Yum Yum Bedlam has (finally) been confirmed for release on Halloween, and as everyone else is doing it, I’m going to rank the Joker’s Cards of the last thirty years. Ten have come and gone of the seventeen promised, and for the sake of giving each album a fair chance, the ones which comprise of more than one album will be ranked individually instead of as a package deal.
I’ve never seen anyone else similarly rank Insane Clown Posse’s music to how I do, nor have I ever seen two matching lists, so it’s good to see I’m not the only weird one.
Note – The example tracks linked below are not my favourite from each album, those were covered a couple of weeks ago which you can find here!
12) The Missing Link: Found
This is one of the only ICP records I listened to for the first time and wasn’t able to say anything positive about, the other being Hell’s Cellar. Whilst some of the tracks have grown on me in the six years since this album dropped, I think separating the light and dark tracks from the Missing Link into different albums was an awful idea, especially when you consider that the best songs of each were left off for the Outtakes album!
The tracks on Found are either great or profoundly weak with none left to fill the void in the middle, which is why future Joker’s Card are going to have to be particularly bad in order to sink beneath this one.
11) Carnival of Carnage
Nobody ranks this album high on their list, and it isn’t hard to see why. Released before the clowns had properly hit their stride, which they would in the second Joker’s Card, Carnival of Carnicks (deliberate misspelling) is a good album only to look back at how ICP started compared to what they would evolve into it throughout the decades.
10) The Wraith: Shangri-La
It’s not a bad album but even now in 2021 I truly do not understand the hype Shangri-La gets. Yes, it provides a conclusion to the Dark Carnival Joker’s Card saga (or so you would have thought in 2002 / 2004) and there are definitely some pretty uplifting and catchy songs here but for me Shangri-La does not stand the test of time, though I do give it another chance every year or so to see if my mind can be changed.
So many lines stick with me from Ringmaster, ‘Good people even do bad things, once in a while’ being one of the best of them. I mentioned the other week while listing my favourite song from each Joker’s Card that Southwest Song, despite me not being from the ‘Southwest’ ICP are referencing, is by far my favourite pick off the album. Ringmaster is very much an album where my enjoyment of it never fades no matter how many years roll by.
8) Fearless Fred Fury
For context on how much I love ICP’s music, this is where the albums in this ranking start to score 9 out of 10’s from me, and considering it’s in 8th place that’s pretty impressive. Fearless Fred Fury was promoted with two singles, WTF and Fury, neither of which did anything to stimulate my mind or make me excited for this album. Nevertheless, getting home from a bad day at work and listening to this record for the first time cheered me up immensely with a freshly rejuvenated psyche I still remember the feeling of to this day.
Red Fred could have been higher on the ranking except for the fact one of the very few ICP tracks I completely detest is on it: Game Over.
7) Riddle Box
While I wasn’t hugely keen on this record the first time I got to it, like a fine wine, it has definitely improved for me over the years. 3 Rings, 12 and Toy Box are absolute classics in the wicked clowns discography and not one listen of it goes by where it fails to put a smile on my face.
6) The Amazing Jeckel Brothers
This album has gradually slipped from the number two spot, finding itself just outside of the top five as of 2021. Whilst there are many great tracks to be found here I find myself listening to it less and less as the years go by. After listening to it again very recently in the run-up to the release of Yum Yum Bedlam I still enjoy the majority of the tracks but the spark that had me endlessly replaying the album a decade or so ago appears to have gone out.
It’s not all negative for this Card however, as even considering how my opinion of it has slid over the years it still very much deserves this spot just outside of the top five. It is with the album that I’ve put directly over it where I definitely don’t expect to win any friends with the pick of..
5) The Missing Link: Lost
I never understand the hate this album gets, and it’s likely because I got into ICP’s music with the darker tracks that I hold this record in such high regard. I listened to it multiple times a day for weeks following its release, and still listen to it regularly. The concept of listeners needing to find their ‘missing link’ is one of my favourites of the second deck of Cards, but after how the Found album went I’m perfectly happy to leave my link Lost if it’s all the same to you.
When I saw ICP live in 2017 at SWX in Bristol one of the songs they performed was Explosions, and you could tell Juggalos in the crowd were thinking ‘why the fuck are they playing this?’ but I had a great time in any case.
4) The Mighty Death Pop!
‘When the Mighty Death Pop, everything stop, you either rise or drop’. In this album’s case it was a rise right up into my top five favourite ICP albums of all time, even back when I originally heard it in 2012. With the exception of whatever ‘Ghetto Rainbows’ is supposed to be, I listen to this album from end to end every single time I play it. The peaks and troughs of emotion with tracks like ‘Hate Her To Death’ flowing directly into high energy performances like ‘Skreeem’ keeps listeners on their toes, and proves this album is the best answer for any mood.
3) The Wraith: Hell’s Pit
I got into ICP for the wicked shit and it’s albums like this that hooked me on their music for life. From the moment the intro descends into ‘Welcome to Hell. Why did you choose this?’ I always have the biggest grin on my face, and Walk Into The Darkness is one of my favourite horrorcore songs of all time by any artist.
2) Bang! Pow! Boom!
The second deck of Joker’s Cards kicked off with an actual explosion in the form of Bang! Pow! Boom! Some days go by where I feel like it’s my favourite Joker’s Card, but the legacy and influence our true winner holds over me cannot be swayed in this ranking. Nevertheless, the seventh Joker’s Card is an absolute powerhouse with zero skippable tracks and wall to wall catchy bangers, my enjoyment of which has not frayed a day since 2009.
You might notice how (with the exception of Found down at the bottom of the list) the second deck Cards are in reverse order of release in this ranking, which is in no way deliberate and hopefully won’t continue to be the case once Yum Yum Bedlam drops.
1) The Great Milenko
A predictable ending I admit, but as this was the very first Joker’s Card I listened to, it will always be particularly special for me. The music shows off ICP at one of the peaks of their career with incredible sound engineering by the talented Mike E Clark bringing an unforgettable rollercoaster of aggression, comedy, darkness and boundless energy with a following which will exist for hundreds of years passed the release of the final Joker’s Card in 2038 (check back here in 17 years to see if I was right)!
Let me know in the comments if my ranking was in any way similar to yours and I’ll be back in a few days with more Insane Clown Posse content ahead of the release of Yum Yum Bedlam. Thanks for reading and Whoop Whoop!!