‘Miss Anthropocene’ places listener in dystopia


Illustration by Lillie Busch.

Grimes’ latest album, “Miss Anthropocene,” plunges listeners into a dystopian future filled with all-powerful A.I. and otherworldly spirits celebrating global warming.

Nearly five years since 2015’s “Art Angels,” Grimes’ latest album helps the listener answer any questions that have since popped up. With Grimes now in a relationship with one of the world’s most prolific billionaires, Elon Musk, many have questioned Grimes’ authenticity. While “Miss Anthropocene” is unsurprisingly vague, cerebral and without straightforward answers, it is apparent that the Grimes on “Visions” is still present on “Miss Anthropocene.”

The artwork and promotion for “Miss Anthropocene” help place the listener in Grimes’ dystopian, A.I.-filled future. She is not present for any artwork, but her team’s computer-generated promotional tool is. This use of technology in album promotion places Grimes ahead of the game, even if it leads to accusatory claims about her connection to Musk. 

“Miss Anthropocene” centrally revolves around Grimes’ love and life all while the earth is crumbling. “So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth” opens the album and has Grimes dealing with the complicated feeling of falling in love and carrying life. Set over ethereal, twinkling production, Grimes delivers lyrics in an almost-whisper about the love she is full of. Though it is unlikely to make listeners fall in love with Musk, “So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth” emits this intense, unending love that Grimes has for both Musk and their unborn child. 

Grimes has always operated outside of societal norms, which makes sense when you hear her addressing serious issues through the lens of sci-fi and the supernatural. “Violence,” featuring i_o, compares humans’ relationship with earth to a physically abusive relationship over a steady, dancefloor-ready pulsing synth. “Violence” is the perfect Grimes song: catchy, rich and saturated with metaphors. 

One of the hardest-hitting tracks on the album is “My Name is Dark,” in which Grimes brings her traditionally wispy, high-pitched vocals over a humming pop-punk beat as she sings lyrics about her mental struggles. “My Name is Dark” has Grimes dealing with manic episodes, wishing for death and hating literally everything she sees on social media. “My Name is Dark” is truly a song for everyone who has scrolled Facebook, seen a post and thought, “no one cares about what you are talking about.”

The dark energy of “My Name is Dark” continues on track “You’ll miss me when I’m not around,” where Grimes’ layered vocals accuse people of not appreciating her when she is still alive and present. This is expected from Grimes, who is regularly taunted on social media over her relationship with Musk as well as her general oddities. “You’ll miss me when I’m not around” brings out a genuine sense of earnestness from Grimes, hopefully bringing the public to the realization that she is a unique talent.

Grimes does not leave the party tracks by the wayside on “Miss Anthropocene,” though. “4ÆM” transitions from an airy intro with Bollywood-inspired production into an intense, bouncing club track with Grimes talk-singing through the chorus. This fun, care-free vibe is not central to the album, but it is still present. Many tracks on “Miss Anthropocene” will probably benefit from a club remix. 

Grimes is an artist like no other. She produces, writes and sings all her own music. Each song continues to feel like a piece of herself. “Miss Anthropocene” proves that Grimes still has plenty to say, whether it be about Lil Peep’s death on “Delete Forever” or polytheism on “New Gods.” Despite everything she’s gone through, it’s clear Grimes still wants her vision on our future world to be heard.