Grimes - "Venus Fly" feat. Janelle Monáe (Singles Going Steady)

by PopMatters Staff

16 February 2017

As full-on intergalactic goddesses, Grimes and Janelle Monáe echo and spit fire against resounding beats and electric strings.
 

Adriane Pontecorvo: Grimes and Janelle Monáe finally shed their human disguises on “Venus Fly”. As full-on intergalactic goddesses, they echo and spit fire against resounding beats and electric strings. The resulting track is larger than life: furious, fearless, impeccably produced dance music bouncing from the airwaves of a distant and fantastic world. This is marching music for alien armies, explosive and vibrant in such a way that it could only have come from the overflowing creative minds of Grimes and Monáe. Both visually and sonically, they make a perfect pairing, commanding, high-energy, and endlessly innovative. “Venus Fly” might be the best track on Grimes’ fantastic Art Angels, and this sumptuous video is worthy of it. [10/10]
  

Evan Sawdey: Forget the club/dub/wub sounds you once knew: Grimes has decided to contemporize all that for you. Buoyant pop melodies meet rubbery kick drums and a sublime Janelle Monae cameo that practically steals the show. It’s feminist and funky—so who cares what kind of sense the video makes when you got a groove this lively. Throw the money at the screen and let the song do the work, ‘cos rest assured, this song is working harder than anything you’ve heard on the radio this year. [9/10]

Andrew Paschal: The most club-ready track on Art Angels, “Venus Fly” has an idiosyncratic take on the role of a guest feature. Grimes buries Janelle Monáe’s vocals ever so slightly beneath the stomping bass and drums, giving them a dark veneer befitting the song’s defiant obscurity. “Why you looking at me again?” they sing, taunting from the shadows while letting the futuristic dance beats take center stage. Through its steely, firm refusal to be fixed by another’s gaze, the song boldly stakes out its power and sovereignty. The music video, directed by Grimes with contributions from “dark arts assistants” and a “bubbleologist”, is everything we’ve come to expect from Claire Boucher, featuring impeccable X-Men-inspired outfits and of course some angel wings. Taken from an album with any number of highlights, “Venus Fly” is yet another essential cut. [9/10]

Mike Schiller: It doesn’t even matter that the song is over a year old at this point. It doesn’t matter, either, that the video amounts to Grimes and Janelle Monae dressing up in a variety of sci-fi costumes and making faces at the camera in extreme slow-motion for four minutes, with the occasional break to perform the song or flail around in a tub of chocolate. Grimes’ beat kills, Monae has all the energy you would hope she could bring to a track like this, and the result is simultaneously hypnotizing and spontaneous dance-inducing. The bonus is a three-minute credit sequence that appears to prove that “Venus Fly” is just as effective a pop song if you play the 45 on 33. [9/10]

Chris Ingalls: Art pop’s resident oddball joining forces with an intergalactic R&B powerhouse? Sign me up. “Venus Fly” is a match made in heaven, and while it depends more on futuristic synth-pop of Grimes’ ilk than the traditional soul of Janelle Monae, it works as a unique collaboration between two artists known for breaking barriers and making critics and fans swoon. A lovely, layered, sci-fi dancefloor stomper that wisely shifts gears several times during its lengthy run time. [8/10]

John DeLeonardis: “Venus Fly” continues Grimes’ apparent goal of making a video for every song from her incredible Art Angels. This one is as vaguely-cinematic as the rest, even if it is mostly comprised of Grimes and Janelle Monáe having a hell of a lot of fun performing their track. While the core part of the video doesn’t do much to add to the already-high enjoyment of the booming track, the fun is certainly appreciated. The coolest moment occurs during the long credits for the video, where Grimes plays back a slowed-down version of the song. It makes me wish she’d release a full remix of this album with slightly-but-effectively retouched versions like this—maybe she’ll make one of my favorite albums of 2017, now, too. [8/10]

Scott Zuppardo: Dialing in early ‘90s drum ‘n’ bass and house music soirees provide an ample vehicle for Monáe and Grimes’ cherubic vocals. Grimes even rocks a fiddle solo while looking like she fell in the candle wax melting next to me as I type. For a late 30-year-old garage rock, blues, soul, and R&B, country loving punk like me, I will allow that I like this song. [7/10]

SCORE: 8.57

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