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The Rollercoaster of Emotions Just Keeps Going for Former Grimes Fans

If "Genesis" weren't so good, it'd hurt less, but alas ...

The very esoteric art for Grimes' album "Art Angels."

A few days ago, Grimes (née Claire Boucher) was trending on Twitter again, and I felt a familiar pit in my stomach. Just like when you get a call about the antics of an estranged relative, I prepared myself to see what our favorite infamous pop star said or did this time.

After doing a bit of digging, I saw this:

And while anger and disbelief is absolutely appropriate here, because … girl wtf … I’d already been down this road with Miss Boucher. All I could do was lean forward, pinch my nose, and sigh, wishing I’d never seen it in the first place. Believe it or not, Grimes used to be a really big deal for people my age, and watching her “fall from grace” (which sounds patronizing, yes, but how else do you describe a relationship with Elon Musk) has been difficult to watch.

Back in the day, one would discover Grimes if they were at all involved in indie-pop/art scenes. Grimes was just there. She was part of the backbone of my generation’s artsier side, with her offbeat style and uniquely creative vision. You’d hear she was going to base an album on her time playing Dark Souls and you’d just grin, like yes, of course she’s doing that. I saw Grimes play at FYF Fest (RIP), and even with her songs stripped down, she had this self-possession to her artistry that made her performance feel electric.

In particular, Grimes meant a lot to queer and femme artistic communities, because like old John Waters films, a lot of her vision was meant to provoke and inspire. It didn’t fit a neat little box. It wasn’t some waifish beach tune to play at a coffee shop. It was just as her namesake implies: grimey. And there’s a certain freedom in owning that, both as artists and as fans. Sure, you might not listen to a Michael Corleone vampire fanfiction song every single day, but goddamn, the first time you listen to it is irreplaceable. She had a talent for doing new things, love them or hate them.

… And then, we saw her and Elon all shacked up at the Met Gala, and it felt like we were all watching the crossover episode nobody, not a single person, had asked for. Sure, it’s nobody’s business who dates who, and to say I felt “betrayed” would be ridiculous. I, of all people, believe that artists shouldn’t be held to unreasonable standards by their fans, but it was certainly the first instance of whiplash, wherein someone I thought stood for greater values of freedom of expression and the like suddenly showed signs of … not being that person.

And as time went on and Elon’s old-timey villainous bullshit became more evident to the general public, my friends and I got very used to just putting our faces in our hands and saying, “Grimes, nooooo.” Then Grimes had his baby. “Grimes, nooooo.” And the baby was named— “NOOOO, don’t say it!!!”

But the whiplash hasn’t ended with their divorce, even though I haven’t listened to a new Grimes song since my teen years. Grimes keeps making highly reactionary, borderline nonsensical tweets like the one above. Grimes will make sure you can see her reading The Communist Manifesto in public. Grimes is pro-AI in both art and music. Grimes is a person outside the traditional lines of personhood … and not in the ways we originally admired her for, but in ways that are so uncomfortably chaotic that it boggles the mind.

Ultimately, it’s not my place to comment further on a person I’ve never met, and for all I know, she’s happier than ever, but the rollercoaster just doesn’t seem to know when to quit. My god, I miss the days when you could listen to a great song like “Oblivion” and not know anything about who she was dating, what her opinions on space colonization were, or why she and Azealia Banks beefed that one time.

Just trust me when I say that back in the day, when we were big fans, we didn’t know any of this shit. We just saw and respected the artist she was. Sometimes I wonder if the internet was a mistake …

(featured image: 4AD)

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Madeline (she/her) is a writer, dog mom, and casual insomniac. Her prior experiences with media have taken her down many different roads, from local history podcasts to music coverage & production. Niche interests include folk music, elves/wizards, and why horses are cool actually.