Grimes' "Genesis" Is a Post-Burning Man Freak Show, and Maybe the Weirdest Video of the Year
We wanted to like this. It's on 4AD for chrissakes. The same 4AD that gave us some of the greatest alternative music of the last century. Pixies! Throwing Muses! Cocteau Twins! Belly! The The! What's not to love? And the current roster ain't to be sniffed at either, what with the Mark Lanegan Band, Iron & Wine, The National, and David Byrne & St. Vincent all calling 4AD home. What we're saying is, we usually trust 4AD Records implicitly. But, put simply, Grimes' "Genesis" makes balls all sense to us. Take a listen -- please though, for the sake of objectivity, close your eyes after you click play, because the video makes this whole thing about fifty times worse.
Okay, so it starts with a Middle Eastern vibe, then shimmers its way into an outtake from Madonna's Like A Virgin album and then the vocals come in and it goes all... Clannad. Like Enya and shit. But that doesn't last long either, because then it just turns into the kind of thing that sounds like little girls chanting on the playground while they jump rope. Then there's a weird Asian vibe. Then a piano comes in and the bizarre mumbled vocal stylings wibbling over the top remind us of that noise you hear coming from the back of the Muni after school just got out. You know. That thing where three teenage girls are listening to a song on one of their tinny-ass phones and trying to sing along even though they don't know the words. It's unnerving. Frankly, by the end of this babbled nonsense, we can't help but feel the only good use for "Genesis" is on the soundtrack of a horror movie featuring a psychotic pre-teen. Creepy, creepy, creepy.
Okay, now we want you to go back and actually watch the video this time. We would suggest not doing so while eating or drinking, however, for you are about to laugh your ass off. Grimes' Wikipedia page lists her, in addition to being a "singer-songwriter," as a "visual artist" and "music video director." Really? Because this thing looks like what happens when intoxicated people are too proud of their outfits at Burning Man and decide to capture the moment by turning a video recorder on and trying to look "artsy." It's screams amateur from the get-go.
Haphazard rave dancing -- wait, actually: is that even dancing? It's mostly just arms waving at random -- in front of some headlights in the desert looks neither exotic nor sexy here. Instead, Grimes kind of just looks like a crazy person. Which is an appropriate place to start, because everyone in this video looks like a mental patient. Braid lady looks pretty stupid in the ocean, then she picks up a sword and looks even more ridiculous. Then, just as we think it can't get any worse, she puts on a "sexy robot" suit and parades up the street pulling sex faces, even though she's wearing white Spice Girls boots, which are attractive foot attire on literally no one. Shoot to Grimes in the back of a car, dressed like a 12-year-old, holding a massive snake. Okaaay.
It is at this point that shit goes from mildly confusing to completely hilarious. Here's a summary of everything: There's a limo party with bubbles, robot psycho showing us her fake nails before performing some kind of tantrum dance ritual, then there's a group shot of six people all dressed for a different costume party. (Is that 1993 Courtney Love, second from the right?) Then everyone goes on the most miserable camping outing ever, plays with some medieval torture instruments, does some backflips, and the snake makes an escape attempt. (Who can blame the poor creature?)
Honestly, this whole thing is almost worth it just to see what happens when Grimes dances with her mean-faced robot mate in the desert around 2.52 minutes in. Absolutely priceless. If only there were five and a half full minutes of just that on its own -- comedy gold.
In short, the song's awful and the video is enormously embarrassing. We can only hope that future generations never find this and think we all ran around trying this hard and ultimately failed to this degree. Mostly though, we're just going to pretend that 4AD is not responsible for any of this nonsense.
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