A Semi-obvious Interpretation of Grimes’ ‘Art Angels’ And How It Translates to Dating in Your Late Twenties

When Grimes released her fourth album, Art Angels, last year, I don’t think this was her intention:

A grown up girl who, after being dumped via text message, survived solely by listening to “California”, “Laughing and Not Being Normal” and “Scream” non-fucking-stop.

To be honest, though, the fact that I got dumped via text message didn’t bother me at all. I’d rather know this very second that you don’t want to be with me anymore vs. stringing it out over the days it takes for a meetup to be convenient for you. Still, as part of the modern dating world which includes speaking through text, finding someone else at the drop of a swipe, and g h o s t i n g, I was and am disposable.

What Art Angels did for me during this time was remind me that I may be disposable within the context of sex and relationships in 2016, but that outside of that bubble — wherein lies a career, independence, sushi, and life in general — I am nothing but indispensable.

This album review could take on many forms. It could be about sexism in the music industry (probably the most parallel to what Grimes intended of it), feminism (in some ways, it is about equality), self-production, or lyricism, or Grimes herself. My review of this album, though, is simply how it speaks to dating in the modern age, more specifically, to one of my own relationships within this age, and its ultimate demise.

I once posted on my Facebook that listening to Grimes is like having your best friend beside you at all times, whispering in your ear not to take shit from anyone.

grimes (whispering): “don’t take anyone’s shit, jackie, don’t do it.”

With Art Angels specifically, I feel like a lot of the phrases could have been taken from a diary during this post-break-up Twilight Zone, if I had kept one. It’s more than just words in a notebook though, it’s as if the words in the notebook pop-out (like those construction paper cards you used to have to make for people in the old folk’s home during the holiday season, or, you know, The Babadook) yelling in someone’s face about how mad and sad I was at the way this relationship ended, and how I acted during its short lifespan.

We can’t ignore that AA definitely shares similarities to K-Pop, the sweetness of early ’00s Mandy Moore, the genuineness of Regina Spektor, and the longevity of Gwen Stefani. It’s within these genres and through these artists that you can get pissed off, feel happy at remembering good times, get totally sad, and build yourself up again after being dumped — and that’s exactly what Grimes has done for me.


“laughing and not being normal”

You know that moment when you think you’re playing things super cool in a relationship, so you text the guy and casually decide not to care when he doesn’t text you back for hours? But then, suddenly, he does, and your keeping it cool is totally lost. You’re excited and happy that he’s done it, and fucking mad because you care that he did.

And who doesn’t have a weird side that you like exposing to people you hardly know because, honestly, you want to see how they’ll react, and also because you shouldn’t have to be scared to just be yourself? Please pardon this insanely overused and cheeseball quote, but, Marilyn Monroe was right when she said, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best”, and if you can’t handle a little farting now then, well, then you won’t get to see me when I get my cat-eye right. But then, you let it out, and you have a flash of regret for one second because you can see they did not like that one bit. Also, just want to point out to the person who dumped me, that farting is totally not weird and is completely natural, you fuck.

“california”

This whole concept of music becoming the soundtrack to a life moment is nothing new, and “California” is one of those songs that actually represents how I was feeling about this situation. The beat has moxie, and it exists to remind you of you are: an individual, who is hilarious, and amazing, smart, ridiculous, and outspoken — not a doormat who gets giddy when you see a reply to a text message.

Also:

  1. They like you for all the wrong reasons

2. You start liking them too much and think they like you back and then they don’t.

3. But it’s worth it if you think it’s worth it.

4. You feel like it would just be easier to die or something, then you remember that scene in The Holiday where Kate Winslet sticks her face in the gas burner when Jasper doesn’t love her back, then she comes to her senses and slaps herself in the face because WTF.

