By Elise Montemayor
Grimes is an artist that has evolved so much throughout the years. Her sound is always updating with the times. Nowadays, she’s taken up the subject of artificial intelligence through her new music, which makes sense in the era of Alexa joining families all over the world. But let’s go back to the year 2012. “Adventure Time” was on after school, One Direction was still together, Obama was still in office – times were just simpler. Little did we know that Grimes was about to drop one of the most exceptional albums of that year (and to me, of the decade).
Visions was made through major isolation. In a way, the album does feel isolating but it could easily be played at a club as well. At the time of the release, Grimes would often mention the term “post-Internet” while explaining the sound of this album. In 2012, technology and the Internet was growing vastly (and still is in the year of 2019). People were becoming more aware of the speed at which the Internet was evolving; one person could get so much information at the click of the mouse and, even more efficiently, with their smartphones. I remember really getting into Tumblr and other social media at that time, so I definitely saw the change first hand.
The falsettos and layered synths almost teleport the listeners to a time in the future that mimics ‘80s nostalgia. Her vocals are in English but sound like they’re in some immortal language, similar to Liz Fraiser from the Cocteau Twins. Each song blends in together like a story that has it’s upbeat moments and it’s grim moments. Grimes did say in an interview with The Guardian that Visions was a “cathartic [album] to make” because of a difficult time in the past with drug addiction, death of friends and bad relationships. After doing the research on what was put into making the album, it definitely gave Visions a darker tone beneath the reverbs and bouncy beats.
The track “Genesis” is probably the most notable from the album. It’s been featured on a few films and has an iconic video starring Los Angeles rapper Brooke Candy. The song starts out with ominous keyboards and transitions into ambient vocalizing. Then a heavy beat drops, along with the chanting chorus creating the impression that there’s several Grimes or Grimes clones in the studio. The sound is futuristic with hints of ‘80s nostalgia, but also holds an otherworldly aesthetic with the vocal effects. There’s sad tones within the vocals that evoke longing and a juxtaposed beat that makes the listener want to dance at the same time.
Visions is a very influential album that brought bedroom music production to a new level. It proved that one person can make an entire album alone and have a triumphant result in the end. Women taking up space in the production realm of music is an amazing thing and, thankfully, becoming more common these days. Through Visions, Claire Broucher, or Grimes, really inspired me as a quiet 13-year-old to express myself through art and music in a way that I thought I never could.
Visions was a new way to look at pop music by not being cookie cutter pop, but experimental. It pushes the boundaries of what pop means to people and has a lasting effect, seen through artists like Chari XCX and Clairo. I always find myself going back to this album when I feel lost. It reminds me of my dreams and love of music and art. Visions will always have a special place in my heart.