Every generation has its counter culture icon, someone who looks in the eye of the beast and dares to say otherwise. It’s a subtle game of cat and mouse that has launched the careers of some of music’s most revered queens; Madonna, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry and now Grimes.

Art Angels, Grimes’ fourth studio album, is another attempt at rearranging traditional pop norms. She is doing what she’s always done, which is melding multiple styles and drowning it with esoteric lyrics. A balance that draws fans from both sides of the fence. In that regard, Art Angels is no different than any of her previous projects; cultural gobbledygook that speaks a lot but says very little.

Art Angels adheres to a very simple formula: analyze whatever your critics say, complain about it and stand diametrically opposed; bottom lip poked out and arms firmly crossed like a creative infant. It’s easy fodder that binds her perspective to the very thing that is holding it down; one big sob story followed by gooey whimsy, the type of project that wants to stand alone, but in a room full of people.

On “California” Grimes lets the waterworks fly, essentially whimpering about how Pitchfork has misunderstood her lyrics. It’s a joke, a feeling that she thrives on. The more people try and understand her the more self-indulgent she gets, a perfect combination of lame and annoying: [LISTEN]


From a production standpoint, Art Angels is a success, a sign that all is not lost. Grimes finds middle ground between styles, and bridges them in a way that makes it both universal and relatable, all without sounding forced or contrived. It’s a natural place for her to be. She picked up a few instruments, utilized a new program for her editing, and blended it into something noteworthy. It’s when she gets to writing that she gets herself into trouble.

On “Flesh Without Blood” Grimes lambastes the same scene that has aided in her ascension, once again crying about what we all already know, which is that celebrity (underground, mainstream or otherwise) is nothing but pageantry and lies: [LISTEN]

Flesh Without Blood

There will always be a place for Grimes, but after four albums of essentially the same thing it’s a wonder as to where that place actually is; will it be among the stable of legends or will it be at the bottom with the burnouts. In this instance there is no need to over analyze Art Angels, to do so would be to miss the obvious, which is that a fantasy of hers didn’t turn out the way she had expected. Welcome to reality.