The Powers That B

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The Powers That B
The Powers That B cover art.jpg
Studio album by Death Grips
Released
  • June 8, 2014 (Disc 1)
  • March 19, 2015 (Disc 2)
  • March 31, 2015 (whole album)
Genre
Length 80:45
Label
Producer Death Grips
Death Grips chronology
Fashion Week
(2015)Fashion Week2015
The Powers That B
(2015)
Interview 2016
(2016)Interview 20162016
Singles from The Powers That B
  1. "Inanimate Sensation"
    Released: December 9, 2014
Additional artwork
Disc 1: Niggas on the Moon
Disc 1: Niggas on the Moon
Disc 2: Jenny Death
Disc 2: Jenny Death

The Powers That B is the fourth studio album, and first double album, by experimental hip hop group Death Grips. The album's first disc, Niggas on the Moon, was released as a free digital download on June 8, 2014. The first disc's instrumentation was performed entirely on a Roland V-Drum kit by drummer Zach Hill and features chopped vocal samples of Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk on every track.[3] The second half, Jenny Death, leaked online on March 19, 2015. It features Nick Reinhart of Tera Melos, and Zach's former high school bandmate, Julian Imsdahl, on guitar and organ respectively. The double album as a whole was officially released via Harvest Records on March 31, 2015.[4]

Background and release[edit]

On January 19, 2014, Zach Hill posted to his Facebook page, stating that the group had begun recording a new album.[5] On June 8, 2014, the first disc: Niggas on the Moon, was released as a free download via thirdworlds.net, Death Grips' official website. On June 9, 2014, Björk confirmed her vocal contributions, via various social media outlets.[6] Death Grips officially announced the completion of The Powers That B via their Facebook page, as well as revealing the album artwork in October.[7] On December 9, 2014, Death Grips released a music video for the album's only single, "Inanimate Sensation".[8]

In anticipation of the album, the band released an instrumental soundtrack entitled Fashion Week in January 2015. The track list is as follows: "Runway J," "Runway E" and so on; acrostically spelling out the phrase "JENNY DEATH WHEN", in reference to the second disc of The Powers That B.

On February 13, 2015, Death Grips uploaded a new video to their YouTube channel.[9] It showed the group, rehearsing the following songs: "I Break Mirrors with My Face in the United States," "Inanimate Sensation," "Turned Off," "Why a Bitch Gotta Lie" and "Lock Your Doors."

On March 10, 2015, thirty second snippets of each song from Jenny Death leaked onto the internet, via Dutch music retailer Bol.com.[10] On March 11, 2015, the Jenny Death song lengths had also leaked.[11][12]

On March 12, Death Grips released a video to their YouTube channel for the song "On GP", filmed in an echo chamber located in Studio 1, Sunset Sound Recorders in Los Angeles, California which pictures them in an almost empty room (except for a speaker) to be almost completely still except for some subtle movement from time to time.[13] The official music video for "On GP" was released a day later,[14] featuring various magic tricks, from Sacramento magician, Russell Brown.[15] On March 17, the group released the song "The Powers That B" to their YouTube channel, as well as the release date and pre-order links for the album via their Facebook page.[16][17] Jenny Death was leaked onto various filesharing websites and shared to 4chan and Reddit. The band later streamed the entire album on their YouTube page. The same day, the group announced on their Facebook that they 'might make some more', hinting that they intend to continue making music.[18]

On March 24, 2015 Death Grips announced via Facebook that they were going on tour in support of the album.[19]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 73/100[20]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[21]
Consequence of Sound C+[22] / B[23]
Cuepoint B+[24]
Exclaim! 9/10[25]
NME 8/10[26]
Pitchfork 6.7/10[27] / 8.1/10[28]
PopMatters 7/10[29]
Spin 7/10[2]

Niggas on the Moon[edit]

