By Greg Evans, First Year History
In her fifth studio album Grimes offers up Miss Anthropocene, the goddess of climate change. A visionary smash of futuristic production and lyrics that scream to be misunderstood.
Describing the album as an ‘exercise in villainy’, Grimes' newest release was shaping up to be a zeitgeist-y, ecocidal manifesto, navigating the valley between natural and artificial intelligence. What initially felt like an exciting new lens to think about climate breakdown, shapes up to be more of an insight into Grimes’ relationship with her own existence.
The album opens with the stunningly minimalist ‘So heavy I fell Through the Earth’ which was released as a single back in November. Ethereal vocals glimmer over a steady bassline in what is a distinctly Grimes love song. No smash, no gutsy chorus - this feels significantly departed from the earlier single ‘Violence’, which tears through emotion with a cyberpunk switchblade.
A highlight comes with 4ÆM, an intense drum and bass track sampling Bollywood’s Bajirao Mastani; a thumping kick drum and layered vocals make for a dark, futuristic track that combines the turbulence of 'Visions' and the lyrical quality of 'Art Angels.'
Despite the intensity with which Grimes talks about the power of artificial intelligence online, the sub-ordinance of human knowledge to computer intelligence is felt in the texture of the production, rather than the lyrics themselves. On the husky ‘Before the Fever’, Grimes is lays it bare: ‘This is the sound of the end of the world.' But this would all sound pretty vague, if it were not for the bewitching layers of sound that mark Grimes as a master of her own productions.
Whilst some of the dystopia can border on the depressing, her lyrics are unrivalled in the mainstream by her ability to interrogate materiality in the digital age.
As the album moves forward with ‘Delete Forever’, Grimes laments the loss of friends to the opioid crisis in America, delivering a stripped back acoustic like nothing we’ve heard from her before. Whilst this track feels detached texturally from its counterparts, the rawness of emotion and intricate production echoes the impact of the more upbeat numbers.
Rather than being strictly about the climatic crisis, the album in its entirety feels like a commentary on self destruction in the anthropocene, and the intimacy of material things in a digital world. It’s reflective and bloody, tackling emotion head on with an open mind and a synthesiser.
It is an album of loss, intimacy and a spirit, that articulates the rawness of contemporary life in a futuristic style that is unique to her art. 'Miss Anthropocene' is a lurching point, conceptually and as an album, building on the beauty of 'Art Angels', Grimes cements herself as a force for the future of music.
Featured Image:Grimes/Miss Anthropecene
What did you think of Grimes' latest record?