- 24 Feb 20
Dark concept album from electro-pop star.
Grimes’ fifth album has been a long time in the making. It’s her last for 4AD, with whom she has clashed since the release of 2015’s Art Angels. Her label swansong is far darker and more abstract than previous releases. Described by the singer herself as a concept album about an “anthropomorphic goddess of climate change”, where each song is “a different embodiment of human extinction”, it’s not exactly the radio-friendly synth-pop with which she made her reputation.
Opener ‘So Heavy I Fell Through The Earth’ sets the scene: underpinned by slow hip-hop beats, it boasts a haunting melody and swirling, quasi-mystical chanting. ‘Darkseid’ (featuring ‡NPAN), named after a fictional supervillain in DC Comics’ Justice League series, ups the ante, all frantic vocals and menacing beats. ‘My Name Is Dark’, previously titled ‘That’s What The Drugs Are For’, is close to six minutes of driving electro-rock and raucous screaming.
In contrast, ‘Delete Forever’ begins almost like a folk protest song, just acoustic guitar and vocal, gradually building an array of instruments for the album’s easiest listen. This is somewhat ironic, given that it appears to be about depression: “Always down, I’m not up / Guess it’s just my rotten luck / To fill my time with permanent gloom”.
It’s not all genre-bending brooding, however. The single ‘Violence’ is an addictive, toe-tapping affair featuring American DJ i_o, while ‘New Gods’ is a big, soaring ballad, and ‘You’ll Miss Me When I’m Not Around’ is a supremely catchy slice of electro-pop. The madcap melee of ‘4ÆM’ is a supercharged sprint across the dance floor that’s equal part hypnotic chant and schoolyard rhyme, complete with Bollywood samples.
Miss Anthropocene ends on a note of positivity, with ‘IDORU’ – a sweeping epic that’s the aural equivalent of a flock of swallows in full flight. It’s a gorgeous and gloriously uplifting way to end an album that is, for the most part, an uneasy listening experience.
Miss Anthropocene is out now.
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