Grimes - "Go"

Recently, Grimes and her Canadian countryman Blood Diamonds wrote a song called “Go” for Rihanna. Rihanna, or her people, turned it down. And now Grimes has taken the song for herself, debuting it onstage at the Governors Ball festival earlier this month. Today, we get to hear the studio version of the song, and it’s a fascinating example of what happens when Grimes pushes her spectral, strobing pop style into a more readily digestible direction. Its gigantic globs of crowd-pleasing bass don’t distract from its straight-up beauty at all, and if this is Grimes’ new direction, I am all for it. Zane Lowe debuted the track on BBC radio today, and you can hear it below.

“It’s our summer jam so we figured we should put it out cuz I am very bored of waiting to finish my album b4 releasing new music haha,” Grimes says in a press release.

She also has a new publicity photo for the occasion. It was taken by her brother Mac Boucher. “The look is an anime elf assassin who is a big fan of Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline,” she writes.

No word on a new album yet, but it’s been about two and a half years since Visions, and it feels like we’re due. In the meantime, some tour dates:

7/19 Toronto @ Time Festival
7/20 Chicago @ Pitchfork Music Festival,
8/23 Los Angeles @ FYF Fest
8/30 Philadelphia @ Made in America Festival

Comments (126)
  1. Yeah, it’s a move to the center, but she completely owns it.

  2. fantastic!

  3. ehhhhhhh here’s one for skrillex fans

    • “Wild for the night, fuck being polite.” – Ultragrrrl

      • I really do love Grime’s ”Visions” but as much as I want to like this track, I simply can’t. It’s not for lack of trying. It’s just that the song is so far removed from what made Grimes special. Grimes is too avant pop to sacrifice that by trying to write something for top 40 radio. ”Visions” was so unique and really grabbed me on first listen. It was a special album with some incredible production, atmosphere and originality. This track was being played as my roomie walked in and he basically thought it sounded like something ”on the radio”. That’s a non Grimes fan opinion. When Grimes first album popped on, it sounded like NOTHING on the radio. Which is why I’m disappointed :(

    • Right, anything that sounds remotely like dubstep is for skrillex fans.

  4. Grimes, LLC.

  5. Better than a lot of the shit Rihanna’s team has made.

    • “Good Girl Gone Bad” (the album) is an underrated pop masterpiece, and “We Found Love” (the song) is one of the finest pop songs of the past 10 years (The only good thing Calvin Harris has ever done)

      • Wha? Think of the best pop stuff in the past 50 years and you think Rihanna defines a decade? No offense, but…wow.

        • I didn’t say she defined it, I’m just saying she’s one of several who made very, very good pop music. But yeah, “We Found Love” is still one of the best pop songs of recent memory.

          • Rihanna and her ilk are best described as “horrible pop music for people that don’t know any better”. The term pop has become so glaringly downgraded it’s sad. Pop doesn’t have to be lowest common denominator. And it doesn’t have to be formulaic. Rihanna is and always be exactly that. Nothing more.

          • Sorry I didn’t mean to sound nasty fistofan. But I strongly dislike rihanna.

        • This sums it up for me.

        • I’ll back you up here. I haven’t heard the whole album but “We Found Love” is undeniably great. Strip away all of your prejudices against Rihanna and radio-friendly pop music in general and listen to it again. It’s not rocket science or anything, but it’s just a solidly well crafted song that kills on the dance floor.

          • That said, I’m not such a fan of this new Grimes song after my first listen. Maybe it’ll grow but I expect that an artist like Grimes should know better than to do something this generic unless it’s generic done EXCEPTIONALLY well, which this isn’t. If Rihanna had released this song, I’d probably consider it one of her better ones, but I expect more from Grimes.

