The Editors at UTM are huge Death Grips fanboys, so naturally in the build-up to Bottomless Pit‘s release, we got our keyboard warrior on and intensely debated where it sits within the Death Grips discography.
After disagreeing entirely about most releases, we felt it necessary to come up with an aggregate system to once and for all decide how the Death Grips albums should be ranked. Without further ado, here’s our definitive ranking for Death Grips, from 8-1. Try not to get too mad.
8. Fashion Week
After an apparent break up and some confusion about The Powers That B’s two-part release, Death Grips left their fans feeling noided when Fashion Week dropped. The track list acrostically spelled out “JENNY DEATH WHEN” which was a nod to the meme spawned by fans over the confusion of the release.
Featuring no vocals, Fashion Week is probably the least Death Grips release we’ve had the pleasure of hearing, and it is an absolute pleasure to listen to. By no means is Fashion Week a bad album, it’s just the obvious lack of MC Ride that forces it to sit at the bottom of the pile.
7. Niggas on the Moon
It’s difficult to decide which characteristic of N****s on the Moon actually defines it as Death Grips strangest release. It could be the fact that it’s the first half of a record (The Powers That B) which is extremely far apart from its second half, both sonically and in terms of release date, or the still-baffling idea that Björk (!!!) contributed vocal samples that are constantly tumbling throughout the 8 tracks. Whatever it is, N****s on the Moon exist as an odd outlier for Death Grips fans.
The album is Death Grips at their most unhinged, with MC Ride making an intense return to the forefront after seemingly being killed off in Government Plates, with his lyrics at their most sexually aggressive (well, until “I’ll fuck you in half” existed anyway). 30 seconds rarely go by without a track descending into a nonsensical mess of panicked bloops and feral beats. This is perhaps Death Grips hardest to love record, but, to be fair, they do ask for no love.
6. Bottomless Pit
Whilst 2015’s Jenny Death dabbled with d-beat-y hardcore punk influence, Death Grips have taken the hardcore punk influence and run with it into darker, weirder territories on Bottomless Pit.
At a time when extreme metal influence seems to be making a huge impact on weird, experimental music in the US, the unfaltered kings of weird experimentalism have taken heed. Bottomless pit is metal as fuck, following on from the punky, but decidedly standardized racket of previous album.
Bottomless Pit takes death grips weird ethos into faster, harder territory, whilst still retaining their memetic edge, particularly on standout tune ‘Trash’.
5. Jenny Death
“JENNY DEATH WHEN” became the warcry for music hungry fans during the overly long wait for this record, which lasted long enough to give us a break up, reformation, Fashion Week and, most importantly a trip to Disneyland. However, when Jenny Death FINALLY dropped, we were introduced to a refreshed Death Grips.
The sluggish, fuzzy ambience of ‘Turned Out’s intro, the bone-crushing riffs of ‘Why A Bitch Gotta Lie’ and the raw shrieks of ‘On GP’ signal that Death Grips had completely reinvigorated their sound simply by adding an unrelenting, prominent guitar to the mix (one of the few acts to actually benefit from adding guitars).
Those aliens on ‘Inanimate Sensation’ are still annoying as fuck though.
Exmilitary is one of those debut albums that you can never forget. The introductory album kicked your fucking teeth in, and it wasn’t apologising for it either.
The tracks leading the vicious audial attacks were ‘Guillotine’ and ‘Takyon (Death Yon)’. Both fully engaged with uncomfortableness both lyrically and musically. ‘Guillotine’ angrily covers suicide: “Tie the cord, kick the chair and you’re dead,” and has the unforgettable “YUH!” while ‘Takyon (Death Yon)’ goes for the Satanist vibe: “Nine, eight, seven, triple six, five, forked tongue.”
Exmilitary may be completely jarring and scarring, but it’s in a way that leaves you asking for more. Truly an album for the masochists.
3. Government Plates
Government Plates is a quality album, that exemplifies the group’s weird, dissonant ethos at its peak. The album is also weirdly the catchiest of all of Death Grips output, whilst nonetheless abstract and wilfully ignorant of conventional compositional techniques.
One of the best things about Government Plates, is that every single track on the album retains an identity of it’s own. Every song on the album, from the manic energy of opener ‘You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it’s your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat’ to the crawling, poetic abstraction of ‘Birds’ each retains its own distinctive aesthetic.
Whilst some detractors may complain that memetic frontman of the year all years MC Ride took a backseat on the album, his performances perfectly sum up the incredibly varied musicality across Government Plates.
2. No Love Deep Web
After complications over the release of No Love Deep Web, Epic Records learned that Death Grips are not to be fucked with. Nothing says “fuck you” more than than leaking your own album with a picture of your drummer’s aggressively erect penis as the cover.
NLDW marked the moment Death Grips learned to control the flailing aggression seen on Exmilitary and blended it with the ‘poppier’ sensibilities from The Money Store. The result is a breathable, yet concentrated album that manages to bullseye everything it aims for.
It scowls, it thumps, it screams and it twinkles simultaneously. It’s probably Death Grips’ best achievement to date, and they chose an erect penis to represent it, which means someone will be asking you questions if they access your iTunes library.
1. The Money Store
This was pretty much guaranteed to come in at number one, because it’s the most accessible Death Grips album and two of us deciding this list have Money Store t-shirts.
From the dissociative opening track ‘Get Got’ right through the now-classic ‘I’ve Seen Footage’ to the closing ‘Hacker’, The Money Store barely dips below Incredibly Fun on a scale of Absolute Wank to Fucking Outstanding. MC Ride consistently provides the most quotable lyrics, whether it be “tables flipped now we got all the coconuts, bitch!” or “hot shit, cold shit/okay motherfucker, let’s do this!” The instrumentals are all vibrantly defiant towards neatness and beauty, yet manage to retain a sense of accessibility – an achievement that Death Grips fans will fiercely defend as a landmark in music for as long as they live.
The Money Store is an outcast in the wider musical climate, yet unforgiving in its self-belief, and has inspired so many shouty-man/abrasive instrumental fakes. The Money Store is everything we want to be, but none will ever do it quite like Death Grips.