Artist of the week: Grimes
Label her music however you want it, whether it’s “witch house”, “grave wave”, “gothic synthpop” or “ADD music”, Claire Elise Boucher, aka Grimes, remains one of the most unclassified and popular artists to have ever emerged from the American underground lo-fi dance music scene. Her atypical fusion of children-like vocals with a wide array of influences (ranging from electronica to pop, hip hop, techno, R&B and medieval music) combined with a deeply idiosyncratic visual identity (that mixes Manga comics with Heavy Metal and psychedelic imaginary) and strong political stance against sexism have turned her artistic vision one of the most fascinating and divisive on the emerging digital media landscape.
After releasing a couple of cassettes that, in spite of favorable reviews, failed at the time to gain any substantial traction (2010’s Geidi Primes and 2011’s Halfaxa), Grimes signed to the legendary UK label 4AD for the release of 2012’s Visions, one the paramount albums of the new millennium, gaining accolades from all over the world and turning one of its tracks (“Oblivion”) in the hymn of a tortuous and hyperactive generation. The polarizing reaction to the release of the 2014’s single “Go” (a significant departure from her previous sound) seemed to make her scrap the entirety of what she had already recorded from her new album. Things seemed to get back on track when she uploaded a self-directed video for a demo from the abandoned album, “REALiTi”, which received critical acclaim from both music critics and fans.
Though we will have to wait up until next Friday to listen to her new album, Art Angels, the three tracks (“Flesh without Blood/Life in the Vivid Dream” and “SCREAM”) that have already emerged sounds unbearably promising, showcasing a more melodic and mature songwriting and performance without loosing the charming weirdness that has already turned her one of the most magnetic figures in the history of popular music.
João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.