Someone who listens to as much Carly Rae Jepsen as I do is hard-pressed to call Death Grips’ track off their new album Bottomless Pit “Trash” catchy, yet it’s been stuck in my head pretty consistently since I first heard it, after the band released the song via a hotline for the “Caged Pillows Feeling Network.” Frontman MC Ride isn’t quite at his usual decibel here, and the lyrics are on the funny side of the typical wry-to-terrifying Death Grips continuum. For those acquainted with the group’s theatrical aggression, which typically includes lyrical death threats, suicide notes (proclaiming the impending death of the band and the alleged suicide of a fan), and broken drumsticks, and typically does not include shirts, will find MC Ride’s use of “trash” as an insult almost laughably quaint.
But what’s quaint for Death Grips still holds power for those of us more mild-mannered than MC Ride (i.e. nearly everyone), and the repeated judgment of myself and everything that surrounds me as trash was funny until it wasn’t—Ride’s chorus, We know trash/We know clean don’t last/Never last when we load trash/We upload trash/Face down/Trash begets trash in front of that rolling synth and skittering beat left me with more existential angst than some of Death Grips’ more aggressive songs, simply because its references are closer to home (Local Comcast to shit Vevo ads). Maybe the world isn’t burning around Death Grips on “Trash,” but if it’s all garbage, what does that matter? The debased is scarier, and more likely, than the eschatological.
The creeping fear that nothing matters and everything is trash is one I try to get in front of, burying it under humor and put-upon detachment (shoutout to Nihilist Memes). I simply cover the fear of trash with more trash. There was a time I was worried Death Grips was becoming just another heap in the dumpster of new media, when their antics and provocations threatened to take precedence over their music. Luckily (I suppose), Death Grips still has the power to make me uncomfortable, refusing to be a blasé, detached palliative to a world of trash, but instead, on this song and across their discography, making our fears more acute and affecting.
Listen here. Image from here.