Grimes - "Flesh Without Blood / Life in the Vivid Dream" (Singles Going Steady)

by PopMatters Staff

30 October 2015

This is bound to be a pop classic for people who don’t particularly care for pop music.
 

Brian Duricy: Few artists have an aesthetic as singular to them as does Grimes. After releasing the allegedly unfinished “REALiTi” earlier in the year, anticipation for her follow-up to the exceptional Visions was high. With “Flesh without Blood / Life in the Vivid Dream”, Grimes’ ingenious genre-spanning songs position Art Angels to be one of the most interesting and engaging releases of the year. [8/10]
  

Paul Duffus: The video physically hurts my tired, jaded Gen. X eyes. It’s essentially a collection of idiots dancing around like idiots in idiot costumes, and the abandon with which they seem to revel in their technicolour stupidity somehow confirms much of what we in our worst moments suspect, deride, and loathe about Millennials.

“Flesh Without Blood” is a thin sugary wash of mainstream pop, which is not completely objectionable when separated from its nightmarish video. “Life in the Vivid Dream” is a slower, forbidding affair reminiscent of Madonna’s “Frozen”, and as such is by far the more interesting of the two tracks. [5/10]

Steve Horowitz: Grimes uses her voice like just another electronic effect. Mixed with the synths, they create a pulsating mess. The anarchy in the repetition becomes the focus. Whether she succeeds in making something valuable is not really clear. This is homemade. Put it in the jar and wait until later to serve music. The two-part video serves Grimes well as it allows her to be everything from a purple haired Marie Antoinette to a Texas cowgirl angel dripping with blood. Not everything has to make sense—the title alludes to a dream and the impossible (flesh without blood). Still, there seems to be less here for the ear than there is for the eye. [6/10]

Dustin Ragucos: Grimes has dabbled in pop several times in the past, and the idea of having an album with differing paints on the musical palette can be something that fares well for her. The first act finds the musician uncontrollably settled in rhythms that Carly Rae Jepsen could call home. “Uncontrollable” is right, considering that this act feels like it’s progressively stacking whirls of fluff. The machine Grimes has operated is broken, but she’s sitting around without a care, and that’s something likeable about the musician. Second act? The one that dove into nothingness? Oh, let’s pretend that there’ll be better takes on this new record. [6/10]

Kevin Korber: In which Grimes tries to cross over. If this is a letdown, it’s only because Grimes has set such a high bar for herself already. As pop, this is immaculate sounding and incredibly catchy, but Grimes’ persona may be a little too weird to pull this off convincingly. As it is, this is bound to be a pop classic for people who don’t particularly care for pop music. [6/10]

John Garratt: “Flesh without Blood”: what a perfect name for such soulless music! Now, can anyone recommend how to treat my burned retinas? Not even my grade school-aged daughters exploit this much hot pink around the house. [3/10]

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