Coming out the gate early with a January released, Grimes’ Visions may have faded from some’s memory, but the record proves to be a brash and energetic innovation on how to make a do-it-yourself record and electronic sounds.
It might have her unique look and very hands-on approach that brought her star to critical acclaim, or even an authenticity that shines through in Grimes’ work. Acting as the sole writer and producer on the album, along with being one of the two mixers, Grimes’ D-I-Y approach to music making offers a very alternative side to an industry influenced by PR firms and A&Rs backed by major label funding.
Grimes’ first caught major attention for the single “Oblivion”, whose video showcases Grimes dancing around a stadium and making the public one of the stars of the video. “I never walk about after dark / It’s my point of view / Cause someone could break your neck / Coming up behind you / Always coming and you’d never have a clue”, sings Grimes, her vocals hollowing through the ethereal, diamond-like production.
Tracks like “Infinite ♥ Without Fulfillment”, “Be a Body (侘寂)”, and “Nightmusic” all expand the electronic music spectrum in which Grimes explores on the Visions record. Even the iTunes bonus track “Christmas Song” sees Grimes not being afraid to try something new, acting within her own abilities and delivering a shockingly urban take on witch house with a rap provided by Jay Worthy.
In turn, every track on the album is unique in its sounds. Grimes’ roles as writer, producer and mixer ensures that the product being delivered comes fully in the vision – ever so suiting to the title – of Grimes.
One of the standouts of the album is the euphoric “Genesis”, which mixes the sounds of a sea siren and the best synths from ’90’s arcade games into a powerful force of a song. The accompanying music video, below, takes a song to a new level, bringing forward Medieval imagery and the best character archetypes from games like Final Fantasy.
“It’s always different… / I am the vagabond”, Grimes sings in her siren-like vocals, sitting in a stretch limousine with a group of unique characters that includes the now infamous Brooke Candy.
The rest of 2012 has been full of slight controversy for Grimes though. She’s been pulled into feuds involving the concepts of what is a credible artist in a time where major labels are marketing their artists as do-it-yourself and where indie do-it-yourself artists are slowly losing dominance over what used to be a major pull in the industry. However, she’s pulled through such conflicts, taking to her Tumblr to make her side of all issues regarding credibility clear.
Hopefully 2013 will see Grimes’ critical success transition into rightfully deserved commercial success. With the previous year seeing the artist land a shared cover of V Magazine (with friends and fellow musicians Charli XCX and Sky Ferreira), the public are beginning to warm up to the star that Grimes, aka Claire Boucher, can be.