Visions by Grimes: A Ten Year Retrospective

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By Alex La Loggia

     The tales surrounding the third album by Canadian electronic art-pop Grimes are almost as knownas the haunting album itself. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the groundbreaking project, and stillI read the repeated story of the album whenever “Oblivion” is featured in a TikTok. Today’s internet isno stranger to Claire Boucher – whether through her relationship with Tesla CEO Elon Musk or hersemi-mainstream status. But a decade ago, she was an internet figure essentially existing in minor musicsharing communities. This changed when Grimes set out on her most ambitious (and potentiallydamaging) project to date. She locked herself in a dark room for weeks, armed with her iPad andkeyboard, and created Visions.     Visions is less of an album than it is a cosmic story. Fitting, coming from a creator who has beencompared to aliens, angels, and robots alike. Despite this, the album is one of the most human I’velistened to, though it can feel strangely distant – like a recollection of earthly emotion from anextraterrestrial being. Each track is soaked with love, fear, and contemplation of physical (or non-physical)existence, and longing – for other people or for a home. Backing these tracks is a steady stream of synthsand manipulated echoes. Perhaps most striking is Claire’s voice – her high-pitched yet soft tone is layeredand emotional on one track and synthetic on the next.     On my favorite track, “Skin”, Claire utilizes these gentle yet chilling vocals. She asks a lost loverto come back “so I know I can be human once again”. There’s more soft repetition, and lyrics proclaiming aloss of sight and emotion. It feels like someone fearing a loss of physical and emotional humanity andlonging for the confirmation that can only be brought by others. I first listened to Grimes at the beginningof the pandemic, and this song and album resonated with the loneliness I was feeling from isolation.Today, I have the same love for her music. Visionsstill feels as fresh and genre-bending as it wasten years ago. Grimes is set to release a new album soon, and perhaps this unique genius can once againoffer us something that defines a decade of electronic pop.