Will Butler’s All-Metaphors Review Of Grimes’ ‘Art Angels’

Written by | November 13, 2015 8:24 am | No Comments


Grimes & Will Butler


Sometimes musicians review other musicians’ albums and I am always curious of the result,.. because they may know each other, like or hate each other’s work… How does a musician appreciate someone’s else art? Is there competition? Envy? Jealousy? or admiration and appreciation?

Arcade Fire’s Will Butler wrote a review of Grimes’ latest effort called ‘Art Angels’ and published it in The TalkHouse. They are both Canadians which explains the connection, plus Will is a good writer of course, but his approach is very metaphorical and I don’t always follow his thoughts:

‘Weirdo music (I use the term broadly) creates its own esoteric world – makes up its own constants to plug into the physics equations that determine whether life ever evolves on the planet.’

Where is he going? Oh I see Will wants to play the role of a biologist, paleontologist looking at the vocabulary he is using… Jurassic, Cretaceous, he wants to find out about the origin of life and study its evolution, but he should be careful because I am one of these biologists/paleontologists.

‘In Art Angels, Grimes is coming, to a large extent, from the world of 2000s pop, but she creates a giant, esoteric, viable world teeming with all sorts of poisonous Jurassic life.

My problem — my personal problem — is that I grew up prejudiced against 2000s pop, and that the atmosphere of the Jurassic period has the wrong ratio of elements for my organism. I’m more Cretaceous,’ writes Will.

I am confused, if he grew up prejudiced against 2000’s pop, it means he prefers older music right? In this case Will should review his geologic periods because the Cretaceous period is actually more recent than the Jurassic period… so it doesn’t make sense, but I know that some Hollywood movies have participated to the confusion. Plus the Cretaceous was the most disastrous period ever, ending in asteroid crashing, abnormal iridium level, unhealthy temperatures, nuclear-level apocalypse… a cataclysmic event which killed most of the species at the surface of the earth? Was your metaphor really appropriate Will?

I have to say he really likes the track ‘Scream’ which he praises for two entire paragraphs, and it’s a good thing because this is also the only track I can stand in the whole album, but during the rest of the time he is trying to excuse himself for not liking the album … ‘I’ve overcome musical prejudices in the past. I couldn’t stand Bob Dylan or Bob Marley’. Sure Will, Grimes may eventually grow on you, except she is not Dylan, Marley or Prince whom he mentions later… during the whole review he tries to divert attention from the main subject to focus on other artists because he has nothing to say about tracks like ‘Belly of the beat’ or ‘World Princess pat II’?

‘I appreciate and admire Art Angels. That sounds lame’… and this is the best he can say of the album. But he loves scientific metaphors, and ends his review with another one:

‘Grimes is a genuine world-builder. She might could make worlds big and convincing enough to change lots of people’s perception of the actual world. It feels cold to stand outside her creation and judge it. It’s like watching the Big Bang from a different dimension — the heat and the particles flying, all future life boiling into itself, the globe of reality expanding. But from my perspective, flattened. Bas relief.’

He obviously put a lot of thought into this review, however this is the easy way out, it’s basically saying ‘Art Angels’ is probably great but I can’t appreciate it because I am from another geological period, another dimension, and even another world? Just say it Will, it’s a trite album and you don’t like it!

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