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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 14, 2019   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Rap duo disturbs with “Fearless Fred Fury”

Fearless Fred Fury

Psychopathic Records

The written thoughts of a psychopath over bizarre keyboard melodies may not be the average person’s idea of music, but the Insane Clown Posse is far from average, as it unquestionably demonstrates in its newest album, “Fearless Fred Fury.”

The eccentric rap duo, often referred to as “ICP,” does not disappoint in making its newest album completely freakish and downright horrifying. Even throughout tracks that are overwhelmingly spine-chilling, ICP somehow still manages to convert its horribly obscene song lyrics into something at least halfway decent.

ICP uses its lyrical creativity to express haunting storylines, graphic imagery, maniacal characters and dark humor. The horror aspect of the album is combined with a deeply jarring ferocious energy. “Fearless Fred Fury” is stomach churning, but that is part of the appeal for some people. Like viewers of the “Saw” movie franchise, many people listen to this kind of content to be disturbed. This ‘horrorcore’ brand of music might be appealing for some, but for the mainstream audience, it’s hard to move past the revolting nature of the record.

While the creativity and energy of ICP are evident, the album is highly impractical and only good in a novelsense. It’s unlikely that “Fearless Fred Fury” will ever be played in social settings, on the radio or on any other mainstream outlet. This is because the purpose of the album seems to be as disturbing and unpleasant as possible.

Tracks like “Triplex,” “Night of Red Rum,” “I Like It Rough” and plenty of others lack any clear direction or message — aside from making sure the listener recoils from the vivid, deranged images depicted.

“Triplex” details the endeavors and desires of three serial killers over a heavy electronic beat. The song seems to exist solely to detail gruesome murder scenes. “Night of Red Rum” is another attempt by the duo to justify their graphic lyrics, with a cheap backstory of a man finding enchanted rum, followed by overdone bloodshed, violence and disturbing sexual references. “I Like It Rough” details obscure and recoiling sex fetishes, making those depicted in Eminem’s notoriously sickening song “Fack” seem appealing. The song’s ordinary electronic beat is anything but fitting, making it even more unpleasant. “I Like It Rough” is, in fact, so nauseating that it comes with a warning in the preceding track — “Beware!”

The obscenity littered throughout the album is not only made possible by the eccentricity of ICP, but also the lyrical prowess of the duo. This is more apparent in songs like “Satellite,” “Game Over” and “Freedom.” While still being somewhat graphic, these tracks have a solid message and objective.

“Satellite” is the surefire standout on “Fearless Fred Fury.” The track explains how people tend to take life for granted by detailing all of the minor things humans tend to forget about every day. “Satellite” runs peacefully over a smooth keyboard melody with a classic and simple drum beat. The chorus of “Satellite” is very catchy and much better when compared to the rest of the album. “Game Over” is perhaps the most comical track on “Fearless Fred Fury.” Like “Satellite,” “Game Over” is largely a critique of modern society. This time, ICP targets the video gameobsessed community through satirical comments and lyrics. The song “Freedom” explains how blessed humans are to have free will. ICP describes how people are free to succeed or fail and to commit good or evil.

Lyrical proficiency, extreme creativity and raw talent are showcased in ICP’s album, but it is easy to say that ICP is a prime example of misdirected talent.

This outlandish horrorcore album will never win awards or be found anywhere else in the mainstreamand for good reason. Music should instill many types of emotions in people, but disgust is not one. While this album is well-equipped for its niche, it will only remain a musical novelty. The objective of intentional disturbance in “Fearless Fred Fury” is too far removed from what people seek in music.

Hopefully, Insane Clown Posse can learn from better directed songs like “Satellite” and shift their focus from creating unpleasant gore stories to creating uplifting masterpieces. ICP has the talent, but “Fearless Fred Fury” just does nothing to define it as a serious group of artists.

Noah Pincus can be reached at npincus@ithaca.edu