Ethereal ‘it’ girl Grimes has returned with her latest music video “Flesh without Blood/Life in the Vivid Dream”. This self-taught millennial debuts these tracks from her upcoming album ‘Art Angels’ with the music video marking yet another new direction for this complex artist as she takes on pop music head on.
Grimes is a complicated artist that has always been hard to place due to the constant changing of her style both in music, fashion and her videos. One of her modern inspirations Brooke Candy goes so far as to describe her as “starting a cultural revolution of sorts”. Most well known for her most recent album “Visions”, made distinctive by its synth sound and soft vocals, her latest video is probably most shocking not for its uniqueness but more so for its traditional pop sound. What does this mean for Grimes and her music? It means that this is the same Grimes that people know and love as she once again pushes herself into unfamiliar territory as an experimental artist that continually seeks to reinvent herself and her sound.
It’s easy to draw parallels with “Flesh without Blood/Life in the Vivid Dream” and other modern music videos such as Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” with its party and props or “Blue” by Marina and the Diamonds with its colourful glamour but what Grimes creates is a vision that is totally her own. From a pastel Marie Antoinette to a bleeding fallen angel, “Flesh without Blood/Life in the Vivid Dream” is filled with creativity that is all entirely Grimes’ own. Blood and video rewind effects within the video expose an unsettling darkness which is then echoed through the electronic and synth background elements, proving that this is not your generic pop song.
“Flesh Without Blood” is the more upbeat of the two songs but features the lyrics “if you don’t need me just let me go” and “now I don’t care anymore” as Grimes does not give in to any pop clichés. Rather her lyrics are directed at those who take her at face value, those that would turn against her for dabbling in the ‘mainstream’ as her lyrics describe that “it’s nice that you say you like me, but only conditionally”. Those that are quick to dismiss Grimes and this video are also most likely not to realise that this song actually dismisses them as Grimes deconstructs the pop genre right in front of their eyes.
This changes for a more personal tone in “Life in the Vivid Dreams” as the music slows and Grimes looks take on a darker aspect as she begins with the lyric “I could live in the world just like a stranger”. This song then speaks from a much more vulnerable position for her a person and as an artist. With the repetition of the line “live as yourself” Grimes shows her determination to remain true to herself and her difficulty in being Grimes as opposed to being Claire Boucher. These songs together then both comment on herself as an artist and the danger of being the person people want her to be rather than staying true to herself regardless of where that takes her.
Grimes is an artist who breaks the rules and does so again as her new album “Art Angels” signals an important step in her genre-defying career. In effortless style this single shows Grimes casting any negativity that critics or fake ‘fans’ have given her in the past as she follows her own unique path. This twenty seven year old then proves her worth by measuring her success in integrity rather than publicity; something too few in the music industry can say they have done. In an interview with Dazed in 2012 Grimes spoke about pop music and how “it’s the easiest thing to listen to and it’s the most evocative” which is something that rings true for her three years later. With her single nearing two million views on YouTube, an upcoming album to be released and a European tour bring her to Ireland in March, Grimes is a rare artist that is making waves in the music industry and is not one to be missed.