Grimes has released a vibrant new record that apparently won’t be featured on her upcoming album. “Pretty Dark,” despite what its name suggests, is pretty light. She’s also released an accompanying video of her singing the record as swirling computer graphics filter around her. What an…odd way to start the morning. But in this case, odd is good!
“Pretty Dark” sounds like Grimes had her fill of helium gas before recording it. This bubbly record mixes elements of techno and dream pop to create an absolutely otherworldly presence, one where creatures designed by Takashi Murakami prance in eternal green pastures. Grimes’ voice is the rain that wets these fields, its misty nature bringing thick blankets of fog whenever her voice meets the down thump of bass drums. There’s an immersive quality in the tune that becomes clear when you’re jolted back to reality after it ends.
The accompanying video is equal parts selfie footage and good ol’ Grimes’ eccentricity. It’s never as simple as a front-facing singing clip with her, so watching it evolve over time continuously yields new results. The backdrop to her selfie video is initially a pond but over time it evolves into vines, dark water, and rippling pools of psychedelic graphics. Eventually, some gigantic diamonds and a Wonder Woman-like tiara are grafted onto her face. At the end, the production value increases tremendously. We see a mysterious body of water illuminated in purple and red hues while people stand inside of it. It’s a brief image, but an indicator of the otherworldly vibe that the song brings. This is the world that we imagine when listening to this otherworldly record.
In the description for the video, Grimes revealed exactly where the song comes from since it’s not from her long-awaited, oft-delayed album. “This is from an AR musical I’m working on,” she wrote. She also revealed that the song and video were made on Wednesday. That’s a super quick turnaround. She also wrote that she’s finishing her album and will start casually releasing music that’s she worked on. Her last release before this one was the robotic, HANA-assisted “We Appreciate Power” that dropped in November. Grimes’ last full-length LP was 2015’s Art Angels.