grimes7. Grimes
Art Angels
[4AD]

Claire Boucher made a pop record. The streets of Montréal are probably alive tonight with people in tight-ankled jeans arguing about whether it’s pop for pop’s sake or some kind of ironic, artful statement about pop. She’s one of few female artists since Björk who has been beating us over the head with aggressive and incomprehensible whimsy. On 2015’s Art Angels, we loved every minute of it and we’ll go back for more—whatever it is. This is the moment where someone is inevitably going to say we should leave it open to interpretation! No. That person should be summarily dismissed as quickly as a drum pattern on “Flesh without Blood.”

grimes-art-angelsGrimes’ previous unreleased album was apparently “too depressing” for her to tour with. Music listeners across the world owe her a debt of gratitude for sparing us more minimal electro-mope-core and instead unexpectedly delivering a record that rivals anything put out by Adele or deadmau5 for its scope, quality and accomplishment. And though she may not smash the sales records of those artists, she’ll do well enough to be remembered as the soundtrack to someone’s very important year. She’ll be the sound danced to in college, the fist-pounding anthem on a road-trip to the country or simply the oddity that served to introduce you to the fact that pop music could be fun again without being brain-dead or predictable.

Art Angels is a pattern-rich tapestry of vocal melody, rock, techno, J-pop and electro. It’s even got a few drum ‘n’ bass patterns with which to remind us that Grimes has her finger on the pulse of just about everything current, even if she chooses not to indulge in any of it for longer than the length of a phrase. It feels like Art Angels barely scratches the surface of what she’s capable of and indeed she may have just discovered that for herself in 2015. – Darryl G. Wright

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