New Video From Grimes – California
‘California’, by Grimes. From the new album ‘Art Angels’, out now and available for download here
Our times most overrated, flimsy “musician”/”artist”?
She starts the song with the line “This music makes me cry..“, yeah you could say that again…
Art Angels is the fourth studio album by Canadian singer and songwriter Claire Boucher, professionally known as Grimes. It was digitally released on November 6, 2015 by 4AD, and in physical formats on December 11. Boucher began planning the record in 2013 as the follow-up to her third studio album Visions, however she scrapped most of the material from these sessions and began a new set of recordings in 2014. The track “Realiti“, which came from the earlier recordings, was released as a demo in early 2015.
Art Angels has been described as being more accessible than Grimes’ previous albums while retaining her experimental influences. The album features guest vocals from Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes and American recording artist Janelle Monáe. Two singles, “Flesh without Blood” and “Scream”, were released ahead of the album and a single music video was made for the tracks “Flesh without Blood” and “Life in the Vivid Dream”. Art Angels sold 11,000 copies in the first week of its release and became Boucher’s highest charting album at the time. The album was released to widespread critical acclaim and was ranked by several publications as one of the best albums of 2015.
Art Angels received widespread acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 88, which indicates “universal acclaim”, based on 32 reviews. In a positive review, The A.V. Club called the album “slick and gritty, fun and funny, and horrifying and grotesque all at once” and said that “it will also make you shake your ass like nothing else”. They also highlighted the track “Kill V. Maim” as holding “the full weight of Grimes’ abilities as both a producer and singer”. While Billboard praised Art Angels as “a marvel of meticulous, even obsessive home-studio recording, uncompromised by bandmates or collaborators”, they criticised Boucher’s voice as “her least impressive, most commonplace tool”. Clash stated that “this is the truest representation of Grimes we’ve heard yet: ‘Art Angels’ is boundary pushing, it’s listenable and it’s Boucher’s most ambitious and most consistent work to date” and commended the production of the album as the “one thing that does tie it all together”. Although referring to Art Angels as “simultaneously [Boucher’s] most accessible and her least personal body of work”, Consequence of Sound called the album “pure Grimes — performative, maximalist, joyful, and broad”.
DIY revered Art Angels and described it as “impossible to resist”, possessing an “instant, limb-grabbing appeal”. Exclaim! stated that “Art Angels was worth every second of the wait” and hailed the album as “a complete record that’s everything pop should be in 2015: utterly uncompromising, imaginative and, somehow, universally accessible”. NME dismissed notions that Boucher had “sacrificed some of what made her seem so alien when 4AD debut ‘Visions’ emerged” by “embracing the pop orthodoxy”, and commented that “she’s still laughing and not being normal, only this time, it’s all the way to the bank”. While giving Art Angels a “Best New Music” designation, Pitchfork Media wrote “these 14 tracks are evidence of Boucher’s labor and an articulation of a pop vision that is incontrovertibly hers, inviting the wider world in” and labelled Boucher as “a human zeitgeist, redrawing all the binaries and boundaries by which we define pop music and forcing us to come along”.
In a less positive review, The Guardian stated “packed as it is with all this goodness, Art Angels fails to comprehensively blow your mind” and “ultimately, Grimes has not reinvented the pop wheel, she’s just driven it off road a little”. Similarly, The Line of Best Fit gave the album an average review and wrote that “on Art Angels, we hear that high art experimentation fall into mainstream territory with only fleeting moments of brilliance”