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100 Albums: "Art Angels" by Grimes


Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: Grimes
Title: Art Angels
Released: 2015
Genre: twee Canadian dream-pop




Born Claire Boucher in Vancouver, Grimes began putting music on MySpace in 2007. She's completely self-taught, produces all of her music, and might be the teensiest bit crazy. Her early work is rough, but by 2015, she'd perfected her blood-soaked dream-pop aesthetic--and if you want to see that aesthetic turned all the way up, go check out the video for Kill V. Maim. It gets weird. These days she's dated and broken up with Elon Musk and talked about changing her name to a mathematical constant, so... artists, amiright?

Art Angels took a few listens to really get under my skin, aside from Kill V. Maim which is just a flat-out earworm. The album goes hard on contrasting dark broody lyrics against a super-bright unironic bubblegum pop sheen. But you mostly get that sheen on a first listen. So a song like California comes off as vapid and disposable until you catch the pre-chorus lyrics: "And when the ocean rises up above the ground, mabye I'll drown in California." But once you take a little time to live with the music, it's solid dance pop. REALiTi has a euro-synth vibe, Artangles has a little funk infusion in it, Easily has strains of modern hip-hop and R&B. One of the best (and strangest) tracks is near the end, Venus Fly which features Janelle Monáe that is a not-quite-industrial track souped up with an 808.

Overall it's a weird record dressed up as dance pop and pretty thick with artistic pretense. But it's got heart and it's definitely never boring.

Further Listening: As mentioned above, her earlier work is a little rough. She's working on new material right now and what's come out so far is pretty promising.

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