Well, she’s finally here, the fifth Joker’s Card of the second deck: The Yum Yum Flower. The first instance of the name of a Joker’s Card not matching the counterpart album, with Yum Yum Bedlam dropping on Halloween 2021. I listened to it three times on release day, every day since, and have it playing as I write this on Wednesday 3rd November. I think it’s important to state how regularly I am listening to it as my opinion of the record is currently in the process of wildly swaying between liking it and sheer indifference.
This is the hardest Joker’s Card for me to summarise what I think of it. I love Yum Yum’s Lure which dropped in February and it totally exceeded my expectation, increasing the excitement for the main album. While the record hasn’t really resonated with me I want to state few things make me happier than people appreciating Insane Clown Posse and supporting their music, so if you’re out there loving Yum Yum Bedlam I couldn’t be happier for you (not sarcasm).
To kick things off, I feel that the whole vibe of the album is off. To compare Yum Yum Bedlam to the growth and Dark Carnival experience we have all been a part of since the early 90’s (whether we knew it or not), I think this album would have been received universal acclaim if it had been the sixth Card of the second deck. Think about it, The Wraith: Shangri-La is by far the lightest album of the first deck with a positive message, and if Yum Yum Bedlam was trying to replicate that for this deck it would very much have succeeded. What we have feels so much more like a modern take of the Shangri-La album, that I would have been a lot more prepared for if it had been its official second deck counterpart. Instead I’m stuck with the feeling that we’ve missed a step, and that an entirely different Card should have appropriately bridged the gap between Fearless Fred Fury in 2019 and this.
The Wraith even had two similar while distinctly different appearances, a lot like how the Yum Yum Flower has its open and closed forms.
Flicking through social media, I keep seeing that lots of listeners and long-time ICP fans are critical of the producers tags scattered throughout the album, and in my opinion, they’re right. This isn’t just ‘another’ album, this is a fucking Joker’s Card, an expression through music which will still be listened to a hundred years from now. As hugely important as producers are in the final product of an album, leave their credits for the album booklet / digital storefront, I don’t need to be reminded with a Shaggytheairheadonthebeat tag at the start and once in the Goddamn middle of a track who else made the track possible other than Insane Clown Posse.
Anyway, the important bit, the music: It’s fine. Yum Yum Bedlam has exactly the same problem I have with The Missing Link: Found where every track is either amazing or poor, with no tracks to fill the void between the two. Compare how a track like Heart & Soul which itself is nothing special flows directly into arguably one of ICP’s greatest tracks of the last two decades, The Drunk & The Addict. Yes, I know this track has the producer tags I moaned about earlier at the start but fortunately they’re sped up here, and the beat is so fire that I can forgive it on this occasion.
I’m a little disappointed, as someone who got into ICP through their darker music, that the darkest song on the album was the promotional single, Wretched. While Wretched is a phenomenal track it really got my hopes up for more wicked shit on the album when in actual fact there’s hardly any.
My other favourite songs are Something to See, Slapnut and Gangsta Code. There was a lot of surprise and scepticism on the inclusion of a seven year old Boondox beat featuring on a Joker’s Card, but as explained in the album liner notes where (I’m guessing it was written by Violent J) J tears into the ex-Psychopathic Records artists, this song serves as an extra middle finger up to those at Majik Ninja Entertainment. While I’ve got nothing against anyone on MNE and listen to their music daily, the clowns using a beat they have bought and paid for is fair game to me especially when you consider it was used to prove a point, highlighted through the lyrics of the song itself.
Richard Cheese’ rendition of Fuck the World, arguably the most famous song from the previous deck’s fifth Joker’s Card was an outstanding choice to include.
Yum Yum Bedlam is by no means a bad album, but if you remember my ranking of the twelve Joker’s Card albums from last week, unfortunately this enters the list right down in 10th place. It may climb over the years, but at the moment I doubt it. Keep in mind that while we have had Yum Yum’s Lure and Yum Yum Bedlam so far, the Joker’s Card still has the three seed EP’s and a ‘best of’ album to go before its conclusion, so there is still ample opportunity for the eleventh Card to jump some spots before the sixth of the second deck emerges.
What did you think of the latest Insane Clown Posse offering? Let me know in the comments! That’ll about do it for my ICP content for now and my Forza Horizon 5 features will kick off next week so I’ll catch you back here for those! Thanks for reading and Whoop Whoop!