          • I do think ”We found Love” is a catchy song. I like the synths to ”Umbrella’. It does sound good but in a way to me that after a belly full of Fluff right out of the jar, the inner part of me wants something with more substance. It’s really hard to separate rihanna- the bong tokin’ girl who shows up hours late in concert time and time again to disrespect the fans who got her to her superstardom, the girl who won’t even meet a child who was a fan and allows her burly bodyguard to browbeat the kid, among other irking things-from her detestable personal life/conduct. Let alone that she doesn’t write her own music. Let alone that the production reeks of 2014 which will one day be as dated as ‘We built this city”. Pop music is disposable and pop music is genius. Its just whcih side of the fence are you on? And one person who thinks rihanna is the apex of a great pop song should listen to fleetwood mac, marc bolan, the cars, the cure, mamas and the poppas, simon and garfunkel and other artists who do pop in a way that reduces the credibility of rihanna and her songwriting song doctor entourage of fat cat exec to a crying shame. Anyway, I don’t mind a guilty pleasure pop song. But pop without real soul sung by a soulless product? Hard to swallow. Grimes is original and writes her own music and produces it herself. This song ”Go” is just a weak wink in a new direction that I hope is shortlived. If her album sounds like ‘Go” then she has bastardized what made her so very special in the first place. I’m an insufferable person with my opinions and don’t mean to sound over the top. Also this downvoting thumb button on here shows me that if you have an opinion contrary to the collective opinion on the stereogum post you get down voted for it.Which is not cool. Anyway, sorry about the manifesto.

      • ‘We Found Love’ is obviously a good song – calling it one of the finest would be a stretch. And if you like it, I can’t undertand how you don’t like the rest of Calvin Harris. His first two albums are absolute fun, on third he’s making dollars. And he doesn’t seem to be taking himself very serious, he’s no J.Biebz at that point.

  6. no one else thinks this is terrible?!

  7. Wait, one more time, because I’m still confused … who was this song originally written for?

  8. Between the two musicians/producers, “Phone Sex” is definitely better than this but I’ll take whatever I can get from Grimes; she’s a magical, fairy wizard.

  9. Now I understand why Rihanna’s team turned it down, it’s terrible, it’s 2011 trap electro.
    Great press shoot tho, for a “look here i’m not a pop singer” she has a taste for some gay diva-extravaganza costumes.

    • Exactly. This song is generic as fuck.

    • Yeah, because “Rhianna’s team” brings such a level of quality to creative musical standards. That just a bunch of money hungry execs sitting around a table counting how many nickels it would yield if she hopped off her Jamaican canoe and recorded it in between bong hits?

      No thanks…I’ll stick to Grimes any day of the week.

      • People can be ignorant and downvote you all they want, but you’re absolutely correct. That’s how product and business works. Grimes is too good and unique to become a product like rihanna and I really hope that never happens otherwise I’ll really be kinda sad.

        • thanks my man… Now I’m all for free market society and believe that if there’s a way to make a couple bucks then by all means do it. What I’m allergic to are people who think the decisions made by meat ground pop singer like Rhianna (or her so called “team”), are somehow the right decisions for those who are fightin the battle with half the steam.

          Then again, this seems to be a cyber turf war on SG that we revisit too often so what’s the point.. These same people will trash Rhianna when her next bubble gum track hits top 40

    • Turn down for what? OWWWOOOOOO!

  10. That synth line after the chorus sounds pretty silly to me.

  11. get Danny Brown on the remix

  12. I was initially nervous on whether I would like this or not – especially after seeing the first comment on Soundcloud that proclaimed, “THAT DROP” (ugh) – but I’m super duper digging this track! Really hope she plans on releasing a new album this year.

  13. As far as Rihanna songs go, it’s not as bad as “Diamonds” or as good as “We Found Love,” which puts in somewhere in the “Rude Boy” range. Not necessarily rarefied air, there, but at least it’s not “S&M.”

    • Although Rihanna could have positioned this as sequel to “Stay,” and then some enterprising internet person could have mashed those two songs up with “Should I Stay or Should I Go” and it would been stupid. So maybe it’s good Rihanna didn’t take this.

