Claire Elise Boucher (born March 17, 1988), better known by her stage name Grimes, is a Canadian singer-songwriter, producer and visual artist. While she generally works in the field of experimental electronic music, her sound is known to cover a wide range of genres including Dream Pop, Synth-Pop, R&B, and Hip-Hop.
Her name is a reference to the artist Ken Grimes, and to UK grime music, which she listed as her three favorite genres on her MySpace page without even knowing what the genre was.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Grimes started writing and recording songs while in college, which made her miss a great number of classes and led to her being expelled from her university. She then dedicated herself to be a full-time musician, collaborating with various DJs such as Majical Cloudz, making an EP with musician d'Eon and opening shows to singer Lykke Li.
She began releasing independently in the late 2000s, but it was her third album Visions in 2012 that catapulted her to fame, predominantly on the strength of its singles "Genesis" and "Oblivion", with the latter frequently considered among the decade's greatest songs.
- Geidi Primes (2010)
- Halfaxa (2010)
- Visions (2012)
- Art Angels (2015)
- Miss Anthropocene (2020)
- Darkbloom (2011, in collaboration with musician d'Eon)
Grimes and her music contain examples of:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: "We Appreciate Power" is written like a propaganda piece that forwards the interests of an evil, all-conquering artificial intelligence.
- And I Must Scream: The idea of "We Appreciate Power". It presents itself as someting of a song praising Backing your consciousness up as an AI, when the nu-metal influence underscoring the song suggests the opposite.
- Anti-Love Song: "Flesh Without Blood".
- Apocalypse How: Miss Anthropocene describes a Class 6 event.
- Awesome McCoolname: Her real name, "Claire Boucher", translates literally from French as "clear butcher". She finds this hilarious and even changed her Twitter handle to it for a while.
- Careful with That Axe: The appropriately named "Scream" off of Art Angels.
- Concept Album: Miss Anthropocene is a loose one about an "anthropomorphic goddess of climate change" inspired by Roman mythology and villainy.
- Darker and Edgier: The demo of "Realiti" compared to the more upbeat album version.
- Miss Anthropocene is easily her darkest album, adding elements of industrial and nu metal.
- Echoing Acoustics: Reverb is pretty much everywhere, but notably used in Genesis and Skin.
- Gaia's Lament: Much of Miss Anthropocene is based on this trope: Grimes herself stated that the album is centered around a vicious "goddess of climate change". "Violence" in particular refers to mankind's treatment of the Earth as an abusive relationship which will inevitably lead to this trope.
- Heart Symbol: "Infinite ❤ Without Fulfillment."
- In the Style of...: "We Appreciate Power" could arguably seen as a nod to Babymetal due to its fusion of synthpop, industrial, electropunk and Nu Metal.
- Kaleidoscope Hair: With colors such as pink and blue.
- Lighter and Softer: Art Angels has a brighter, more upbeat sound than her gloomy, atmospheric older material (though this doesn't always extend to the lyrics).
- Like Is, Like, a Comma: It's pointed out how often she inserts "like" into her sentences. She even lampshades this by saying she talks like a valley girl.
- Lyrical Dissonance: A great deal of songs in the Visions album, including the opening track "Infinite ❤ Without Fulfillment," "Genesis," "Oblivion," among others. "Oblivion" is a cheerful pop song about a sexual assault Grimes experienced as a teenager and features the chorus, "See you on a dark night."
- Many songs from Art Angels have this, like "California", "Flesh Without Blood", "Pin".
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Defied Trope in "Butterfly". She has discussed before how much she dislikes this trope and being taken for one herself because she's quirky and dyes her hair weird colours.
- Genre Mashup: While her style overall can best be described as artsy Indie Pop, it also incorporates elements of several other genres. As newspaper The Guardian summarized, "By sounding a little like everything you've ever heard, the whole sounds like nothing you've ever heard." Grimes herself describes her style as "ADD music" and lists a variety of bands and artists ranging from Yoko Kanno, David Bowie, Aphex Twin, Nine Inch Nails, and Mariah Carey as her influences.
- New Sound Album: Art Angels is definitely one of these. She changed the electronic-lo-fi-dream-pop to a louder, direct electropop sound.
- One-Letter Name:
- Starting in 2018, Grimes goes by c in her personal life. Not the third letter of the alphabet, but the symbol for the speed of light.
- When their child was born, Grimes and Elon Musk declared that his name was X Æ A-12 Musk. The letter Æ is known as "ash" when used in Old English.
- One-Woman Song: "Vanessa" and "Rosa."
- Self-Backing Vocalist: Pretty much all of the backing vocals are just layers of her own vocals.
- Shout-Out: Geidi Primes is Concept Album based on Dune.
- Speech Impediment: She has a quite notitheable lithp; she stated that she "likes it", and has no desire to correct it.
- Take That, Audience!: During a pool party at Richie Hawtin's house in Ibiza for an online show, in front of several major DJs who meant Serious Business, she did Something Completely Different and trolled everyone by playing a set full of cheesy pop music; primarily Taylor Swift, Mariah Carey (specifically "All I Want for Christmas is You"), and the Vengaboys. Off an iPod. Predictably, people were angry.
- Take That, Critics!: "California", from Art Angels is a diss track to Pitchfork.
- Third-Person Person: She sometimes refers to "Grimes" as if she were a different person entirely, or just her stage persona.
- Villain Song: "Kill V. Maim", which is written in the perspective of Michael Corleone.
- Vocal Dissonance: Sings in a very high-pitched soprano, but speaks in a more grounded alto.
- We Used to Be Friends: "Pin".
- She has also said this is what inspired "Flesh Without Blood", though the lyrics are more like a Break-Up Song.