The Canadian singer-songwriter Grimes is notably known for her album Visions from 2012, which was praised for its experimental, dark and atmospheric electro- pop. Now she is back with her fourth album, ‘Art Angels’, and Grimes has to face genre discussions as many other musicians had to encounter before.
On social media, many moaning hipsters accuse her of becoming too mainstream and only perusing financial success with her new album. Surely Visions was more niche and alternative as it was only produced with Apple’s GarageBand in her apartment, but on ‘Art Angels’ you can actually hear that Grimes thought intensely about every song, experimenting with different genre approaches and sound mixtures and even learned to play violin and piano.
As such, it sounds even more interesting, ambivalent and adventurous, which you get a taste of right in the first three tracks of the album. The album is introduced by the risible banal string quartet plus piano song “Laughing and Not Being Normal”, before going on to a typical bubblegum pop song, in which Grimes recounts the superficiality of her new home, “California”. Grimes collaborated with the Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes, rapping to a hectic and dark beat. With these confident breaks, melodic hooks and the tightrope walk between mainstream and niche, Grimes succeeds in creating a unique music experience. And I advise everyone who refuse to listen to an artist album because they got “too mainstream”, to just think outside the box and as Grimes perfectly summed up, just accept the beauty of music without addressing perceived musical ambitions.
Review by Carolin Wolfsdorf