    • Requesting 10 best and worst Rhianna’s songs!



  15. Oh man this is going to be the most divisive song of the year.

    • But seriously, why is everyone like “I’M DISSAPOINTED IN THIS NEW POPULIST DIRECTION GRIMES IS GOING” when this is obviously Grimes going “Well if you ain’t going to rock the track ima do it.”? Do you guys really think this is her “new direction”, because I don’t. Maybe I’ll eat these words but I doubt it.

  16. Her drawing skills have improved at least. Although the lack of skulls just screams ‘lamestream’.

  17. I wasn’t aware that obnoxious, dated dubstep drops suddenly became acceptable just because Grimes created them. A shame too, because I do generally like the vocals quite a bit. Really wanted to like this too :(

  18. I could hear Claire mine any genre and I would be happy.

  19. I understand that people have soured on bass drops and they’ve largely lost their “wow factor” because we’re inundated with them, but like Rustie’s new track I think “Go” uses the drop incredibly well. Before it’s just this haunting, mechanical mid-tempo number and after it’s explosive “bubble trap rave”. If that kind of transformation isn’t exciting to you as a listener, you may be doing something wrong.

  20. Visions is probably in my top ten of all time but this is just… hmm.

  21. Someone get Four Tet on the remix or something. Great vocals, the rest of the song is pretty boring. Though it does sound like she finally upgraded from Garageband to Logic.

    • I’d definitely agree that the vocals are the strongest part, particularly when they come back in after the initial “drop”, but I don’t think that makes the rest of the song weak.

  22. Here’s the thing…

    We all like Grimes. So we’re all trying to give this the benefit of the doubt. But it this tune came out by somebody that I didn’t know I would immediately say “this shit sucks ass”

      • I kinda hate myself for posting so much on this thread….but DAMN….this song really really sucks ass.
        Seriously. Grimes is awesome. And this thing is unabashed garbage. This is lowest common denominator stuff. I’ve listened to it three times now thinking that it might grow on me. There are so many different things I hate in this song it’s mind numbing.

        Please Lord, little Baby Jesus, all alone in your manger, don’t let Grimes new album sound like this. Please let it be weird and cool and new and fresh and mind expanding like Visions was but in a brand new and yet completely grimes-esque way.

        In small Baby Jesus name, Amen.

    • oh for sure man

  23. I’m not feeling any hooks

  24. My Sister Says The Saddest Things is my 2nd favorite song of all time by any artist. It’s only my opinion but this is crap an nothing like everything I liked about her.

  25. I’m really liking it! It’s quite groovy and I love her vocals. It’s a fun song, probably won’t even appear on the new album.

  26. Can someone make me a drop-less edit of this? The rest of it sounds lovely.

  27. Well, for those that enjoy it, there is a download link to the .WAV file underneath the soundcloud player. So be sure to grab that instead of listening to it through the site for best results.

  28. Love the vocals, not sure about the poppy/dated dub steppy parts …

  29. Jesus, I literally just finished listening to “Visions” for the first time in a while. Interesting to hear the two different styles back to back. I agree with the first comment here. This is pretty cool. I’m in.

  30. Dope! Not sure why Rihanna passed on this. Kinda glad she did though. Grimes owns this joint!

  31. LOL @ everyone in a tizzy about Grimes going fully pop. Sure, Visions is just weird enough to retain an indie appeal but at its core it’s a pop album, and, if nothing else, Grimes has always embraced pop, in all its assumed cheesiness and banality. For anyone to react like, “OMFG GRIMES SOLD OUT :(” is probably not very well-acquainted with Grimes at all.

    That being said, I really like this song, even if EDM’s drop-build format is a little passé at this point. Always wanted to hear a Grimes song with drops that wasn’t a remix.

    • Most of the comments here actually look pretty supportive of the idea, if not the execution of the song.

