Art Angels by Grimes might be one of the most infectious pieces of pop music I’ve ever heard. It is extremely fun, right from the start, but fades a bit by the finish. Fans of Grimes will find a lot to love here, and I would argue most others could find a song or two to love. Looking at the anime styling of the album I fully expected an album with some heavy J-Pop influences. It could be confirmation bias, but I could certainly imagine Grimes channeling J-Pop in this release. It is a great collection of Pop tunes that are hard not to love.
I first encountered Grimes with her 3rd release, Visions. While I do enjoy the album, and find myself coming back to it every so-often, I don’t find any part of it particularly memorable. Many people likely disagree, as I know the album is adored on many of the music blogs I frequent. Visions was enough to convince me to pick up her first two albums, which are a bit less Pop and bit more Electronic. Her second album Halfaxa is quite similar to Visions but not nearly as good, and her first Geidi Primes is far more electronic, but far less memorable still. I wanted so badly to love her discography, particularly Geidi Primes (due to it being themed around Frank Herbert‘s Dune), but still I find that I don’t really enjoy her first two albums and Visions can only occasionally hold my interest. With her 4th release, Grimes has finally made the album I always hoped she would. Art Angels strays further from her original style and progresses deeper into the Pop realm, but I feel it is her best album from start to finish. It keeps a lot of quirky charms but presents them in a much more endearing package.
“California” – At first listen, I though “California” might be the best and most memorable Grimes song I’d ever heard. It establishes the Poppiness of Art Angels without venturing too deeply into Grimes strangeness. It was the first track to catch my attention only because it is the first great track on the album.
“Flesh Without Blood” – Let me just say, everything on this album exudes Pop, so I’ll stop pointing it out. “Flesh Without Blood” is the first single and probably the most generic Pop single on the album. Grimes proves with this track that she is fully capable of producing fantastic main stream pop.
“Kill V. Maim” – I really wanted to not like this track, due to how strange it can be. “Kill V. Maim” is far too addictive. It might be my favorite track on the album. I genuinely struggle with every listen to not dance along.
“Easily” – This track starts off with a fresh new sound. It comes as a breath of fresh air on fairly lengthy pop album. It is a bit softer, but still quite fun. It diversifies the album a bit and makes Art Angels even more memorable.
“REALiTi” – Originally “REALiTi” was planned for Grimes 4th album which was eventually scrapped. The track was still released in its demo form and many fans were disappointed to see it was not included on the original Art Angels track listing. Eventaully, Grimes caved and included it. It is a good thing she did as it is one of the best tracks on the album. It is a bit more electronic and sounds like a callback to Visions but for me it is more memorable.
Overall, Art Angels is a great album that everyone should check out. It slows a bit at the finish, but you will likely be built up so much by the earlier tracks that you won’t notice. The album is interspersed with some great Pop tracks, but still features far too much “filler” in my opinion. While I would likely give her first two albums 2 or 3 stars, and Visions a 3 or low 4, I find Art Angels to be a vast improvement. I give it a strong 4 out of 5 stars.