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Grimes is a Dystopian Country Star in Her Video for “California”

Grimes is a versatile talent who wears many hats, and now she can add a ten gallon one to that list. The avant-pop phenom just debuted another frenetic, dystopian-chic music video from her Art Angels album, which ranked among our favorites of the year in 2015, and it features the singer/songwriter/producer/entertainer donning some seriously Dolly Parton-esque country garb.

But this is just one of many costumes Grimes sports in this perfectly strange music video for album-standout, bummer anthem “California.” Whether Claire Boucher is fidget-dancing in front of the Bean in Chicago’s Millennium Park, or strutting with a ribbon inside a Mondrian basketball court, Grimes is constantly shapeshifting. The scenes in which she dances in a sculpture studio are not merely metaphor: we are actively seeing her chisel and buff out her seemingly kalaeidoscopic aesthetics, we are hearing her genre hop—often all at once.

For instance—this mix of “California” is a completely different version of the track that appears on Art Angels. I imagine this icy, radiating version with concentric synths just happened to capture how she was feeling at a specific moment while working on the new video. Maybe a fleeting emotion, or something lasting. Maybe, somehow, both. By giving us consistently different versions of herself, Grimes is actually letting us into her world.

What do you think of the new video? Let us know in the comments below.

Image Credit: 4AD, Grimes


Matt Grosinger is the music editor of Nerdist and wants to spend a day or two inside of Grimes’ intimidatingly strange music video universe. You can follow his errant musings here.

 

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