by Mar Lonsway
Claire Boucher, more widely known by her stage name Grimes, has recently graced my ears with her new album Art Angels, an album rooted in experimental electronic pop. As ambiguous as that genre description might be, it is clear from listening through the set list that she draws influence from styles ranging from classical to heavy metal to rhythm and blues. Her first two songs on the album, “laughing and not being normal” and “California” pleasantly set the mood for the entire experience. Laughing and not being normal begins with an orchestral intro, followed by the use of timpani sound and ambient vocals. The song evokes a mysteriously atmospheric mood that returns throughout the rest of the album. A distorted bass-heavy ending to the song leads to beginning of her much faster and dancing tune California. Grimes’ song structure, although including choruses and multiple versus as conventional pop music usually emphasizes, subtly integrates clever bridges between different movements within a song as well as between individual tracks. A subtle electronic drum beat, for example, bridges the gap between a piano and vocal intro and a minor toned violin outro in her song Easily. Returning to the more mellow side of her music for her last song, Butterfly appropriately concludes the album with a happy overtone atop one last danceable groove. Overall, Grimes has introduced me to a new, fresh side of popular music. Thank you Grimes for expanding the limits of my musical appreciation with a pop album featuring diverse genre influence and intelligently crafted song structure.