Vancouver Grimes has dropped a sinister new single. Grimes has been teasing an upcoming fourth album for a few years now, and 2019 has her finally releasing music at a steady clip — "My Name is Dark" marks the fifth track she's unveiled this year. For those fans hooked by the sparkling, upbeat sound of her previous album, Art Angels, the tone of this year's releases might come as a surprise. They're markedly moodier and fatalistic, and "My Name is Dark" is no exception.
The track is written from the perspective of an apocalyptic demon reveling in the end of humanity — Grimes describes her as "the Voldemort of climate change." It's at once a celebration of a fantastical dark realm that has had a consistent place in Grimes' work and a creative condemnation of our dangerous demand for excess. Grimes has expressed disappointment with the way Art Angels was interpreted as a pop album, referring to it as a "piece of crap" and a "stain on [her] life." In some ways "My Name is Dark" feels like a contrarian reaction to this reception, but there's still quite a bit of the old Grimes in the track. After a couple listens, you can hear the way she's rolled her past projects into this one.
It's nostalgic for the darker styles in albums Visions and Halfaxa. It's contrasting but complementary to Art Angels, a photographic negative of the eponymous track "Art Angels." On that song, she sang to a "darling girl," pronouncing triumphantly, "I don't need your medicine." This theme is inverted on "My Name is Dark," where she snarls at a "stupid girl" and declares "I don't need to sleep anymore/That's what the drugs are for." Ambient noise and pulsing feedback create a cavernous backdrop that's quite opposite to the crisp, chiming tones of "Art Angels."
Grimes' upcoming album Miss Anthropocene may not have the universal appeal that Art Angels managed, but it will undoubtedly sustain the creative storytelling and immersive instrumentals that make her such a compelling artist.