The Rihanna Hit That Wasn't

Track of the Day: Grimes's Game of Thrones-inspired new video
“The look is an anime elf assassin who is a big fan of dolly parton and patsy cline,” writes Grimes of this publicity photo. ( Mac Boucher )

In an alternate universe, Top-40 stations saturated themselves with a new Rihanna track over the summer: It was “Go,” written by Canadian experimental pop songstress Grimes and her frequent collaborator Blood Diamonds. But in our world, Rihanna declined the track, so instead we get Diamonds and Grimes’s own version, in a video a good bit weirder than any Rihanna hit could ever be—explicitly influenced by Dante’s Inferno, Go has its lead singer miming under black lights, planting crimson banners on Sahara-esque dunes, and smoothly gyrating, Salome-like, as the frame splits into harsh rectangles. 

Past Tracks

For a good chunk of last year, Grimes—born Claire Boucher—labelled herself “the Targaryen” on Twitter. A reference to the conquering queen of Game of Thrones fame, she’s at last released the allusive dragons. In "Go," she blends the look of Westeros with practically everything else: She names “x men, metal gear solid, dune” (sic) as specific inspirations.

Grimes is already famous for stewing melanges across style and genre: Pitchfork named her “Oblivionthe half-decade’s best song just last month. But perhaps it’s the tension of “Go” that can teach us about her craft. Boucher could be writing bubbly pop, and she almost does—on Earth-2, after all, Rihanna has a new hit—but at the last moment it becomes angular, ionizing, referential, weird. 

new track button.png
Presented by

Robinson Meyer is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he covers technology.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in Entertainment

Just In