Monday, October 26, 2015

"The Marvelous Missing Link: Lost" Insane Clown Posse album review

The Marvelous Missing Link: Lost is the first half of the the third Joker's card in the 2nd set, released in 2015. It comes directly before The Marvelous Missing Link: Found.
Conceptually, the two albums are meant to represent faith. Lost is meant to symbolize what life is like if you do not have faith (in a god, or gods), and Found is supposed to represent what life is like after you find your faith.

I won't be talking about physicals.
Psychopathic Records did a pre-order promotion where, if you pre-ordered the CD, you would get a special limited edition version which came with a holographic 3-D cover. I have never seen the graphics for the CD, but I do own the LE version.

The Marvelous Missing Link: Lost is meant to simulate hopelessness, chaos, death, depression and degradation due to faithlessness. Conceptually, Lost is similar to Hell's Pit, but different musically and culturally. It is the flipside of Found, which reflects what life is like after you've found your faith. Violent J had even claimed that Lost was scarier than Hell's Pit at one point (, but is that really true? Do these two albums, so distant from each other, even deserve comparison? Further, is Lost really scarier than its epic ancestor, Hell's Pit?
     Lost is not scarier than Hell's Pit, but it is a lot more straightforward. After the Wraith came out, everyone knew that I.C.P. was really trying to lead people to God. This time around, instead of trying to lead you to God, they are trying to lead you to your own, personal faith. Whatever that faith may be. What that means for Lost is that they aren't hosting any ambiguity about the purpose of the CD. This album is about what it is like to be without your gods. They will tell you this in different ways throughout the album directly and indirectly, but in interesting and entertaining ways.
     The CD starts with two opening tracks that serve to set the mood of the record. What this translates to musically is six minutes during which you'll be told, over and over again, to find your faith. These opening tracks are not spooky, more melodic, though not especially enjoyable to listen to. It makes the beginning of the CD boring, but once this extended introduction is over things start to really pick up. The next two tracks, "Apocalypse" and "Shock" are adrenaline-fueled tracks meant to symbolize the chaos and destruction associated with being faithless or Lost. The presence of chaos is a consistent theme on the CD that rears itself differently as you venture through Lost, which is welcome (and well-executed) although it is not a new concept.
     One way in which Lost is different from Hell's Pit is that Lost is much more melodic. Tracks like You Should Know and I See the Devil have softer, sung choruses, and tracks like Falling Apart and How are more traditionally rock right down to the crooning of the hooks. While the lyrical and musical variety is very welcome, Hell's Pit was scary because of the unpredictable, slower, and scattered lyricism. This style of music makes very brief appearances on Lost (Vomit, and Flamethrower for example), but is not focused on to the extent that it was in Hell's Pit.
     The Marvelous Missing Link: Lost consists mostly of electronic production with occasional singing and sparse instrumentation. Musically, the CD is mostly successful and pleasant to listen to. There are a nice handful of songs to come back for, but Lost is an experience better taken whole. Filler is mostly nonexistent, and the tracklist is well-arranged and conclusive. While the production is different (It has been compared to dubstep/electronic), the Posse manages to work with the new sound and make it sound pretty fresh.
     Lost will not be the skin-crawling experience that Hell's Pit was, and it may not be the wig-flipping experience that you hoped it would be. But Lost should satisfy you because it is, above all, a solid release for the Insane Clown Posse. If you're a Juggalo, you should peep this album, but whether or not you decide to buy it is entirely up to you. If you aren't a Juggalo, Lost will probably not be the Insane Clown Posse album that draws you into the Dark Carnival. But you might dig it anyway, so maybe check out a couple of the tracks and see if it's your thing or not.

The Marvelous Missing Link: Lost by the Insane Clown Posse gets a: 3/5!

Strong points:

- Consistent production
- Lyrical, conceptual, musical variety
- Well-arranged tracklist

Weak points:
- Takes a while for the album to pick up
- Art is a bit weak
-  Confederate Flag and Neighbors Are Fighting could have been cut

Monday, October 12, 2015

"The Marvelous Missing Link: Found" Insane Clown Posse album review

The Marvelous Missing Link is not a regular I.C.P. album.

Released in the Summer of 2015 (at the Gathering), Found is the newest major release by the Insane Clown Posse. It is the second album of the third Joker's Card in the Dark Carnival mythology, coming very recently after the first album of the third card, Lost. The album was unveiled at the 20th annual Hallowicked show in Detroit, and has since been unleashed on the world.
For those of you who do not know about the third Joker's Card, these two newest albums are analogies for finding your faith. While Insane Clown Posse talks about God (The Christian God) frequently, the CD isn't about belonging to a church of a specific god. Found is about what life is like after you've found your faith, no matter if that faith is in the gods or elsewhere. This album wants you to know that life is invaluable and special.

I won't be talking about the physicals, because that is back at home in Rhode Island.


When I first heard about the two albums and their concept, I could not help but think about the Wraith era. It sounded like I.C.P. was trying to recreate that era of music in the modern day, and tweak it just a bit. While it's easy to hate on these CDs because of that similarity, it's also quite narrow-minded. These albums are similar to the Wraith and Hell's Pit in concept, but musically and culturally, not similar at all.
     Found is a very explicit album, but not in the way you might expect from the wicked clowns. Found starts with an intro from Jumpsteady telling you that you'll be okay, because you've found your faith. After the intro the album comes together with Found, another track about finding faith. These opening songs, like the intros on the Wraith and Hell's Pit, help set the mood of the album before the "meat" of the release. So it takes a little while for the CD to pick up.
     Psychopathic Records worked with a lot of in-house producers (Kuma, Young Wicked, Mike P.) along with Seven of Strange Music. It's worthy to note that Mike E. Clark was not a part of this project. Musically, Found is mostly a success. The production is very clean and consistent, while remaining a fresh, new sound for the Juggalos to get with. It isn't dark or morbid, but soft, gentle and uplifting. There's piano and light bass, and lots of feel-good chimes that make the album stand out from anything else I.C.P. has done. But while Found sounds pleasant musically, it is far from a perfect album.
     As you venture through the disc, it's easy to notice the filler. Tracks like "Get Clowned", "I Fucked a Cop", and "Lost at the Carnival" don't add much to the atmosphere of the CD, which makes Found a bit annoying to listen to. "I Fucked a Cop" is exactly what it sounds like. It's a story about Shaggy 2 Dope's quest to holla at some police neden, only to be disappointed when the neden is less than he expected. The track isn't wicked nor is it uplifting, and just exists on the album because it can. There are a nice handful of tracks like this on the CD that don't have any purpose other than adding some unnecessary goofiness to Found. Beyond that, these tracks aren't especially pleasant to listen to either and with the amount of filler on the CD, Found could have been a really stellar EP. There is a lot of music here that will leave you scratching your head thinking about how these tracks managed to get pressed onto such an important release.
     Where Found shines is the bleeding, passionate and most importantly, genuine nature of the CD. I.C.P. is really hoping to change some lives with this record. Unfortunately, the content of the release was not executed well enough to really grab you. Found will pull some heart strings, elicit some laughter and make you think seriously about the way you're living. Are you happy? Do you love the people around you? It's very hard to truly enjoy this album when these messages are interrupted by tracks like Pineapple Pizza that don't do much to add to the atmosphere of the album, other than generate silly goofiness to try and get a laugh out of you.
     Found is not a bad CD, but if you're crossing your fingers for a Wraith 2.0, you're sadly mistaken. I will say that out of the two CDs of the third card, I liked Lost a lot better than Found. I won't get into why, as that would constitute another review, but know that Found is an album you don't need. If you are going to buy it, get the physical so you can appreciate the artwork, but Found is far from I.C.P.'s strongest work. The tracks that you will be coming back for are few and far between, and while the feel-good theme of the CD is refreshing and genuine, there is too much junk on the CD for Found to really shine.

Nonetheless, Found is an I.C.P. release and it very much sounds like one. If you are a fan of their music, I'd recommend at least listening to it. If you aren't a fan of their music, Found will definitely not make you one. There are many other CDs in their career to choose from if you're new to them.

The Marvelous Missing Link by the Insane Clown Posse receives a: 2.3/5!

Strong points:

- Found will make you think seriously, pull at your heart strings, and make you laugh
- Consistent production
- Varying lyrical themes

Weak points:
- Way too much filler
- Not super into the new art
- Too playful (Frivolous)