Album Review: Insane Clown Posse’s ‘The Marvelous Missing Link: Found’

The Gentleman Juggalo LogoOn April 28th of this year, the Insane Clown Posse released their album- ‘The Marvelous Missing Link: Lost’. This album was the first part of the 3rd Joker’s Card of the Second Deck. That’s a lot of jargon to sort through, but we here at Brad OH Inc. have you covered—just read our review of ‘The Marvelous Missing Link: Lost’ (Link) to help you sort it all out.

For now, suffice it to say that ‘The Marvelous Missing Link: Lost’ was one half of the two-part series known as ‘The Marvelous Missing Link’. The titular ‘Missing Link’ refers to our internal link to belief—our connection to and faith in whatever keeps us on the right track.

As such, ‘Lost’ was an exceedingly dark album both sonically and thematically. It described the existential horrors of living with no grounded set of beliefs—no sense of purpose to keep one rooted in positivity or faith. In our review of that album (Link), we discussed how this desperate state was represented in the genesis of the Insane Clown Posse themselves (Link). More to the point, the formation of the band may have been the moment when Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope’s Missing Link was first ‘Found’.

This brings us to Part 2 of ‘The Marvelous Missing Link’—‘Found’.

The_missing_link_FOUNDClick image above to buy the album.

 ‘Found’ is a very different album from its predecessor, ‘Lost’. While ‘Lost’ focused on the absence of meaning in one’s life, ‘Found’ is the very opposite. With a theme of deliverance and hope, the positive basis of ‘Found’ is heard not only in its lyrics—which tend towards meaning and connection—but also in the sound of the album itself. Where ‘Lost’ was sonically a very dark and sinister record, dominated by industrial-loops and repetitive DJ scratches, ‘Found’ takes a different path entirely.

In fact, fitting to the subject matter, this release may stand as ICP’s most ‘mainstream’ sounding effort to date—with several songs (most notably the lead single, ‘Juggalo Party’) sounding not too dissimilar from the sort of jams you might expect in your typical nightclub. The content isn’t quite the same to be sure—it’s significant that this album sees the return of the Wicked Clown’s sinister sense of humour, which had been conspicuously absent on ‘Lost’—but the gentle rhythms and upbeat tempo provide for a much gentler aural experience.

Once again, this album has been produced without long-time collaborator Mike E. Clark. However, the now familiar team of Mike P, Michael ‘Seven’ Summers, Brian Kuma, and James ‘Young Wicked’ Garcia return to bring a fresh and effective sound to the album. The standout this time is ‘Seven’, whose smooth and flowing beats bring a reflective sense of peace to the album which is truly fitting for the subject matter at hand.

With the positive outlook and comforting tones of this album, the band is successful in bringing their audience a fun and reassuring experience. Song topics range from parties with friends, comfort in belief, and appreciating the time we have; all fitting well with the theme of the album. Others seem slightly less on point however, with songs such as ‘Lost at the Carnival’ or ‘Pineapple Pizza’ having little bearing on the overarching theme of the album, yet contributing in a broad Gestalt effect to deliver the familiar humour and style that the Juggalos demand.

‘Lost’ was certainly a more focussed album, never erring from its morose themes. ‘Found’ bounces around a bit more, providing for a more scenic if slightly distracted jaunt through many of the expected sights for those familiar with the band.

Similar to the track ‘Hell’s Forecast’ on the ‘Shangri-La’ album, the scattering of darker themed songs on this offering remind us how reticent ICP are to put out a wholly positive album. They know that the root of their fan base lies in ‘the Wicked Shit’ that started them off, and they are always more than happy to deliver. While this may ultimately mean that ‘Lost’ will stand as the greater artistic output of the two, ‘Found’ has an undeniable charm, and its positivity is unapologetically contagious—which is surely the point here.

Standout tracks include ‘OK’, ‘Lost at the Carnival’ (providing you have a system with good bass), ‘Juggalo Party’, ‘The World is Yours’, and ‘Time’. Other songs of note include the return to form ‘Shit-Talking’ song, ‘Get Clowned’, and the country-infused comedy track ‘Dreams of Grandeur’, which shows some heavy inspiration from their 2011 Jack White collaboration, ‘Mountain Girl’.

‘Mr. White Suit’ is something of a slow burner, but has been growing on me with repeated listens. The most direct ‘God’ allegory on the album, it’s a catchy track on its own, and an important departure from their standard fare of songs which does much to bring out the intended emotional effect of the album.

Still, while the narrative promise here was to explore the things which keep people connected to a sense of meaning or purpose, this album was less overt in its talk of higher powers than was ‘Lost’, particularly in the respective intros.

One important but subtle effort here is the distinction between the liner notes in each album. While ‘Lost’ was filled with images of violence and strife, in ‘Found’ we find images of friends and lovers, cooperation and progress. Similarly, while the Clowns (thankfully) avoid being too on the nose with their message, they do a good job throughout the album of incorporating themes of belonging and connection, while illustrating how little things such as friends, family, humour, and purpose can lift us out of the doldrums of a life devoid of meaning.

This mix of introspection and irreverence makes for a slightly off-focus, yet impressively poignant package. Too strong a focus on meaning may have left the album feeling heavy-handed. But by combining these topics with songs that are merely for fun, ICP accomplish their intentions with a more roundabout, show-don’t-tell delivery.

In our review of ‘Lost’ (Link), we explained why that album was not the one the Insane Clown Posse likely ‘should’ have released at the moment. ‘Found’ is much closer to that imaginary ideal. With its mix of upbeat bangers, comical irreverence, and anthemic crowd-pleasers, ‘Found’ is an album which—while it may not garner the level of media attention that 2009’s ‘Bang Pow Boom’ did (Link)—is certain to provide plenty of entertainment and meaning to the Juggalos.

And what better testament of success for this album? For just as the band itself acted as the ‘Missing Link’ for two young men in inner-city Detroit, so too have their musical efforts been the ‘Missing Link’ to countless people since—people who often have little else by way of meaning or purpose in their lives. To the Juggalos, the Insane Clown Posse have always been an opportunity to find that sense of purpose, and to that end, ‘The Marvelous Missing Link: Found’ is a terrific success.

-Brad OH Inc.

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