Niggas on the Moon received positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 70, which indicates "generally favorable reviews", based on 5 reviews.[30] Michael Madden of Consequence of Sound stated: "Niggas on the Moon primarily relies on the band’s chaotic, ever-evolving sonic disposition – and as a bonus, we’ve never heard Ride sound quite like this. It’s an exciting proposition." He also described the disc as "an exciting ride" and further wrote: "By virtue of being divisive as all hell, Death Grips have welcomed us back to their jungle."[22] Calum Slingerland of Exclaim! called the first disc "the group's most confounding collection of tracks to date," praising the manic nature of vocalist MC Ride as "a side to the vocalist largely unseen on previous releases."[31] Larry Fitzmaurice for Pitchfork described the disc as "the band's least intense album," and stated: "it's hard to shake the feeling that Death Grips might benefit from a change in aesthetic and conceptual focus... Without new tricks and fresh aggression, Death Grips risk coming across as safe and ordinary, a mess of broken teeth summarily replaced by a gap-toothed smile."[27] Patrick Taylor of RapReviews.com commented that "the songs feel more like eight variations on the same concept than eight distinct tracks."[1]

Jenny Death[edit]

Overall, critical reception for Jenny Death was very positive, with responses generally being better than of Niggas on the Moon. On March 16, 2015, "On GP" from the album's second disc, Jenny Death, was awarded a "Best New Track" review on Pitchfork's website. Pitchfork rated the album 8.1/10, calling the album's second half the "strongest material in a while" and that "it’s not on the level of their artistic and commercial breakthrough The Money Store, but it will absolutely remind you of why you loved them in the first place."[28] Calum Slingerland of Exclaim! described the lyrical nature of the second disc as "representative of outward action and thought more than internalization," writing that the incorporation of live instruments is a welcome addition alongside the group's aggressive electronics.[31] Addressing the album as a complete release, Slingerland stated that The Powers That B is "a compelling look at the band's ability to work with sounds both minimal and monumental, while containing some of their most riveting lyrical and musical work in recent memory.[31] Consequence of Sound also gave the album a positive review, saying that "some of their best debris-curdling numbers appear here" and also noted their shift in genre, claiming that "It's their most punk album, both musically and in function."[23]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at No. 72 on Billboard 200,[32] No. 15 on Top Rock Albums,[33] and No. 8 on Rap Albums,[34] selling around 9,000 in the first week. The album has sold 22,000 copies in the United States as of June 2016.[35]

Track listing[edit]

Disc 1: Niggas on the Moon
No. Title Length
1. "Up My Sleeves" 5:17
2. "Billy Not Really" 3:49
3. "Black Quarterback" 2:59
4. "Say Hey Kid" 3:27
5. "Have a Sad Cum BB" 3:40
6. "Fuck Me Out" 3:20
7. "Voila" 3:29
8. "Big Dipper" 5:28
Total length: 31:28
Disc 2: Jenny Death
No. Title Length
1. "I Break Mirrors with My Face in the United States" 2:41
2. "Inanimate Sensation" 6:04
3. "Turned Off" 4:37
4. "Why a Bitch Gotta Lie" 4:40
5. "Pss Pss" 4:33
6. "The Powers That B" 5:32
7. "Beyond Alive" 6:07
8. "Centuries of Damn" 5:32
9. "On GP" 6:07
10. "Death Grips 2.0" 3:20
Total length: 49:13

Notes

  • "Death Grips 2.0" is notably absent from the album's vinyl release.
  • "Inanimate Sensation" is spelt "Inanimate Sesnation" on the album's CD release.

Personnel[edit]

Death Grips

  • MC Ride – vocals, lyrics
  • Zach Hill – synthesizer, keyboards, drums, V-drums, production, arrangement
  • Andy Morin – bass on track 9 (Jenny Death), synthesizer, engineer, production

Additional musicians

  • Björk – vocal samples on tracks 1-8 (Niggas on the Moon)
  • Nick Reinhart – guitar on tracks 3, 4, 7, 8 & 9 (Jenny Death)
  • Julian Imsdahl - synthesizer, mellotron, organ, & guitar on tracks 3, 4, 7, 8 & 9 (Jenny Death)

Charts[edit]

Chart (2015) Peak
position
US Alternative Albums[36] 9
US Billboard 200[37] 72
US Independent Albums [37] 4
US Rap Albums[38] 8
US Tastemaker[39] 3
US Top Albums Sales[40] 40
US Top Rock Albums[40] 15

