The teenage girls who attended Lana Del Ray’s 2015 Endless Summer Tour may still be haunted by nightmares from an opening act that didn’t quite match the genre of the headliner they came to see.
The strobe lights were so excessive that they would even give hard-core EDM fans headaches. Half-naked dancers appeared to be summoning Lucifer instead of dancing.
That opening act was Grimes, the aggressively ethereal, cyborg-pop artist who performed songs from her 2012 album “Visions,” which took the music world by storm.
Fast forward to August 2015, Grimes produces a pop album that finds an unexpected middle ground between a joyful reverie and an anxiety attack.
The album, “Art Angels,” established Grimes one of the most individualistic female pop artists of all time. Her authentic character sets her apart from other saturated female pop acts.
Grimes blends together tender vocals with the harsh attack of machinery and digital synthesis to convey the intangible hysteria that accompanies the digital age.
Songs like “California” attack the stereotypes of female pop stars and chain artists like Lady Gaga to their early releases. Her album also attacks the industry that shaped such pop giants.
Instead of being dragged or coerced into the industry, Grimes snuck herself into the belly of the beast. She earned the respect from internet sub-genre fans as a DIY act and gained even more respect for her aesthetic commitment as a daring artist.
In her 2015 LP, however, Grimes explores elements of pop that seemed unreachable to her before. The synths are more pleasant than harsh, and Grimes sings bubblegum pop melodies over engaging instrumental beats.
“Art Angels” is her transition from quasi spiritual rave girl to pop icon. Dazzling and ferocious, Grimes is in complete control.
“I’ll never be your dream girl,” she sings onthe song “Butterfly.”
Grimes is the epitome of a positive role model for a female artist in the modern era. There is nothing nightmare-in- ducing about someone staying true to their interests and craft and understanding her position in the world as leverage for change.