If you have known me for a while or been a fan of this blog for a minute, you should know how much I love Grimes. In fact, one of my personal favorite pieces that I have written so far for this blog was a piece about Grimes and how much I love and admire her art and music, and it would be cool if you search Grimes in the search bar below after reading this review and check out that piece as well. I did not really think I could like Grimes’ artistry more than I already did before I even knew about Miss Anthropocene; she has always combined emo and goth and other weird niche sub-cultures with a futuristic and otherworldly vibe that is so unique to her. When the rollout for and announcement of Miss Anthropocene came out, though, it did not take long for me to realize that I would love this era of Grimes even more than any of her previous eras. For the era of Miss Anthropocene, Grimes has taken a post-apocalyptic approach, with each song about a “new god” that has emerged and a scenario that has happened because the world has morphed into this robotic post-apocalyptic society. Sonically, this album does have that weird futuristic EDM-pop vibe that most of Grimes’ music has had in the past; additionally, though, this album has a very late 90s industrial grunge feeling to it. I love that I can recognize a lot of influence from artists like Blur, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, and Ace of Base. This type of music is obviously not very popular in 2020, and I love that Grimes is introducing a new generation of music listeners to a cool and short-lived style of music that actually has a lot of influence of 2000s metal and Electronic music. Miss Anthropocene is a pretty perfect mix of Grimes’ original and typical styles of music and art with and era and style of music and art that should totally receive a lot more love, and I would be very surprised if it is not a top album of the year candidate for me next December.
There are a few songs on this album where Grimes made and “art mix” for the song and a “radio” or “algorithm” mix for the song, where the “art mix” is typically a way longer and more grand version of the song. I will be talking about the “algorithm mix” for the songs that have more than one version, as I figure this is the version most listeners are going to download. The first track on Miss Anthropocene is a super pretty chill house type of track with a very ethereal and industrial vibe to it called ‘So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth’(algorithm mix). This track probably has one of the least scary and apocalyptic vibes to it in regards to the rest of the music on this album; in a way, even though the song does have some grungey production, it almost has a happy and sweet vibe to it. Lyrically, Grimes seems to be in bliss throughout the course of this track; it is as if she knows that this is the calm before the storm, but instead of thinking about the impending storm, she is just enjoying the calm. There are rumors that(the rumors are unconfirmed by Grimes but it is not difficult to read between the lines) the lyrics and tone of this record are also indirectly referring to a very tumultuous past relationship Grimes has been in. If this is indeed the case, ‘So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth’ sort of feels like a moment where Grimes knows what she is about to get into is less than stellar, but she doesn’t care because at the moment it is awesome. If ‘So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth’ is the calm before the storm, then ‘Darkseid,’ which features the Taiwanese rapper PAN(formerly Aristophanes), is the moment the storm hits. This is easily one of my favorite songs on this record and will probably be one of my favorites for the whole year; it is just so brash and goes so hard. According to a recent interview of Grimes, apparently this instrumental was originally meant for Lil Uzi Vert, but he ended up not using it. I am glad that Grimes ended up using it for herself on this record because it is one of my favorite instrumentals that she has produced. Lyrically, most of the song is not in English, with some of the only English lyrics being this chorus: Unrest is in the soul, we don’t move our bodies anymore… You can take those lyrics how you want to, but in the context of her personal life and in the context of the album as you will, but I will say that I would not want to mess with Grimes if she was in the same mood as she was when she made this song. The next track, ‘Delete Forever,’ is very unique for Grimes, as it is one of the first moments in her career where she has said that she feels like a real singer. This song has an acoustic 90s alt-rock vibe that is softer than the rest of the record but still definitely fits the style of the record. This song is very personal for Grimes, as it is about the perils of drug abuse and watching people around her spiral, while not being able to control her own habits. She alludes to the fact that creating art and doing drugs actually affect the same part of the brain, and the euphoria gained from both of the activities is actually strangely very similar. I think it is really cool to see Grimes expose herself in this way as an artist and person, and ‘Delete Forever’ is definitely one of the most unique songs to her own art that Grimes has ever made.
