no. 22 — Art Angels by Grimes

I have a complicated relationship with Grimes. I love her music, and loved the niche she created for women to produce and create grunge pop music. But I hate Elon Musk, and I especially hate that Grimes said in an interview that when a man “comes inside you, you become in their thrall- how it’s an attack on your feminist freedom”[1] and then proceeded to have Musk’s weird robot child a year or so later. I’m glad she found love, I’m thrilled she’s happy with her family. That does not change the piece of shit egotistical maniac that Elon Musk is, nor does his relationship with Grimes absolve him of his incessant wrongdoing. But this post is not about Elon Musk, even if it currently feels impossible to separate Grimes the artist from c, Elon Musk’s girlfriend. [2]

Before Musk came into the picture, I loved Grimes for her weird, eccentric ability to enthrall you in her world. I liked that she made an entire album holed up in a windowless room while on drugs. I liked that she took the strange, roundabout route to the end product of her songs. I liked that she was outspoken on being a woman in the music industry, even if those statements seem moot now. I liked that she allowed herself to daydream about faeries and robots and artificial intelligence, while still staying rooted in how technology affects our world on a daily scale. I still like those things about her, but now I view them in a different light.

The only time I’ve seen Grimes live was at Osheaga, the same festival where my friend Rowan and I had panic attacks to Radiohead’s set. Rowan had food poisoning that day, and coincidentally, so did Grimes. She kept ducking behind speakers to vomit in the middle of her songs, apologizing to the crowd for not being as upbeat as she usually would be, despite still running around with seemingly high energy. I think this was the end of her year-plus world tour where she only ate spaghetti and subsequently had health issues. Regardless, it was a really cool show.

Despite her child with evil asshole Elon Musk, I still have a massive crush on c. I see her as kind of a hero of underground talent. She started doing something just to mess around — making beats, experimenting with sounds and songs and recordings, and through that, she became something new. As someone who is constantly frozen by imposter syndrome and self-doubt, I really admire and envy that quality. As young women, we’re often taught to doubt ourselves, our talents, and our abilities. But c seemed to exist outside of those boundaries.

I don’t know if I still consider that to be true. She felt like an authentic emblem of a feminist wave in music. I don’t know if her current politics / boyfriend discount what she meant to me in the past or not. Regardless, I love this album. Give it another listen if you haven’t lately.

[1] I so badly wish that this wasn’t a direct quote, but it is. Full interview is here.

[2] Most of what I have to say about Grimes and Elon Musk is best summarized by another writer, Shaad D’Souza wrote this succinct piece for Vice back in 2018. Read it here.

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Jenna Sylvester

Jenna Sylvester

non-binary writer and gardener. I'm stressed out.