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Discography
DiscographyNav Visions1 DiscographyNav AA2
Cover ArtAngels
Released November 6, 2015
Format CD • LP • digital download • cassette • vinyl
Length 49:37
Genre(s) Art pop • synthpop • dance
Writer(s) GrimesAristophanesJanelle Monáe
Producer(s) Grimes
Label(s) 4AD

Art Angels is the fourth solo studio album by Canadian singer, songwriter and producer Grimes, released digitally on November 6, 2015 via 4AD and in physical formats on December 11 the same year.

Art Angels has been described as being more accessible than Grimes' previous albums, while retaining her experimental influences. The album features guest vocals from Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes and American recording artist Janelle Monáe. Two singles, Flesh without Blood and SCREAM, were released ahead of the album and a single double feature music video was made for the tracks Flesh without Blood and Life in the Vivid Dream. Art Angels sold 11,000 copies in the first week of its release and became Grimes' highest charting album at the time. The album was released to widespread critical acclaim and was ranked by several publications as one of the best albums of 2015, making the top 3 several times.

Background

Boucher began planning the record in 2013 as the follow-up to Grimes' third solo studio album Visions, however she scrapped most of the material from those sessions and began a new set of recordings in 2014. The track REALiTi, which came from the earlier recordings, was released as a demo in early 2015, and Grimes made a decision to include a reworked and finished version in Art Angels due to critical acclaim and overall positive reception of the song.

Grimes' constant touring in 2013 for her 2012 album, Visions, almost led to a physical collapse by the end of the year, bringing her to a point where she recalled "putting a hand up and grabbing a piece of [her] hair, and [she] could just pull [her] hair out". She also became tired of how the music industry ignored her technical abilities, and would focus on her being a "female musician" and having a "girly voice"; she responded to these generalisations with "yeah, but I'm a producer and I spend all day looking at f***ing graphs and EQs and doing really technical work"[1].

Recording process

Grimes wrote, recorded, produced and engineered all of the tracks on the album alone after having a lack of control over production while collaborating with other artists. She began using Ableton after recording Visions entirely in GarageBand and also learned how to play the guitar, drums, keys, ukulele, and violin to explore new musical directions on Art Angels. Realizing it was "too much pressure" to pay per hour to work in a professional studio, the album was recorded by Boucher in her home studio in Los Angeles, California[2].

Tracklist

Art Angels
No. TitleWriter(s)Producer(s) Length
1. "laughing and not being normal"  GrimesGrimes 1:47
2. "California"  GrimesGrimes 3:18
3. "SCREAM ft. Aristophanes"  AristophanesGrimes 2:20
4. "Flesh without Blood"  GrimesGrimes 4:24
5. "Belly of the Beat"  GrimesGrimes 3:25
6. "Kill V. Maim"  GrimesGrimes 4:06
7. "Artangels"  GrimesGrimes 4:07
8. "Easily"  GrimesGrimes 3:03
9. "Pin"  GrimesGrimes 3:32
10. "Realiti"  GrimesGrimes 5:06
11. "World Princess part II"  GrimesGrimes 5:05
12. "Venus Fly ft. Janelle Monáe"  Grimes • Janelle MonáeGrimes 3:45
13. "Life in the Vivid Dream"  GrimesGrimes 1:27
14. "Butterfly"  GrimesGrimes 4:12
Total length:
TBA

CD version bonus track


Art Angels — CD version (bonus track)
No. TitleWriter(s)Producer(s) Length
15. "REALiTi (Demo)"  GrimesGrimes 4:27
Total length:
TBA

Japanese version bonus track


Art Angels — Japanese version (bonus track)
No. TitleWriter(s)Producer(s) Length
16. "Go (Blood Diamonds Remix)"  GrimesGrimes 3:23
Total length:
TBA

Promotion

On March 8, 2015, Grimes released a music video for the demo version of her song REALiTi as a gift to her fans. REALiTi was produced during the scrapped recording sessions for Art Angels and not intended to be included on the final version of her solo fourth album. Boucher stated that the demo version which she released was "not mixed or mastered" as she had "lost the [song's] Ableton file". Despite Boucher regarding the demo as "a bit of a mess", REALiTi was well received by critics and fans, which led her to consider including a new version of the song on the final release of Art Angels[3]. When the track listing for Art Angels was announced, a new version of the song appeared on the digital release and the demo version was included as a bonus track in the CD version only[4].

Grimes shared the title and cover artwork for Art Angels on social media networks on October 19, 2015 and announced that a new music video would be released the following week[5]. On October 26, 2015, Grimes revealed that her new album would be available digitally on November 6, 2015, with releases in physical formats on December 11 in the same year. To accompany the announcement, Grimes released her Flesh without Blood/Life in the Vivid Dream music video, a digital single for Flesh without Blood and individual artwork for each track on Art Angels[6]. SCREAM was released as the second single from Art Angels on October 29, 2015. Kill V. Maim was released as a promotional single on January 19, 2016 with a music video[7]. California followed, with the release of a music video later in May 2016[8]. On October 5, 2016, Grimes and her friend and singer HANA released 7 videos the same day called ''AC!D Reign Chronicles''[9][10]. The film includes Grimes' ''Butterfly'[11], ''Belly of the Beat''[12], ''World Princess Pt. II''[13], ''Scream''[14], and HANA's ''Underwater''[15], ''Chimera''[16] and ''Avalanche''[17].

