Problématique as she may be – for procreating with Elon Musk, The Richest Man In The World (and frequent asshole on Twitter), and/or beefing with Poppy and Azealia Banks (the feud of our generation, which needs to be resolved with an almighty collaboration eventually) – she still makes great music when she’s not ideating about radical utopia on TikTok.
It’s been a wild ride to be a fan of Grimes over the years, watching the one-time indie darling now navigate life post-“semi-separation” with a billionaire, in this Strange New World of stalkers and conspiracy theorists and “literal geopolitical scandals on CNN.”
Her latest posts complaining about her celebrity are, unfortunately, not exactly garnering a ton of sympathy on social media, but she’s still a human being after all, and there’s no way her life isn’t very scary and strange right now.
It’s also no surprise that Grimes has increasingly turned to gaming and creating avatars and navigating virtual reality over the years for an escape from REALiTi.
“Player of Games” is the first song off of Grimes’ upcoming collection Book 1, and it’s clear – between this song, and her decentralized AI girl group NPC and their cynical EDM banger with Chris Lake, “A Drug From God” – that she’s interested in dancing out the demons with this new cycle of songs.
The track’s got all the makings of a signature Grimes song – dreamy, heavily vocoded melancholy – co-crafted with longtime The Weeknd collaborator, Illangelo, all while striking a nostalgic chord with its Anjunabeats-style progressive trance sound. (Good timing, too, with Ayumi Hamasaki revisiting her trance albums.)
“Baby, how can I compare to the adventure out there? / Sail away to the cold expanse of space / Even love couldn’t keep you in your place,” she laments. I wonder what Space(X)-minded former flame she’s singing about?
“If I loved him any less, I’d make him stay…player of games.”
Grimes never fails when it comes to her futuristic and nerdy visuals, and the accompanying lyric video for “Player of Games” is no exception, directed by Anton Tammi, featuring a naked Grimes clinging to an armored soldier, with a dagger tucked behind her back, just in case. It’s sort of Arcane.
Everything she’s teased from this era thus far sounds like a cool, sad, futuristic transmission from an alien dance floor in outer space (or coded deep somewhere in the metaverse), including “Utopia,” which she introduced during virtual music festival Splendour XR, and the already amazing, Death Note-inspired “Shinigami Eyes,” which frustratingly remains a TikTok snippet, as does the incredible-sounding “100% Tragedy,” which her label apparently doesn’t love.
Much like she did with last year’s Miss Anthropocene, Miss Grimes seems poised to provide us with another incredible body of work in 2022. And, with any luck, no geopolitical scandals.