“Miss Anthropocene” mirrors the pace of one’s thoughts at 4 a.m. The first track on the album, “So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth,” feels like a whirlwind of energy and other misplaced emotions. The artist taps into her misery as she sings about being weighed down from hopeless love. From the moment the album starts, it’s already clear that “Miss Anthropocene” is a dark and mysterious masterpiece. It grants a glimpse into Grimes’ vision of the future, a realm ruled by robotic beings, a place where “we don’t move our bodies anymore” in the midst of cybernetic entanglement. Most importantly, it is a place where natural life cannot bloom due to our destructive ravaging of Mother Earth.
For all its heady ideas and vibrant experimentation, the vibe of the album stays pretty static with the exception of a few features on behalf of i_o and Pan. With this project, it seems Grimes has taken a lot of inspiration from the world of pop music, a notion that’s most evident in the track “Delete Forever.” Familiar beat patterns and bass rhythms take you back to your childhood, reviving the sounds of the early 2000s with injections of distortion that make you reconsider how pop music is to be consumed.
Despite feeling out of place, “Delete Forever” is an impressive reflection on drug use and the vices that dominate the lives of young adults who are grappling to find purpose in their lives. If anything, Grimes’ ability to fluctuate between so many random ideas while maintaining a sonic unity is what’s so impressive about “Miss Anthropocene.” It’s Grimes’ most ambitious project to date and it works beautifully.
Focusing on the theme of Mother Nature plummeting down the list of society’s priorities, Grimes shines a light on the egotistical nature of man unconsciously falling by his own hand. Tackling humanity’s ever-present greed, “Miss Anthropocene” forces you to lay back and reflect on just how transient life can feel in the wake of climate change’s impending doom.
Perhaps, a call to action on the climate crisis is not expected from this album’s misanthropic stance. But, as with her other albums, the music is grounded in Grimes’ experience as an artist moving through spaces where there are often no rules. This is a credo that’s best summarized when Grimes sings, “If you don’t bleed then you don’t die” on “You’ll miss me when I’m not around.”
The album is a perfect vessel for Grimes to continue to sport her classic gothic swagger under the veil of electrobeats. The final product plays like the love-child of electronic chaos and dishevelment — a fitting sound for the Canadian artist.
“Before the fever,” the album’s second to last song, acts as a poetic final cry for our own survival in a tumultuous world where everything seems as though it will eventually be consumed by an impending fire. By the end, “Miss Anthropocene” sounds like Grimes releasing all of her stress about the impending oblivion induced by climate change and the vile uncertainty that defines the human experience.
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