5. I thought you liked me.

6. I also thought I was old enough to not have to go through this again.

“SCREAM”

You have absolutely no idea what you are feeling and you just want to fucking freak out until you feel better. These are those things that you feel that actually scare you.

verse 1
The screams that are buried in the lungs
Buried in the bones and the muscles
Unexploded, undeniable
Cram into a sickness
What used to be dry is now sodden
Swollen, meaty, moist and juicy
My teeth are bouncing off it
A woman pulls out the headful of black hair with her bare hands
Walks along the mountain ridges in a dream
Remembrance swarms like mosquitos
Opening up the unfocused eyes
As if… Quick, spread the legs without desire wide
I take a bite, are you still unmoved
You can scream out
Tracing along your spine
My fingers created a cold lake
I look around, no one is guarding
The exhibitionist takes out his coat and jumps into it with tears on his face
verse 2
I planned to record your scream as you reached orgasm
But then realize that I’ve pressed the wrong button
The moment has been lost, irretrievable
You lie there
Struggling with the body fluid that is getting cold
Sticky, transparent, elastic flowers in my palm
I’m not satisfied; I want to squeeze more out of your body
The telephone rings at this moment
A herd of deer run past the window and at the same time
Blue winds are dispelled so quickly, wiping out the foams on the margin of the world
Escaping from your half-opened eyes
Picking up the phone, silence comes
The desire just awoken breathes and screams in the receiver
As I listen I lick away every drop of your sweat
hook
If you can’t scream then swallow it down

via Grimes on Tumblr

“flesh without blood”

WHEN YOU KNOW IT’S OVER BUT (UGH) YOU CANT HELP YOURSELF.

The Doll: Your friends text you all the red flags about him but you don’t really see it.

THEN he breaks it off and just you don’t know and it doesn’t make sense and you think he’ll regret it. Tame Impala suddenly sneaks into your brain: HES JUST A MAN, WOMAN.

NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY to make it OK it’s not.

So you just stop caring and realize that maybe, he actually kinda sucked.

…because it’s the only thing that makes sense…

AT THAT POINT YOU JUST ASK FOR THEM TO END IT.

YOU GO THROUGH THESE MOTIONS AND YOU THINK THAT’S A RELATIONSHIP OF SOME KIND AND THAT IT’S NORMAL FOR YOU AND THEN THEY BREAK THE FORMULA AND YOU DON’T FUCKING GET IT AT ALL.

“belly of the beat”

During the aftermath you get together with your friends to talk it through.

Good for him, he actually never did get sick. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE WE DATED IN WINTER.

“Nothing’s broke. Maybe a little bruised” — Jennifer Aniston in her interview with Vanity Fair after break-up with Brad Pitt. (Another pop culture artifact that is a must-read after a breakup).

“kill vs maim”

To me this song is about the power guys can have over girls and how frustrating that can be.

…How he talks to his friends about you when you’re not there…

“art angels”

Just a bunch of girls who go with the flow and think they won’t get hurt and then BAM HE TEXTS YOU THAT IT’S OVER

For some reason you just wanted to make him happy. Then he offers the same to you, and for a second you feel actually happy.

Toward the end, your attraction to them just doesn’t cut it anymore, and you’d honestly rather be out with your friends.

“easily”

texting back and forth makes it easy to fall for each other. you come from here and I come from there.

how could you not like me? i guess you don’t want someone with a mind and a sense of humor.

i am thinking back to when this happened before with a different guy, he called me again after two years, maybe you will too.

on a thursday we make plans to hang out and on saturday you’re done.

“pin”

you can go have sex with anyone you want, but what do you really want?

this makes me crazy.

I want to fall hard with you but you don’t want it back.

it was just normal human feelings.

i like how ur not thinking about this at all, how does that feel????

THINGS DON’T REALLY GO AWAY UNTIL YOU LEARN FROM THEM.

“reality”

At first I wanted to do this with you but now this is too much work. It’s just not working. You don’t want to text me all day, or ever, apparently.

“world princess part two”

An open letter to you, idiot: I have my own shit going on but I wanted you to care about it and you just don’t. thanks a lot. you said a lot of things to me that were so inappropriate and hurt my feelings. I fell way harder for you than you did for me but one day you’re going to REGERT it and …I won’t be able to help you. Now I’m the one who gets to feel powerful, but I wont abuse it. You’re tying to call me out about things, but it’s too late I am on the other side.

I know how it feels to be there, when you make yourself crazy over nothing. No text must mean he doesn’t like you anymore.

“venus fly”

How would things pan out if I looked exactly like your ex? I am afraid when you meet my friends you will like them better than me, they’re all really pretty.

“life in a vivid dream”

This is what I am going to tell my little sisters when they grow up and need advice from me about boys.

“butterfly”

It’s finally over. You go let loose and do whatever. You just wanna dance with someone, but BEWARE, SOMEONE: it doesn’t mean anything…I am not what you think I am and I have been through a lot.

Someday soon, I will be okay.

“There is harmony in everything.”