Miss Anthropocene sees Grimes embody a goddess of the climate crisis. And just like the multi-faceted nature of Earth’s climate, her fifth studio album explores a variety of musical terrains.
The album is an arguably rare example of an artist simultaneously surviving in the realm of their audience’s expectations and evolving their sound beyond their predictions. The dreamlike vocals and synthetic pop sound that are so archetypal of Grimes are reintroduced alongside an increasing ethereal darkness that starkly contrasts the optimistic pop of her previous album, Art Angels.
Miss Anthropocene radiates experimentation and, paired with her initially jarring vocal, Grimes’ can seem impenetrable to an outsider. However, she tiptoes into Top 40 territory on ‘You’ll miss me when I’m not around’, the album’s most commercial track, which provides a refreshingly accessible entrance to her music. Grimes transforms the agony of being alive into an affectionate game of desire, and then disguises this with a deceptively upbeat melody.
‘4ÆM’ is a highlight of the album; Grimes samples a Bollywood film score for the verses, before bulldozing through its tranquility with a surprising drum and bass chorus. The song is a battle between light and shade overrun with the haunting repeated lyric ‘I’m out late at 4 am’ creating a sense of delirium. Perhaps though this unconventional track would have benefited from less polish, to leave some edges frayed to truly expose the experimental production.
The album ends with Grimes’ version of a lovesong, which demonstrates how her electronic vocal works equally well in moments of love, as it does in pessimism. If we can forget that Grimes is most likely addressing Elon Musk – who potentially plays a role in the climate crisis she sings so vehemently against – then it is a beautiful song. The lyrics are simple, mono-syllabic rhymes. The melody is delicate and raw.
This really is Grimes at her best. Miss Anthropocene marks an incredible upgrade in her ability and secures her position as one of the most interesting women in music right now.
Overall, a 4.5/5
Last modified: 25th June 2020