Words About Music
Death Grips “Birds”
Death Grips. You might know ’em. If you do, you might love their music and artistic integrity. Or you might hate them for their noisy, distant approach to hip-hop and known dislike for performing live. Earlier this month, Death Grips made blogging headlines when they failed to show up at their Lollapalooza After Party performance in Chicago. They then cancelled their US tour dates, which included an appearance at Lollapalooza. Then a few statements were made by club promoters that Death Grips didn’t even plan on showing up to those concerts, which received an overwhelming negative reaction. Those who chided MC Ride, Zach Hill, and Flatlander compared the planned no-shows to MF DOOM’s infamous “impostor” concerts, where he’d send DOOM impersonators to lip sync on stage while wearing DOOM’s mask, without any prior warning to the fans. The few supporters and apologists of Death Grips compared the no-shows to performance artist Marina Abromavić. Rather than release any official statement on the matter, Death Grips have decided to release a new song out of nowhere. That song is a relatively soft, lo-fi piece titled “Birds.”
Like most Death Grips songs, “Birds” makes no sense at first glance. It shows Death Grips exploring more new territory, which they seem to do every time they put out new music. The song refers to “birds,” although it seems like the birds Ride is talking about are metaphors for the fanatics, almost like a less obvious version of Tyler the Creator’s “Colossus.” “One bird, two birds, three birds, four / Five birds, six times, life is war / One bird, two birds, three birds, four / Fuck you think I fuck this for.” It’s as lyrically abstract as anything Death Grips have ever put out, but that’s what makes Death Grips such a fun and interesting band. They may never come out and say what exactly they mean, but it’s fun to try and decode their odd lyrics.
Death Grips could easily put out another dark industrial track that sounds like a No Love Deep Web outtake, but they didn’t. Instead they once again tried their hand at something different, and ended up with a track that sounds like it was produced by Boards of Canada. This could be our first taste of what what could be the next Death Grips LP (which is supposedly due in 2014), or maybe it’s part of the soundtrack to Zach Hill’s upcoming film debut. Or it could be a message to the haters that they recorded as a response to the no-show controversy. Whatever it becomes a part of, it’s a brilliant song on its own, and shows just how versatile this band is. Just when I think I know what this band is about, they come back and completely change it up. They’re unpredictable, erudite, experimental, and genuinely don’t care at all what people think of them. They’re Death Grips.
SCORE – 9.3