Critical reception

Art Angels received widespread acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 88, which indicates "universal acclaim", based on 31 reviews[18]. In a positive review, The A.V. Club called the album "slick and gritty, fun and funny, and horrifying and grotesque all at once" and said that "it will also make you shake your ass like nothing else". They also highlighted the track Kill V. Maim as holding "the full weight of Grimes' abilities as both a producer and singer"[19]. While Billboard praised Art Angels as "a marvel of meticulous, even obsessive home-studio recording, uncompromised by bandmates or collaborators", they criticised Grimes' voice as "her least impressive, most commonplace tool"[20]. Clash stated that "this is the truest representation of Grimes we've heard yet: Art Angels is boundary pushing, it's listenable and it's Boucher's most ambitious and most consistent work to date" and commended the production of the album as the "one thing that does tie it all together"[21]. Although referring to Art Angels as "simultaneously [Grimes'] most accessible and her least personal body of work", Consequence of Sound called the album "pure Grimes — performative, maximalist, joyful, and broad"[22].

Year-end lists

A.V. Club The 15 Best Albums of 2015 4 [23]
Billboard 25 Best Albums of 2015: Critics' Picks 3 [24]
Blare The Top 50 Albums of 2015 31 [25]
Clash Albums of the Year 3 [26]
Complex The Best Albums of 2015 28 [27]
Consequence of Sound Top 50 Albums of 2015 3 [28]
Cosmopolitan The 15 Best Albums of 2015 2 [29]
Crack Albums of the Year 2015 16 [30]
Dazed The Top 20 Albums of 2015 2 [31]
Diffuser The 50 Best Albums of 2015 3 [32]
Digital Spy The 25 Best Albums of 2015 4 [33]
Drowned in Sound Favourite Albums of the Year 2015 43 [34]
Dummy The 30 Best Albums of 2015 20 [35]
Exclaim! Top 20 Pop & Rock Albums 1 [36]
FACT The 50 Best Albums of 2015 5 [37]
FasterLouder The 50 Best Albums of 2015 10 [38]
Gigwise Albums of the Year 2015 49 [39]
Gorilla vs. Bear Albums of 2015 1 [40]
Idolator 2015's Best Albums 1 [41]
Mashable The 30 Best Albums of 2015 3 [42]
Mixmag The Top 50 Albums of 2015 32 [43]
musicOHM Top 50 Albums of 2015 27 [44]
New York Times The Best Albums of 2015 3 [45]
NME Albums of the Year 2015 1 [46]
NOW Top Albums of 2015 7 [47]
No Ripcord Top Albums of 2015 6 [48]
Noisey The 50 Best Albums of 2015 5 [49]
Paste The 50 Best Albums of 2015 24 [50]
Pigeons & Planes Best Albums of 2015 1 [51]
Pitchfork The 50 Best Albums of 2015 3 [52]
PopMatters The 80 Best Albums of 2015 15 [53]
Popjustice The Top 33 Albums of 2015 13 [54]
Pretty Much Amazing The 50 Best Albums of 2015 3 [55]
Rough Trade Albums of the Year 2015 82 [56]

Chart performance

Australian Albums (ARIA)[57] 30
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[58] 82
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[59] 16
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[60] 84
Greek Albums (IFPI)[61] 52
Irish Albums (IRMA)[62] 31
Irish Independent Albums (IRMA)[63] 4
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[64] 28
Scottish Albums (OOC)[65] 40
UK Albums (OCC)[66] 31
UK Independent Albums (OCC)[67] 6
US Billboard 200[68] 36
US Top Alternative Albums (Billboard)[69] 1
US Digital Albums (Billboard)[70] 9
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[71] 2

