Out To Sea
Let’s offer a toast to the return of Chris Orrick (Ugly Heroes), rap’s poet laureate of imperial decline. It’s springtime in the dystopia, the birds are coughing up blood, the bees are dying at an alarming rate, and Michigan’s most acerbic misanthrope has emerged from winter hibernation with a clutch of doomed stanzas about cold pizza and liver destruction. His latest for Mello Music Group, Out to Sea, might not be easy listening, but it’s impossible to ignore.
It’s testament to Orrick’s self-lacerating genius that he can’t offer anything less than uncomfortable, sliced-to-the-marrow honesty. This is where he’s at and there is never a second of subterfuge. He will be the first to call himself a drunken, overweight Midwesterner riddled with social anxiety, consumed by fear and loathing, whose primary gift and weapon is writing songs and tape recording them.
Out to Sea began without any overarching ideas—writing as a way of figuring out what he needed to say and as a form of catharsis. Themes of stormy weather and disastrous climate started to materialize from the fog of word. It was an easy leap to link them with mental illness and the diseased discourse that has infected the political climate in the Trump era. Out to Sea is an attempt to communicate beyond reductive binaries—not some naïve both-sides-ism bullshit but a fragile and lasting document sketched through a vale of sadness and a haunted concern for humanity.
In the hands of a lesser artist, these are themes and moments that could seem melodramatic or overwrought but with Orrick, there is a rare sense of consequences and lament, a brilliant gift for dark poesy and sly self-deprecating humor. It is music to cope and as a form of survival, a chance to find meaning in a world that frequently seems bereft of it—a record that will leave you shaken to the core, reconsidering the radiation and delirium that gradually has consumed modern life. If we still exist in a few decades, we will be able to return to Out to Sea, and listen to the soundtrack of a society that seems hopelessly adrift
Chris Orrick Raps
Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube