February 17, 2020 Grimes – Miss Anthropocene (Album Review)
Canada continues to produce artists whose music delves in New Wave, Synthpop, and Electropop – such as Lights (“Everybody Breaks a Glass”), Chromeo (“Fancy Footworks”), Crystal Castles (“Not in Love “), Dragonette (“Live in This City”), Electric Youth (“We Are the Youth”), and Purity Ring (“Cartographist”) – but rarely does one encounter something that dabbles in the cold and dark recesses of the genre. In this aspect is where Grimes stands out.
Grimes, as well as the aforementioned artists, have all played parts in the brightening of the genre in the tail-end of the last ten years; but for the new decade that has just started, Grimes is taking the lead.
Born on March 17th, 1988, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Grimes is actually Singer-Songwriter and Record Producer Claire Elise Boucher. Since the start of her music career, in 2007, Grimes has already released four full-length albums—from 2010’s Geidi Primes to 2015’s Art Angels—and a new one is forthcoming.
Scheduled to come out on February 21st, 2020, via 4AD Records, Grimes’ fifth is titled Miss Anthropocene. It is darker and edgier, departing from the bright and upbeat predisposition of its predecessor.
Miss Anthropocene is a concept album about an “anthropomorphic goddess of climate change, inspired by Roman mythology.” It opens with the dangerously sweet and subtle Industrial grind of “So Heavy I Fell through the Earth,” which easily aligns itself among pioneers of Ethereal Wave like Dead Can Dance (“Yulunga [Spirit Dance]”), Cocteau Twins (“Seekers Who Are Lovers”), and Enigma (“Age of Loneliness”). This is followed by the frenetic and alluring passion of “Darkseid,” whose sense of urgency clouds the ambiance with impending gloom and doom. “Delete Forever” is a change in style—acoustic guitar-led, folksy, raw, and minimalist.
“Violence” then undulates its hypnotic beat, taking the listener to a journey into the forbidden desert of the mind. Another Middle Eastern-inspired track then plays next in the form of “4ÆM”—breezy, chilling, exotic. Then there is the slow and seductive Gothic ballad, “New Gods,” enveloping the listener’s senses with its lush soundscape of orchestration that serves as a soft bed to Boucher’s pained, ghostly voice.
“My Name Is Dark” is a different kind of beast—attractive but frightening, thrilling yet repulsive. The ensuing “You’ll Miss Me when I’m Not Around” then returns the listener to reality, after subjecting her to a surge of otherworldly pieces of sonic art; surely a standout with its Pop tendencies. Another album highlight, the equally Gothic and romantic “Before the Fever” continues in the same mood and musicality.
Finally, Grimes concludes Miss Anthropocene with a rather experimental collage of beautiful melodies and harmonies: “Idoru” is unarguably a perfect seven-minute closer to a well-conceived and well-woven album—a pièce de résistance that may be regarded as an instant classic.
Albeit only in its nascent phase, 2020s music with its future is already looking shiny and hopeful; what with the slew of promising, new albums that are slowly filling up its still spacious sonic coffers. And this early, Grimes is certainly quick in securing its place in the international archives of New Wave, Indie, and Alternative music for the 2020s. Cryptic Rock gives Miss Anthropocene 4 out of 5 stars.