Grimes has been many things in the span of her relatively short career: futuristic desert goddess, neo-kawaii raver, etc. But never before has she gone the more historical route (in a sense, anyway) like she does in the video for her latest and long-awaited new single(s), “Flesh Without Blood/Life in the Vivid Dream.” In it, Grimes shows us a side of L.A. we rarely get to see: the cultured decadent kind. From jumping on beds to engaging in a lackadaisical dance on a tennis court while dressed as an Amadeus-inspired Marie Antoinette, Grimes almost appears to be auditioning for the next Sofia Coppola movie (after all, Madonna used her “Take A Bow” video to audition for a movie role, so why shouldn’t Grimes?).
Divided into two parts, the video begins with a four minute, forty-three second portion devoted to “Flesh Without Blood,” which proves to be a somewhat ironic title as blood spews out of Grimes in each of the incarnations she’s playing, and then segues into, for all intents and purposes, the aftermath in “Life in the Vivid Dream.” This track–markedly more melancholy–possesses a far slower pace and grimmer aural and visual tone. As the lush scenery and color schemes of Los Angeles continue to take hold of the video (which makes sense when taking into account Grimes’ ongoing residency there, as well as her overt love for it in titling one of the songs on her new album “California),” the macabre nature of her characters shines forth.
The cynical (but accurate about life) lyrics, “I could tell you the truth or a lie/I could tell you that people are good in the end/But why, why would I?” punctuate the incongruity of Grimes walking around in her futuristic rococo garb with a knife wedged into her stomach. Elsewhere, when she’s dressed as a Wednesday Addams-esque (at least in demeanor) angel, her description, “Angels will cry when it’s raining/Tears that are no longer clean” takes on a more literal meaning when she roams through the hills as her bloodied angel self gnawing on someone’s internal organ. She soon takes on the Justin Bieber school of philosophy by posing the question, What do you mean?/What do you mean, so gone?/I waited here so long.” So have we Grimes, for you. And, as this video and its singles prove, the anticipation was worth it–especially with the knowledge that she poured her entire artistic self into its creation, and even directed, wrote and produced the video with her brother, Mac Boucher, as camera man.