Grimes – Art Angels album review


Nick Deerberg, Photographer

Never afraid to create a sound that is both familiar and foreign, Grimes (Claire Boucher) shows how a musician can diverge from the norm and then mold it however they please, as she does in her new album Art Angels. After an excruciating three year wait that teased fans with a surprise release from a formerly unknown, unreleased album and a track written for Rihanna (which was rejected by the pop star), Boucher has finally unveiled what’s been in the works all this time. The new album itself was trashed at one point, with Boucher stating, “It sucked, so I threw it out and started again.” Now that the long wait is over, fans are both ecstatic and upset over Art Angels.

The first three tracks of Art Angels will take anybody, even die-hard fans, by surprise. Each one is, to put it simply, very out there (which is saying something, considering a large selection of Grimes’ music could be classified as ‘out there’). The tracks sound like their own little experiments concocted in the mind of Boucher, each showing the stranger sides of the artist. Admittedly, these first few songs are not for everyone. The first three songs remind you that you’re not listening to your average pop musician, allowing listeners to get into the right mindset for Grimes’ music. If the first few tracks don’t deter the listener, they are rewarded with the pop banger “Flesh without Blood.” “Flesh without Blood” is the first song on the album that really sets the mood for the remaining songs, showing a brand new happy and upbeat part of Grimes.

Art Angels continues to take you on a ride through the imagination of Grimes, continuously throwing catchy verses at your ears while keeping the music just the right amount of alternative. This new batch of songs delivers much cleaner pop melodies than Boucher’s 2012 breakout album Visions, suggesting that Grimes may be trying to start a move away from the ever growing bedroom lo-fi recordings. Despite polishing her sound, the songs on Art Angels still offer listeners key components of former releases that make Grimes’ music so enjoyable; a beautiful mix of instruments, both real and digital, alongside lyrics that range from cheesy tween pop to incredibly deep lines that show true reflection of the self.

Art Angels concludes with arguably the best song on the album, titled “Butterfly.” “Butterfly” takes the listener through an audible journey that guides you through a crowded dance floor then out the back door with enough time to drive to the coast and watch the sunset. The lyrics to “Butterfly” tie the album together very nicely, with lines like “Oh, then, get lost. Take a shit, maybe not” and “I don’t need to know, so do you want to?” After showing you her innermost thoughts, Boucher leaves the listener with the message that you just need to live in the moment.

Art Angels is a happier, upbeat side of Grimes that will shock the old fans before drawing them back in while also attracting a whole new group of fans. Art Angels is the unveiling of a much matured artist that has something to offer to almost any listener. This is a release that nobody should pass on.