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Taylor, Patrick (June 17, 2014). "Death Grips :: Niggas On the Moon". RapReviews.com. Retrieved March 26, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Weiss, Dan (April 3, 2015). "Review: Death Grips Reach Their Punk Zenith on Double Album 'The Powers That B'". Spin. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Photograph of album cover" (JPG). I.imgur.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  4. ^ "Harvest Records "Death Grips - The Powers That B (Vinyl)" @ Harvest Records Store US". Myplaydirect.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  5. ^ "ZACH HILL". Facebook. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  6. ^ Hogan, Marc (June 9, 2014). "Death Grips' Surprise 'Niggas on the Moon' Has Bjork on All Eight Songs". Spin. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Death Grips - Timeline Photos - Facebook". Facebook.com. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "Death Grips - Inanimate Sensation". YouTube. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  9. ^ "Death Grips February 13, 2015". YouTube.com. 2015-02-13. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  10. ^ "The Powers That B, Death Grips | Muziek" (in Dutch). Bol.com. 2014-12-03. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  11. ^ "The Powers That B | Death Grips &#124CD | 0602547120083". Cosmox.nl. 2010-07-01. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  12. ^ Death Grips . "The Power That B (2lp) von Death Grips - Vinyl-Schallplatte". Bbuecher.de. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  13. ^ "Death Grips - On GP". YouTube.com. 2015-03-12. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  14. ^ "Death Grips - On GP (Official Video)". YouTube.com. 2015-03-13. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  15. ^ "Magician Russell Brown « Good Day Sacramento". Gooddaysacramento.cbslocal.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  16. ^ "Death Grips - The Powers That B". YouTube.com. 2015-03-16. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  17. ^ "Death Grips - The album comes out March 31st. THE..." Facebook.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  18. ^ "Death Grips - you're right, we might make some more". Facebook.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  19. ^ "Death Grips - Timeline Photos". Facebook.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  20. ^ "Reviews for The Powers That B by Death Grips". Metacritic. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 
  21. ^ Jeffries, David. "The Powers That B – Death Grips". AllMusic. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  22. ^ a b Madden, Michael (June 13, 2014). "Death Grips – niggas on the moon". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  23. ^ a b Young, Alex (March 27, 2015). "Death Grips – Jenny Death". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  24. ^ Christgau, Robert (May 7, 2015). "Robert Christgau: Expert Witness". Cuepoint. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  25. ^ Slingerland, Calum (April 1, 2015). "Death Grips: The Powers That B (N***as On the Moon & Jenny Death)". Exclaim!. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  26. ^ Cooper, Leonie (April 16, 2015). "Death Grips – 'Jenny Death'". NME. Archived from the original on May 13, 2016. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  27. ^ a b Fitzmaurice, Larry (June 13, 2014). "Death Grips: Niggas on the Moon". Pitchfork. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  28. ^ a b O'Connor, Andy (March 31, 2015). "Death Grips: Jenny Death". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  29. ^ Fitzgerald, Colin (April 1, 2015). "Death Grips: The Powers That B". PopMatters. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  30. ^ "niggas on the moon – Death Grips". Metacritic. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  31. ^ a b c Slingerland, Calum (January 9, 2015). "Death Grips - Fashion Week". Exclaim!. Retrieved January 11, 2015. 
  32. ^ "The Billboard 200". Billboard. April 18, 2015. 
  33. ^ "Top Rock Albums". Billboard. April 18, 2015. 
  34. ^ "Rap Albums". Billboard. April 18, 2015. 
  35. ^ "Upcoming Releases". Hits Daily Double. HITS Digital Ventures. Archived from the original on June 2, 2016. 
  36. ^ "Death Grips - Alternative Albums". Billboard. 
  37. ^ a b "Death Grips - Billboard 200". Billboard. 
  38. ^ "Death Grips - Rap Albums". Billboard. 
  39. ^ "Death Grips - Tastemaker Albums". Billboard. 
  40. ^ a b "Death Grips - Top Rock Albums". Billboard. 

External links[edit]