Electronic musician and producer (and former BUST cover girl) Grimes (a/k/a Claire Boucher) made a landmark record with 2012’s Visions, a DIY, feminist work of art that took inspiration from such varied sources as Nine Inch Nails and Mariah Carey. Her new album, the much-anticipated follow-up Art Angels, is more focused in its scope: pure pop for 2015.
Tracks like “Kill V. Maim” and “Venus Fly,” the latter of which features Janelle Monáe, are like dubstep fight songs for a fierce, alternative girl gang. Softer songs like “California” and “Flesh without Blood” could almost be outtakes from Taylor Swift’s latest record, if not for Grimes’s unmistakable, maximalist, industrial-tinged production.
Though Art Angels is a distinctly more accessible pop record than Visions, there are still plenty of moments of Grimes-as-weirdo-outsider-artist. A standout track is “Scream,” in which Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes carries the vocals (entirely in Mandarin), and Grimes contributes a haunting scream that acts as the chorus. Grimes also embraces the higher end of her vocal range on this album, a bold, challenging choice with inherent feminist implications.
Art Angels is a bold, original, yet easily digestible set of songs, music that should be as well-received by music snobs as those who just want to dance. Once again, Grimes has set the bar just a little bit higher.
Art Angels is available now on 4AD! Click here to download the album on iTunes!
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LIZ GALVAO is the Music Editor at BUST Magazine. Her writing focuses on humor, feminism, and pop culture.