Experimental pop juggernaut Grimes, pseudonym of Vancouver native Claire Boucher, has released her self-directed video “California,” the latest single to be lifted from critically acclaimed album Art Angels.
The singer, songwriter and record producer’s fourth studio album topped the end of year album lists of NME and Stereogum, and featured in the top five of numerous others including Rolling Stone, Billboard and The New York Times. It’s safe to say that Grimes has accomplished some amazing feats after being expelled from McGill University in Montreal for skipping a year’s worth of class during her pursuit of a neuroscience degree.
She belts in her pixie-like voice, “The things they see in me, I cannot see myself,” as she portrays an American county fair entertainer, a beret-sporting sculptor, and ribbon-twirling gymnast. The video is filmed in a grainy, vintage sort of manner, making it appear as though you’re watching a series of flashbacks. Each vignette we see of every character Grimes plays is more colorful than the last, making for some visually stimulating cinematography.
Every personality seen within the video seems to undergo a gradual release. The timid county fair performer is initially shown cowering behind her microphone stand. As the video progresses, she is later found sporting big, sparkly heart-shaped sunglasses and making pouty faces filled with sass at the camera as she passionately parades around the stage. The sculptor decides to incorporate her spirited dancing inside her studio despite being surrounded by countless fragile busts and what not. The gymnast ditches her ribbon and gives it her all across the block colored mats.
Though they are hidden under various layers of glitter, makeup, and colorful garb, some faces may seem familiar. Supporting roles for Grimes’ various characters are performed by the musician HANA, model Eric Cheng, musician Born Gold, and Megan James of Purity Ring. One of the more surprising members of this list of extras is Grimes’ own brother and co-director for some of her other videos, Mac Boucher.
The video for “California” already has well over half a million hits on YouTube. This comes as no surprise considering NME describes her as, “Not just a pop star, but perhaps the coolest musician on the planet.” Grimes has recently wrapped up a 20-date European tour and is set to perform at big name festivals such as Glastonbury, Open’er, Bilbao BBK and Lollapalooza later in the year. She is also lined up to open for Florence & The Machine this coming June.