenny Death is scheduled for release March 17, and to build up that precious pre release hype, the trio released a video containing track 9 “On GP”
In it, MC Ride, drummer Zach Hill and programmer Andy Morin sit in an echo chamber at Studio 1, Sunset Sound Recorders, a studio in Los Angeles and listen to the song.
As far as visuals go, the video is kind of odd, but that’s per usual when it comes to DG. The group sits on the ground wearing all black inside the stark white echo chamber while an amplifier on one end of the room plays the song. Over the course of the song, the various members of the band are frozen stills, only moving slightly via post-editing. The whole visual segment seems very somber, almost like some kind of funeral, a noted change from the videos from other albums.
Sonically, this song runs the gamut. The opening is a really grating drone that gives way to clean guitar and live drums over distortion. This is really my favorite part of the song: Zach Hill is famous for his high-speed, high intensity drumming, and the opening flourish on this track is a welcome return to the live drum sounds of the trio’s first album ExMilitary.
Around the two-minute mark, the song drops out and we’re hit with a distorted, depressed organ sound. The guitar changes to a somber, almost funeral dirge with the organ underneath it. While the guitar warbles, Ride’s lyrics get increasingly darker, with him alluding to hanging himself, showing contempt for his “nosy bitch” neighbor, and having a conversation with death in what might be my favorite lyrical section of the song:
“last night three thirty in the morning death on my front porch
can feel him itching to take me with him hail death fuck you waiting for
like a question no one mention he turns around hands me his weapon
he slurs use at your discretion its been a pleasure Stefan”
At this point, the muted guitar and drum parts explode into something reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor or a similar post rock group while Ride’s delivery gets increasingly aggressive until we’re brought back to the more muted section as a refrain.
This song sounds like a funeral to match the video. The sounds all remind me of a kind of wailing, from the organ to the guitar parts. Ride’s lyrical content, while normally dark, is in rare form on this track. Usually we’re treated to lyrics about ending it all or going out and causing physical harm, but those are usually accompanied by lyrics about heavy drug use and being the effect of that.
Here, we don’t have the drug use, just a song with a lot of very depressed lyrics in it. The passage at the end is where we see Ride at his darkest:
“my friends and family won’t understand
so i stay in the end don’t make none to me
if wasn’t for them i’d make that decision on gp
had to do it all again i’d make that decision on gp
all the nights i don’t die for you
wouldn’t believe how many nights i ain’t died for you on gp
not that i care i’d be a liar if i sat here claiming i’d exit in a minute
but i can’t say i wouldn’t i have my limits”
Online, people started to wonder what “gp” refers to almost immediately. The two main arguments are:
1) “gp” refers to the group’s album Government Plates, which has a significantly less present Ride. Gov’t Plates is theorized to be more instrumental heavy because of an inner turmoil with Ride.
2) “on gp” refers to the phrase “on general principle,” meaning that Ride would “make that decision” based on his own personal set of principles and morals.
Regardless of interpretation, this is a depiction of his regret over not ending something on gp, and while it may simply be fictionalized, Ride is no doubt pulling from a dark place for lyrics.
The only other song to receive a full release from Jenny Death is “Inanimate Sensation,” which sounds head-and-shoulders different from “On GP.” Does this mean we’re getting some kind of career-spanning sounds from DG, or is one or the other a kind of fluke?
We’ll all find out on Tuesday.