Track of the Day: 'Flesh Without Blood'

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

The last thing I listened to on Rdio (RIP) on a run yesterday was Grimes’s new album, “Art Angels.” From Hazel Cills’s recent review:

This year’s proven to be a good time for long-awaited comebacks. Sleater-Kinney hath returned, Joanna Newsom’s thrown her harp back into the ring, and Adele’s now knocking on your door with “Hello”. Meanwhile, fans are ready to bust down Rihanna and Frank Ocean’s doors for new albums. And Claire Boucher [of Grimes] too has been taking her sweet time to release her fourth record.

Last fall, she revealed that she scrapped her already highly-awaited follow-up to Visions because "it sucked." Then earlier this year she fed her fans one salvaged piece of the thrown-away project, the addictive "REALiTi", which was labeled a demo but sounds near-perfect. Somehow, it just made all the waiting worse. This is the sort of music Grimes was throwing away?

But “Flesh without Blood”, the first taste of her forthcoming album Art Angels, is here to stay. “You claw, you fight, you loo-oo-se,” she begins the four-minute track, a blow-out pop song. Running underneath the track’s punchy, metallic drums reminiscent of those on Visions is something new for Boucher: a pop-punk evoking guitar riff. Perhaps this is her take on "bro art," the loose term she’s used to describe the music that inspired Art Angels. But if there is anything bro-y about "Flesh without Blood", released with a video set in California’s kitsch hotel Madonna Inn, it’s that it has serious swagger as the album’s introduction.

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