A Dark and Twisted Adventure in Sound
After a five year absence from recorded music, Grimes released Miss Anthropocene 21 February 2020. Returning to a more traditional dark-pop blend of synths and industrial mechanised drums, Grimes delivers an interesting new addition to her catalogue.
After teaser tracks “So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth” and “Violence” fans were excited to see Grimes back in the studio with a darker approach to her brand of gritty, cyberpunk bedroom pop. Unfortunately, the album left us slightly disappointed and the new project can seem shamelessly self-indulgent and pompous, although elements of beauty shine through at times.
The second track on the album “Darkseid” came across as an extremely pretentious effort at spoken word with meaningless direction. Production on this track seems to completely outweigh songwriting and left me feeling a little confused.
Things began picking up for me with track three of the album “delete forever”. Although this track seems a little out of place sandwiched in between such dark industrial songs, it provides a light relief to the seemingly grimy nature of the album.
Track five “4AEM” was another ambitious attempt at creating something new, original and authentic. Unfortunately for Grimes, “4AEM” comes across as a weird blend of the Prodigy and something you might have heard at a year six primary school disco, which really doesn’t work.
You wanna make me bad, make me bad, And I like it like that, and I like it like that,Grimes – Violence
Things pickup with tracks like “Violence” and “My Name is Dark” provided elements of beauty and subtlety that this album really needed. “My Name is Dark” although a little extreme, balances the higher register of vocals with the grumbling ominous basslines very well. The remarkable blend of registers provided elements of euphoria which the album was certainly lacking till this point.
Components of certain tracks, like “before the fever” and “New Gods” began to remind me of early Weeknd mixtapes, vocal production and high airy head voice began to appear synonymous with the XO sound that the Weeknd made famous with his mixtape House of Balloons.
Final track “Idoru”, is an interesting addition to the track, sounding like a strange mix of Vampire Weekend indie-rock and synthy bedroom pop, the layers of this track work very well together and complement each other beautifully. Production on this track does nothing to overshadow the song and works really well in delivering a heartfelt and beautiful message.
The album as a whole lacks direction but the ambitious attempts of Grimes cannot be criticised, a brave attempt as always from the fearless artist. Moments of beauty leak through an otherwise relatively bleak project and illuminated the capabilities of such a unique sound, unfortunately it didn’t quite mix together in all places, but worth a listen nonetheless. A dark and twisted adventure in sound.