God, everything from Miss Anthropocene looks and sounds so right.
Having already supplied several incredible songs from the record – loosely inspired by “the anthropomorphic goddess of climate change,” lest we forget – including “So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth,” “Violence,” “My Name Is Dark” and “4ÆM,” the 31-year-old (and/or eternal) singer-songwriter-pixie-goth-fairy-punk-robot-forest-sprite-mage returned on Wednesday (February 12) with perhaps her most shocking move of this whole campaign to date: something more acoustic, called “Delete Forever.”
“I mean, the song is pretty…it’s a pretty bummer song,” she explained to Zane Lowe. (Click here for the full interview.)
“I guess it’s kind of about the opioid epidemic, and that kinda thing. I’ve had quite a few friends actually pass away. In particular one friend, when I was like 18, passed away from complications related to opioid addiction. Artists keep dying and stuff so, I wrote this song on the night Lil Peep died ’cause I just got super triggered by that.”
“It’s about losing friends to the opioid crisis and the self-hatred that arises when the grieving process mimics the behaviors that cost your friends their lives,” the press release further clarifies.
The song is indeed a “pretty bummer” song, emphasis on “pretty.” Grimes depressingly resigns to a grim fate across a sad guitar strum and a chugging beat: “Always down, I’m not up / Guess it’s just my rotten luck / To fill my time with permanent gloom / But I can’t see above it / Guess I fucking love it / But oh, I didn’t mean to,” she sings.
“I think when you’re meant to perform pain for other people’s benefit, that’s when shit starts getting really tricky. People expect you to be this level 10 chaos all the time. It’s really hard to maintain level 10 chaos for people. I think it’s why a lot of artists spiral out of control,” she told Zane.
“Lil Peep and Juice WRLD were both artists I really liked. The artists it’s happening to specifically feels…a little too on the nose…people who, in my opinion, were best expressing issues of mental health. So to have them die specifically just feels like a weird hopelessness.”
Compared to the usual ethereal, semi-unintelligible vocals and everything-and-the-intergalactic-kitchen-sink sound of her usual productions, this is shockingly sparse. There’s even a banjo in the mix. (Then again, we should know better than to expect any sort of sound from Grimes, period.)
“It’s funny ’cause the finished product is actually basically almost the demo. This was definitely a situation where I took the song…spent like months trying to make the song…like it needs at least one other guitar, you know…and then like right when we were mixing, I was just like literally, went to the 800 files and just like delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, just killing stems,” she explained of the song’s creation.
“When I was making this song I was trying to be more like, I think I was like, oh, I’m like Patsy Cline or something, like I was trying to be like country or something. But I feel like it ends up having this sort of ‘Wonderwall’ kind of vibe or something. I feel like there’s a reason that song is so popular. Like, that song does rule.”
The accompanying video, created with her brother Mac Boucher and frequent video collaborator Neil Hansen, matches the all-conquering vibe of Miss Anthropocene – “a tyrant’s lament as her empire crumbles,” as the press release describes the visual. The set-up is simple, but effective: Grimes is sat at her throne, sadly surveying the scorched remains of her kingdom.
“I did everything, I did everything…”
As much as she might feel the fantasy of being a shape-shifting, otherworldly fairy-slash-futuristic cyborg or whatever (which don’t get me wrong, I love), there’s something quite captivating about this track; a gentle, melancholy, stripped-down reminder that Grimes is devastatingly human like the rest of us – as is everyone around her, often tragically so.
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