I’m gonna tell you a little secret dear readers, while I don’t own any of their albums, I’m a pretty big fan of CSS.
This is probably because when I was in my early 20’s they were “cool” and “weird” and something hipsters were into, but I think my favourite thing about them was that they had a song called Art Bitch and another called Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above.
I’ve always been a fan of pop music, and if the music and lyrics were engaging, you had my money.
Which is why today’s review is kind of awesome, because this feels like a throwback and something completely original at the same time. Also, anything with the word art in the title has to be good, right?
Grimes – Art Angels
released December 11, 2015
Claire Elise Boucher, better known as Grimes, is a Canadian singer/songwriter, music video director and record producer. This is her 4th studio album release and the most chart-topping example of her unique vision to date.
I have had a lot of fun listening to this album. It changes dramatically throughout, and even varies inside of specific tracks. I think some the most euphoric experiences with it have been listening to the CD in the car on my way to and fro.
But while this album is incredibly well crafted, I’m not entirely sure it qualifies as easy-listening for the more timid listener.
For instance, while I gravitated to the content almost immediately, both my girlfriend and one of my brothers couldn’t quite place the music the first time listening through themselves and as a consequence they both wanted to move on quickly.
It’s the kind of album that perfectly encapsulates the era we are living in, it pulls from a plethora of influences and captures them in fantastical and dreamlike ways. There are celtic parts, dreampop moments, psychobilly screams, spoken word in other languages, horror-movie inspired progressions, and audio samples that I’d swear came out of a video game from the 64 bit days or earlier.
Wikipedia has tried to summarize her identity by taking other summaries and mashing them together, which I find hilarious, by the way. And oh so relevant to what Grimes represents.
This quote from The Guardian says it well –
By sounding a little like everything you’ve ever heard, the whole sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard.
I’m gonna tell you something that might seem crazy, but really shouldn’t be. The reason why Grimes’ music is so awesome is not because she is a trendsetter in a sea of pop music, and as a result her music is as high of a caliber as the likes of Lorde, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Adele, and Ellie Goulding, among others, but because she sets trends by controlling her oeuvre and making music that is interesting and has intent. This is what pop music should sound like. Authentic music by artists that suit their personalities and tastes.
Claire Elise Boucher is inviting us into her reality, as opposed to trying to work in the reverse.
Kill V. Maim is a song from the perspective of Al Pacino in The Godfather pt II, California addresses her new hometown (a play off of Taylor Swift’s Welcome to New York?), REALiTi a love song that features insanity, and Butterfly is a send-up to Mariah Carrey and environmentalism.
If you don’t believe she is electic, and seeing is your truth, check out these music videos for Flesh without Blood/ Life in the Vivid Dream and REALiTi for a visual treat and a sample of her music directing skillz.
It is an incredibly rich and diverse offering, and I like it. But my major complaint is that it doesn’t dovetail with the same explosive and powerful quality that it opens with in the first track, laughing and not being normal. But if you are looking to shake up your pop roots, this is the one for you.
Art Angels is a fantastic entry from a really great artist who is embracing her weirdness and producing something original. Like CSS, she has made a fan of me, but unlike CSS, I’m gonna keep to my word and continue to buy her records. You should too.
See you tomorrow for a movie review, have a good night folks!