Ryan Meaney has never seen Avenue Q.
Chris Orrick has spent his musical career trying to find answers to questions most people would be too afraid to ask. The Michigan rapper (who changed to his government name from Red Pill after the rise of the misogynistic Reddit group of the same name) spends entire albums scouring his mind for the ability and sense to lead a happy and healthy life he knows he needs, but is not quite sure he deserves. He manifests his drinking and depression into tight rhymes over punchy ’70s soul and funk samples, hoping that putting these meditations into song will lift the curse that has been plaguing him all his life.
He invokes themes that we deal with on a daily basis, how our flaws and vices are much more powerful and possessive than our willingness to look inside ourselves to make real change. “Design Flaw” is the second single from his upcoming record Portraits, his third album for Mello Music Group. Here, Orrick invites us back to this dark place, with a nasty visual to coincide.
“Design Flaw” finds Orrick laying all of his demons on the table, but refusing to clean them up. “Just pour me a stiff drink and leave me the fuck alone/ My story is missed links and riddled with undertones/ Of various insults in between compliments.” These missing links are what make Orrick such a relatable artist. The ‘what could I have done better’ moments that weave through the fabric of everyday life are what he seeks to reconcile, but he knows he probably never will. It’s like waking up with a killer hangover. You vehemently regret your decisions but know deep down that it will not be the last.
The video accompanying “Design Flaw” represents the toxicity of addiction that Orrick so boldly raps about. A muppet version of Orrick spends his night drinking, drugging, and playing out a Miss Piggy fantasy with another woman. We see the real Orrick partaking and viewing the madness as a third party, powerless to stop the plush downward spiral. It is both amusing and terrifying, the perfect visual for an artist who is always walking a fine line between humorous self-ridicule and distressed cry-for-help. “Design Flaw” is Orrick laying claim to the idea that his addictions are in the driver seat, and he can only watch from the sidelines.