I found out yesterday evening-ish that Death Grips, in their usual surprise-party kind of way, released a new LP, Goverment Plates, without any kind of warning via their Facebook. The zip file was taking forever to download and then the internet in my apartment just gave out, as it is wont to do once the sun sets. And so I haven’t listened to Government Plates at all yet. But like that girl at the party side-eyeing your shoes, I’m still full of opinions. You know how they say, “Think before you speak?” I’m not gonna.
First things first: album art. I understand the kind of no-fucks-given minimalist aesthetic, especially as it contrasts with Death Grips’ crowded, maximalist music, and at least it’s safe for work (cough cough, NO LOVE DEEP WEB), but I’m underwhelmed. Throw some collage art in there, you guys. Some seagulls maybe.
You might think he loves you f - Is that the entire title? Did Death Grips start writing the track name and then realize that Game Of Thrones was on? Anyway, this definitely sounds like Death Grips. MC Ride is yelling maniacally, cursing, and drowning in a sleeper-hold beat. It’s good to know they’re still angry.
Two Heavens – Over a xylophone-y back and forth beat, MC Ride is drunk in an armchair mumbling about how he’s going to make you his bitch. Lyrically, the over-the-top shock value is still a security blanket for DG (“fuck your eyeballs, suck my dick”). But this early ’90s boom-bap mixed with horror-metal vocals and what sounds like a cowbell (though my common sense tells me it’s not) is pretty cool.
Birds – Oh yeah, I know this song. After the duo released Birds this summer, I played it any chance I got: on the subway, in the bathroom, at baby showers. It’s been awhile, but the stirred limerick foolishness mixed with hurricane synths gets me every time.
Feels like a wheel – It sounds like a family of mice and some dark-house rave kids decided to put away their differences and throw an all-night rager. That brain-scan lazer synth is like a paranoia-soaked hearing test. I can hear it! In my right ear only!
Government Plates – Ah, the title track. Sounds pretty mellow actually, atmospheric even. Okay, now we’re getting some pins and needle-type beats, MC Ride is gurgling, everything’s swirling around now, the synths are smashing into each other rather than taking their own paths. This is good. I feel dizzy.
Whatever I want (Fuck who’s wa – Fuck who’s what?! Oh my god Death Grips, try to be more succinct so you can fit your words on SoundCloud. Oh, it’s “fuck who’s watching.” So I guess this track is like those t-shirts at the mall kiosks that encourage you to live like there’s no tomorrow. Is this Death Grips’ version of The Motto? Actually, it sounds more like a kid kicking ass at Dance Dance Revolution in the arcade, hitting every beat and ignoring the haters. Right on.
As far as final thoughts go, it seems like Government Plates is more of the same Death Grips that we love to hate and hate to love. It’s a little less sinister than The Money Store and a little less excitingly all over the place than NO LOVE DEEP WEB. I’m sure it will be hailed as “cool stuff” and then the world will move on, until Death Grips makes us pay attention to them again.
You can decide for yourself by downloading Government Plates here.