I’m begging for it, baby: makes you want to party, makes you want to wake up. Baby it’s violence, violence, baby it’s violence. But you can’t see what I see, you can’t see what I see. Cause you, ha-ha, feed off hurting me, off hurting me, ha-ha
‘Violence,’ which features io, is another major highlight from this album for me. In fact, it was one of my favorite songs from 2019. This track continues the industrial and grungey vibe that most of the rest of the production of Miss Anthropocene has; I really love the idea of mixing dance and house music with industrial music; it just sounds so cool to me. ‘Violence’ sounds like something that would play at a club in the Underworld or Blade movie series’s. In the context of the story of the album, ‘Violence’ is a love song sung by the Earth to the humans that inhabit it; even though the Earth knows that the humans are being too reckless and destroying it, the Earth still loves the humans in a sick way. I do not think it is difficult to understand what this track means in the context of Grimes’ life, and I am not going to say more about it than that. ‘4AM’ is another song that has some of the coolest and weirdest production of any of Grimes’ music. This track is just so otherworldly and cool. Once again, it has a sort of late 90s alternative vibe to it, but it also has this Middle Eastern melody and vibe to it that is totally unique to Grimes music. It sounds like an EDM club track that would be played in a club in either ancient Egypt or Egypt way int he future. There is no other way for me to describe this one because ‘4AM’ is so cool and different, so you will have to listen to it for yourself to understand what I mean. ‘New Gods’ switches up the vibe that the last two songs had in a major way; this song is so low key and slow-paced, and definitely kills the weird futuristic party vibe that the last two songs had. It is really pretty and it almost sounds like it should be in the new Halo video game series. It lyrically fits really well into the album, and it progresses the story of the album super well, so it does do its job. It is not my personal favorite song on the record, but it does serve its purpose well. The vocal style and the overall energy of ‘My Name is Dark’ is one of the only songs on Miss Anthropocene that sort of gives off similar vibes to some of Grimes’ older music. To me, this song is not stylistically that far off from songs like ‘Kill V. Maim’ and ‘Flesh Without Blood.’ It does, however, have a decidedly grunge-rock riff that is just so dirty in the best way. I really love the riff of this song; I can not decide if it makes me want to dance or get in a fistfight, but either way it is pretty awesome. If you are really into Grimes’ older stuff and want a taste of the overall themes of this new record, ‘My Name is Dark’ is the song that you should check out.
Hurt myself again today. Doesn’t matter anyway. (You’ll miss me when I’m not around). I’ll make it to Heaven even if I have to climb the clouds and learn to fly…
‘You’ll miss me when I’m not around’ is another instance where the style of music that Grimes made for her record Art Angels sort of merges with the vibe of the music from Miss Anthropocene. In fact, if it wasn’t for the 90s alt-rock riff that dominates the melody of the track, I would not be surprised if someone told me that this song was a throwaway from one of Grimes’ older projects. Lyrically, I love the confidence in herself that Grimes possesses on this track. No matter what mistakes she has made, she knows that the person she is singing to will always need her, as much as they do not want to admit it. ‘Before the Fever’ is an industrial-pop type joint that I would not be surprised to hear that the industrial god Trent Reznor(of Nine Inch Nails) produced himself. This song is so grand and heavy and dark; it is probably not the kind of track I am going to listen to randomly while driving to work, but it does sound really great in the context of the record. ‘IDORU’ is another track that has a similar vibe to a lot of the music on Grimes’ record Art Angels; once again, though, this track has a distorted riff that sounds like it should be on a 90s grunge song. The dance-pop vibe of this track sounds so good paired with this particular riff, making this track one of the most fun songs on the record. It is really the perfect combination of Grimes’ more traditional sounds and the sound that the rest of this album possesses. ‘IDORU’ is definitely another major highlight from this record because of these qualities. The album closes out with a track that Grimes has gone back and forth on as to whether it would actually be included in the tracklist for this album, When the initial rollout of advertising for ‘We Appreciate Power,’ which features Hana, this song was released to show fans what the artistic style of Miss Anthropocene was going to be; over the next few months, however, she stated that this song was not actually going to be on the record(much to the dismay of fans because it is really great). She must have heard her fans and decided to throw it back onto the record, which definitely makes me and all of her other huge fans very happy. This song just goes so hard, dude; it is the perfect combination of industrial metal music and Pop. ‘We Appreciate Power’ is another song that makes me want to get into a fistfight or a riot just as much as it makes me want to dance and party. The lyricism of this some captures the vibe and essence of the rest of this album so well. Grimes and Hana on this song have totally given into the Artificial Intelligence overlords, and they are trying to get the rest of society to give in to the robot world that they are embracing. This idea is shown very well by this line from the refrain, which is one of my favorite lyrics on the album because it is so catchy: What will it take to make you capitulate? We appreciate power!
Miss Anthropocene is the first project that Grimes has released in five years. For major fans of hers like me, that five years felt like forever. The fact that her highly critically acclaimed album, Art Angels, came out so long ago(relatively compared to the output of most big artists from this generation), this record had a lot of pressure put on it. I think that Grimes completely delivered with this record, and it is just as good as I expected it to be. I feel like too many of the other reviews I have seen about this album are taking people’s opinions on Grimes’ personal life too much into consideration than they should be. Who cares how anyone feels about who Grimes dates? Her music and art are still awesome. I do not think it is possible for someone to objectively say that this album does not do and say exactly what Grimes has said it was going to. It follows a really interesting narrative perfectly, and everything about the sound and lyrics of this record is so cohesive. Miss Anthropocene is going to go down as one of the best albums of 2020, and it shows that Grimes is still every bit as great and innovative as she has always been.