Grimes aka Claire Boucher, who hails from Vancouver, crafted a unique brand of gothic, electronic, and dance music. She released two albums, Geidi Primes and Halifaxa back in 2010 that were available for free online. However, Grimes didn’t start making head waves until 2012 when she released her third album Visions. The album skyrocketed her musical career. It brought positive reviews and received several accolades, even being mentioned for best album of the year. This is high praise for an up and comer, and Visions almost delivered the hype it attracted.
The first thing the listener will notice with this album will be Grimes’s voice. It’s very delicate and provides almost as much instrumentals as the musical equipment she uses. At times, her vocals are soothing, but then she switches from softness to a yell that is almost childlike. It is very entertaining when she can pull it off. Yet, there are moments where her vocals get jumbled. A good example in her vocals would be from the track “Space and Time.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good song. I was actually pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. However, it sounds like Grimes was going out of her vocal range, almost like she was stressing her voice with her wails.
The beats on this track are stellar. Her two hit singles “Genesis” and “Oblivion” come to mind. These songs are, without a doubt, two of the catchiest songs to come out of music in a long time. It’s easy to get lost in the melodies of the beats and piano. Without even realizing it, the listener could start dancing to the alluring tunes. It’s very retro with a dance, pop feel to it that mixes various themes into these songs. However, after these two songs the album gets a little shaky.
Most of these songs rely on a piano or a drumbeat in every track, and they become very hit or miss. Some tracks such as “Skin” really pulls it off sounding melodic and innocent. The song feels very layered with all of the instruments and comes off well. But then a song like “Colour of Moonlight,” that at first listen, sounds pretty good. After giving it a couple of more listens, it becomes obvious that the hooks are repetitive. It’s upsetting to say, but some of these tracks felt rushed. Some songs had good intentions, but just swiftly end right before the two-minute mark. Grimes seems to have relied a lot on the hooks in her songs and that’s where one of the major flaws comes in.
Some of the hooks feel identical that I could’ve sworn I was listening to the same song. They would just repeat over and over again. For instance, the synthesizers in Visions, at times, sounded poor. One song in particular, “Night Music,” felt like she was pushing the same few notes on her keyboard over and over again. These songs that have the repetitive synthesizers feel bland. The same could be said with her lyrics. Just like the synthesizers, her voice will wail on, repeating in not only songs, but aspects of the whole album. These flaws comes off a bit trivial and could be easily overlooked. But it is upsetting, considering how talented and creative she can be. These flaws probably have to do with the fact that Grimes wasn’t musically trained. Everything she has produced, she’s done on her own. It’s very admirable and it’s definitely an achievement, however it reveals some big holes in her music. If there were a few more drum samples or a bit more vocals, it would’ve definitely added more color to the album.
Visions displays a distinctive album for this young artist who is still developing her skills. What’s great with Grimes is that she has a lot of potential and limitless possibilities in her future. There is a beauty in her work, but there is room for improvement. Though I was expecting more from this album, Grimes still delivered an LP that is catchy and satisfying.