The iconic musician Grimes has released an album after five years since her sensational Art Angels. “Miss Anthropocene” is an exploratory and euphoric album full of lyrical double entendre – her personal life and climate change.
Grimes has most recently been gaining a lot of attention as she is having a child with the Tesla mastermind, Elon Musk. Considering her relationship with such a strong proprietor for mitigating climate change, it is no wonder her album is strongly influenced by the issue.
Anthropocene is defined as “the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.” She says that the focus was to “make climate change fun.” Although this may have been her intent, it is not superficially prevalent. It takes searching to realize that a song like “IDORU” can be about losing love as much as it is about losing the planet.
Overall, Grimes’ newest work is engaging and unique compared to her past albums, which is satisfying to fans who have been anticipating something new from the artist over the years. She definitely has taken a different direction than her last album with more pop than psychedelia tones throughout.
The opener, “So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth” has a heavy, sadness to it. Grimes teased the song on Instagram prior to the album’s release, stating that “the song is kind of about when you decide to get pregnant or agree to get pregnant. It’s this weird loss of self, or loss of power or something. Because it’s sort of like a future life in subservience to this new life.”
Featuring beautiful vocals and folk instrumentation is “Delete Forever.” It is very different than typical Grimes, without much synthesized vocals we get here raw Grimes. The dark meaning behind the lyrics is that it confronts heroin addiction, as the artist has had many friends die from opiate overdoses.
Bringing listeners right back to that trip-hop groove beloved by fans is the song “Violence.” The lyrics seem to reference the impacts of violence both in relationships and to the planet. In some ways it glamorizes abuse as she sings “I like it like that;” however, in Grimes’ style, it only makes sense that this tune is not for glamorizing but bringing forth awareness.
The disorienting jumble in “4AM” makes it difficult to grasp to and one of the less appealing songs on the album along with “Darkseid,” which features rambling spoken word, but fortunately don’t terribly dampen the album’s luster.
Drawing towards the end of the concept album comes “You’ll Miss Me When I’m Not Around,” a euphoric song that is somewhat underwhelming in its vocals. Grimes herself acknowledges that it is “too simple for Grimes;” however, she stated in an interview that she mostly fell in love with the lyrics and just wanted to put it on the album for fun.
“Before the Fever” at first listen sounds like Lana Del Re with its sensual vibes, sung in a lower tone than what is familiar to Grimes listeners. The guitar is slow moving and dark, making the placement of it towards the end of the album awkward for momentum towards a finish.
Finally, is the closing song “IDORU,” reminiscent of Bjork’s latest, Utopia with flutists and mystical bird sounds. Relating it to her concept of climate change, “IDORU” on the surface seems to be talking about failed love.
The lyrics “You are the only one, babe, I was so dumb, and even though I’m breaking, at least I feel something (How can you be so mean?)” suggest that she is referring to Earth being the only one we have. Humans have been “so dumb,” breaking down the world’s resources for their own gain. The Earth can be “mean” with the changes happening throughout the globe, i.e., Australia’s bushfires. These interpretive songs are what make Grimes’ music complex, unique, and so wonderfully amusing to listen to.
In the grand scheme of Grimes’ discography, “Miss Anthropocene” isn’t her best work, but it is, a refreshing album that holds fans over until her next work. The album misses the mark because it is so clearly a conceptual piece based on Grimes’ social media teasers, but it requires you to search for the concept too deeply. The cues aren’t clear enough for casual listeners. A more focused theme could have elevated the album to the next tier.