Artists Of The Year CMU Approved

Approved 2015: Grimes

By | Published on Friday 18 December 2015


Every day this week in the CMU Approved slot, we’ve been looking at one of our five favourite artists of 2015. Concluding our list, it’s Grimes…

When you’re waiting for an artist to follow up a critically successful album, there are a few markers that all might not be well in the studio. For example, taking a lot longer than expected, scrapping months’ worth of work, suddenly gaining access to limitless resources when being lo-fi has always been a key attraction, and seeming attempts to attract a more mainstream audience. All boxes checked by Grimes as she worked on the follow up to 2012’s ‘Visions’.

It was in January 2014 that she first announced that her fourth album was pencilled in for a 9 Sep release. Then, after that date slipped, she said in an interview that she’d binned all of her work so far because it “sucked”. There was also speculation that the trashed music had been more in the vein of ‘Go’, a song written for and rejected by Rihanna (although she has since said that this was not the case).

Meanwhile, prior to all of this, back in 2013, Grimes had signed a new management deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, presumably opening up more funds and resources than before. Basically, it was not looking good. Yet, once that new record was finally finished, she still managed to deliver one of 2015’s best albums with ‘Art Angels’.

Like all of the artists in our Approved 2015 list (I have just realised), the key words for ‘Art Angels’ are ‘experimental’ and ‘accessible’. It is clearly not an album recorded alone in a bedroom, like her previous efforts, and it’s one that more wholeheartedly throws itself into pop. But Grimes maintains the idiosyncrasies that made her interesting in the first place amongst all of this. It’s a difficult balance, with the quirks sometimes at risk of derailing the accessibility of the album (and vice versa), but she holds it together in a way that makes the journey all the more exiting.

Listen to ‘Flesh Without Blood’ and ‘Scream’ here:

Also, you check out a Spotify playlist featuring (almost) all of the tracks featured in the CMU Approved column in 2015 here: