I bought tickets to the 2015 Made In America Festival solely to see Kanye
. The line-up looked good, but coming off his massive Yeezus
success I just had to see the man perform again. Obviously I intended to see a bunch of other acts I knew, and threw in a few I didn't. Festivals are a great way to find new musicians to obsess over. Little did I know the best performer I would see that weekend was the magnificent Grimes
From the moment she began performing, I was instantly blown away. This slender green-haired girl appeared extremely shy, yet had so much enthusiasm. As she built loops of beats from two keyboards and danced around in an incredibly goofy way with some backup dancers, I knew I was witnessing something special. The melodies were too infectious and mesmerizing to ignore. I lost all sense of reality and got trapped in her synth-pop cloud. I danced and danced, and when Grimes mentioned she was signed to Jay-Z
's Roc Nation label, I knew she would be a star and soon.
After several album push backs from her follow up to 2012's Visions
, Grimes began to release music to tide her fans over. Releasing
"Go", a song meant for her friend Rihanna
, the song showed how immensely far her songwriting talent had progressed. Then the other day, Grimes released "REALiTi", which I confidently say is easily the best song of 2015.
It's hard to believe the new song is just an unfinished demo. "REALiTi" checks off all the normal Grimes aesthetics. The beautiful synths, sultry voice, hard to understand lyrics, and gorgeous melodies are all there, but it still feels so fresh. The sad girl image seems prevalent but the music is still so happy. It makes you want to dance, sing, laugh, and cry all at once. Singing "every morning there are mountains to climb/Taking all my time away/Like, get up, this is what I see/Welcome to reality," I can't help but feel the exact same sentiment. Her music feels familiar and inviting, bringing the listener on pleasant or uncomfortable, but always necessary, emotional journeys.
Grimes is a master of mustering up emotions that we may not want to face, but definitely need to. Her ability to evoke such moods in listeners is unparalleled by many, except fellow Canadian Drake
. While both artists are definitely in love with synthesizers and moodiness, Drake has always catered to the mainstream, releasing multiple songs of familiar content and flow whereas Grimes has been keen on not over-saturating her art.
Both artists are changing the emotionally open landscape and vulnerability of music in different ways and could definitely learn from each other. Maybe Drake should slow down and focus on making more art than content, and maybe Grimes should be less of a perfectionist and release more music to the masses. A collaboration could be in order soon, but knowing Grimes who appears way more DIY than the crowd pleasing Drake, don't expect it to happen anytime soon.
Check out the video for the masterpiece "REALiTi" below and expect a new Grimes album this year.