Grimes: She’s a cyborg and that’s okay

Dodo Dayao

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Grimes’ 3rd album has more in common with Mariah Carey than Dave Gahan. Seriously.

NEW FACE OF SYNTH POP. Grimes's recent gig in Manila is telling that Filipinos listen to her kind of music. Photo from the Grimes Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – In all matters synth-pop, seems not all roads lead back to Kraftwerk.

Ghosts of “The Model” do vibrate through “Visiting Statue,” but on “Visions,” Grimes abandons obtuse avant-pop for something more immediate and vulnerable. Her temperament and structures draw tellingly from ’80s bubblegum pop and plastic soul.

SUMMONING HER INNER MARIAH. Grimes’s Claire Boucher. Photo courtesy of Warner Music Philippines

It’s almost disingenuous to say Claire Boucher’s music has an eclectic restlessness given how nearly all modern pop does as well.

But there’s a push-pull between the abstract futurism of her soundscaping and the forthright immediacy of her melodies. It gives her music both a resonance and a catchiness.

CHANNELING LIZ FRASER. Grimes’s first album for 4AD. 'Visions' album cover image courtesy of Warner Music Philippines

It comes as no surprise that she favors Mariah Carey and ABBA over Kate Bush and how well her songs went over during her recent gig in pop-obsessed Manila. 

From the swoony sparkle of “Skin” to the jittery anxieties of Yaz throwback “Nightmusic” to the K-pop club noir of “Symphonia IX (My Wait Is U)” to the sultry throb of “Colour of Moonlight (Antiochius) to the intolerable catchiness of  “Vowels = Space And Time” to the retro-futurist bop of “Genesis,” “Visions” is sheer pop will to power on machineries of joy which may not be unbridled but cascades with its potential ecstasies. 

Watch this video of ‘Genesis’ from the album ‘Visions’:



Dodo Dayao writes, films, paints, programs. He lives in Quezon City and is always working on something.

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