References

  1. http://www.thefader.com/2015/07/28/grimes-cover-story-interview
  2. http://www.thefader.com/2015/10/28/grimes-recording-process-future-music-magazine
  3. http://pitchfork.com/news/58769-grimes-shares-video-for-previously-unheard-track-realiti/
  4. http://www.spin.com/2015/10/grimes-flesh-without-blood-life-in-the-vivid-dream-video/
  5. http://pitchfork.com/news/61479-grimes-announces-art-angels-lp-shares-cover/
  6. http://pitchfork.com/news/61760-grimes-releases-flesh-without-bloodlife-in-the-vivid-dream-video-announces-art-angels-details/
  7. http://www.popmatters.com/post/grimes-scream-ft.-aristophanes-singles-going-steady/
  8. http://pitchfork.com/news/65327-grimes-shares-california-video-watch/
  9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOwhuTlxE54
  10. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aqp3Ic8iwWE
  11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADPk5PpkjMg
  12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpAsOEsamA0
  13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQLvqvLvUIY
  14. http://www.factmag.com/2016/10/05/grimes-acid-reign-chronicles-butterfly-scream-belly-beast-videos/
  15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6VUa8z1pQw
  16. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHNb1k7YxeA
  17. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yw-NQGmXUBE
  18. http://www.metacritic.com/music/art-angels/grimes
  19. http://www.avclub.com/review/grimes-brings-horror-dance-floor-art-angels-227993
  20. http://www.billboard.com/articles/review/6754174/grimes-art-angels-album-review
  21. http://www.clashmusic.com/reviews/grimes-art-angels
  22. http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/11/album-review-grimes-art-angels/
  23. http://www.avclub.com/article/15-best-albums-2015-228932
  24. http://www.billboard.com/photos/6792633/best-albums-of-2015
  25. http://blaremagazine.com/2015/12/10/the-top-50-albums-of-2015/
  26. http://clashmusic.com/features/clash-albums-of-the-year-2015-5-1
  27. http://www.complex.com/music/best-albums-of-2015/
  28. http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/12/top-50-albums-of-2015/
  29. http://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/music/a50922/best-albums-2015/
  30. http://crackmagazine.net/article/music/albums-of-the-year/
  31. http://www.dazeddigital.com/music/article/28766/1/the-top-20-albums-of-2015
  32. http://diffuser.fm/the-50-best-albums-of-2015/
  33. http://www.digitalspy.com/music/feature/a777428/the-25-best-albums-of-2015-heres-what-we-ranked-from-25-11/
  34. http://drownedinsound.com/in_depth/4149657-drowned-in-sounds-favourite-albums-of-the-year-2015
  35. http://www.dummymag.com/lists/the-30-best-albums-of-2015-dummy
  36. http://exclaim.ca/music/article/exclaims_top_20_pop_rock_albums_part_two-best_of_2015
  37. http://www.factmag.com/2015/12/09/the-50-best-albums-of-2015/
  38. http://fasterlouder.junkee.com/the-50-best-albums-of-2015/852415
  39. http://www.gigwise.com/features/104657/best-albums-of-2015-55-41-grimes-florence-lana
  40. http://www.gorillavsbear.net/gorilla-vs-bears-albums-of-2015/
  41. http://www.idolator.com/7616923/best-albums-2015
  42. http://mashable.com/2015/12/15/best-albums-2015/#0xhicJxQEkqA
  43. http://www.mixmag.net/feature/top-50-albums-of-2015/30
  44. http://www.musicomh.com/features/lists/musicomhs-top-50-albums-2015
  45. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/arts/music/best-albums-of-2015.html
  46. http://www.nme.com/photos/nme-s-albums-of-the-year-2015/394320
  47. https://nowtoronto.com/music/album-reviews/top-albums-of-2015/
  48. http://www.noripcord.com/features/top-albums-2015
  49. http://noisey.vice.com/blog/50-best-albums-of-2015
  50. http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/12/the-50-best-albums-of-2015.html?p=2
  51. http://pigeonsandplanes.com/2015/12/best-albums-of-2015/s/grimes-art-angels-2/
  52. http://pitchfork.com/features/lists-and-guides/9764-the-50-best-albums-of-2015/
  53. http://www.popmatters.com/feature/the-80-best-albums-of-2015/P6/
  54. http://www.popjustice.com/articles/the-top-33-albums-of-2015/140057/
  55. http://prettymuchamazing.com/features/best-albums-2015
  56. http://www.roughtrade.com/aoty15/4
  57. http://www.australian-charts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=Grimes&titel=Art+Angels&cat=a
  58. http://www.ultratop.be/nl/showitem.asp?interpret=Grimes&titel=Art+Angels&cat=a
  59. http://www.billboard.com/artist/303162/Grimes/chart?f=309
  60. http://www.dutchcharts.nl/showitem.asp?interpret=Grimes&titel=Art+Angels&cat=a
  61. http://www.chart-track.co.uk/index.jsp?c=p%2Fmusicvideo%2Fmusic%2Farchive%2Findex_test.jsp&ct=240002&arch=t&lyr=2015&year=2015&week=46
  62. http://www.chart-track.co.uk/index.jsp?c=p%2Fmusicvideo%2Fmusic%2Farchive%2Findex_test.jsp&ct=240002&arch=t&lyr=2015&year=2015&week=46
  63. http://www.chart-track.co.uk/index.jsp?c=p%2Fmusicvideo%2Fmusic%2Farchive%2Findex_test.jsp&ct=240007&arch=t&lyr=2015&year=2015&week=46
  64. http://www.charts.org.nz/showitem.asp?interpret=Grimes&titel=Art+Angels&cat=a
  65. http://www.officialcharts.com/charts/scottish-albums-chart/20151113/40/
  66. http://www.officialcharts.com/archive-chart/_/3/2015-11-13
  67. http://www.officialcharts.com/charts/independent-albums-chart/20151113/131/
  68. http://www.billboard.com/artist/303162/Grimes/chart?f=305
  69. http://www.billboard.com/artist/303162/Grimes/chart?f=794
  70. http://www.billboard.com/artist/303162/Grimes/chart?f=400
  71. http://www.billboard.com/artist/303162/Grimes/chart?f=326

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