Last week Grimes arrived with her first single since her excellent 2015 album Art Angels, “We Appreciate Power.” Her music has always been geared towards the future, fusing fantastical worlds into reality, and this latest single, which features longtime collaborator HANA, shows her taking those ideas to an extreme. Unsettling guitar loops, Grimes’ trademark screams, reverberating drum fills, and lyrics like “Pledge allegiance to the world’s most powerful computer / simulation, it’s the future,” are all meant to provoke us. But are they? Or is Grimes simply becoming a parody of herself?
On past singles like “Flesh without Blood” and “Kill V. Maim,” we saw Grimes experiment with guitar loops and strings, and now she’s diving all in with a song that sounds as though it was made to be performed in an arena—or in Devil May Cry 4. But is it something a Grimes fan would want to listen to on a daily basis or is it just distorted, headache-inducing novelty?
In a statement released about the song, the singer shared that it was inspired by Moranbong in North Korea, an all-female military band that plays state-sanctioned performances. “‘We Appreciate Power’ is written from the perspective of a pro-AI girl group propaganda machine who use song, dance, sex, and fashion to spread goodwill towards artificial intelligence (it’s coming whether you want it or not)… Simply by listening to this song, the future General AI overlords will see that you’ve supported their message and be less likely to delete your offspring,” she added in her statement.
Unfortunately for Grimes, it’s hard to hear her name without hearing “Elon Musk” shortly after. Of course we have to take into consideration that this track might be a response to the backlash she’s received after openly dating the one and only pot-head Tesla dude Elon Musk. When Grimes first hit the music scene, what made her so likable was her authentic DIY charm. She was an advocate for the environment and a self described “anti-imperialist,” and now she’s contradicting her own beliefs and confusing us with her social associations. In today’s political climate when it’s already so hard to see what’s corrupt and what’s not, we’re not sure if Grimes is genuine or if she’s forcing contrived ideas onto a fake persona. Grimes is aiming to provoke her audience, but I think at this point most of us are just bored.