      • I was assuming all the people who have nothing to say beyond “i like grimes but i hate this” are saying that because this is too pop. I suppose I might just be jumping to conclusions, but that seems to me to be the common dilemma with indie pop: it loses its appeal to a certain crowd as soon as it sounds mainstream.

        Also I get the impression that this song is an outlier, rather than an indicator, of what her next album will be like. It’s the only song so far she’s reported as being made for a mainstream pop star so it seems obvious it would sound pretty mainstream. I wasn’t there at Governor’s Ball though (sadly) so I can’t say for sure on the other new material she’s released.

    • I don’t see many people in a tizzy about her going fully pop, I see people (myself included) that she made a shitty 2011 brostep song. Big difference.

      • Except at this point, dubstep, trap, “brostep,” or EDM with drops—whatever the Hell genre you want to slap on this song—IS fully pop. That’s what I’m trying to say. I realized earlier that this song reminds me an awful lot of Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” and I don’t think you can get more “fully pop” than sounding like Katy Perry. (Btw, I intend that comparison as the highest possible compliment to Grimes.)

        Just because this is Grimes’ take on an already well-established pop music format doesn’t automatically qualify it as “shitty.” I’m not saying that that’s your exact argument, but still, it’s something to keep in mind.

        • Nah, I completely disagree. Even looking at your point of reference, “Dark Horse”, which sure, does have plenty of EDM influences, is nowhere near this unrefined. There’s plenty of dubstep influenced songs that have hit it big over the past few years — “I Knew You Were Trouble”, “Hold it Against Me”, etc. — but they all took the over the top dubstep drops and you know, put them in the context of an actual pop song. With hooks.

          I’m pretty sure we can all agree that beyond the beat, “Dark Horse” has some pretty spectacular vocal hooks. Same goes for “I Knew You Were Trouble”, annoying as that song may have become after getting played nonstop.

          I don’t hear any of that in this song, hence citing 2011. Not 2014. Hell, “Hold it Against Me” came out in 2011 if I remember correctly, and even that song (which I vehemently dislike) was more than empty bass drops. All those songs at least managed some vaguely effective build up to their climaxes — “Dark Horse” does it for almost three minutes if not more — but here we get the bass drop in about forty seconds. And it goes on for thirty. It’s beyond unsophisticated. I’m not saying that it’s bad because Grimes is taking on a well-established pop music format, I’m saying she did a terrible job of it — and worst of all, I’m confident she could have done much, much better.

  32. The Japanese word in the logo means “poop.”

    I…I just…wow.

  33. Although, ‘sick drops’ aren’t exactly want I want from a Grimes track, the verses are excellent.

  34. Wake up, sheeple.


  35. yeah I don’t think it’s grimes 2.0 at all… it’s a pop song that she wrote for another artist (something she has done many time) that didn’t fit on her album so she decided to just put it out on her own.

  36. hahaha Diplo:

    “@pitchforkmedia lol u know what.. if skrillex or I put out that grimes song u would have fuckin trashed it.. #reversesexism ?”

  37. I’m 28 years old. When I listen to shit like this it makes me feel like I’m 78. Doesn’t speak to me at all.

  38. Still no BNT on Pitchfork? Must be some serious rumbling for the most high profile single review in months. Personal brands, and potential Grantland positions, are at stake!

  39. I think it’s dece. Who the fuck cares?
    I’ll tell you what the problem is – they didn’t emphasize that sweeeeet brief lil keyboard riff that is directly in the middle of the chorus. It’s very brief, but it was a lil tinkle that gave it a special grimes sprinkle in the live video.

    I’m right.

  40. Uh……. The jury is still out on this one.

  41. damn. first it goes like really nice and smooth and totally okay, but then that skrillex tune comes in and the song becomes absolutely NOT listenable :(

    it made me giggle though

  42. I love everything Grimes has done thus far, ‘Oblivion’ is *the* best pop song since Madonna but this suckks man

    • I find the statement “best pop song since Madonna” pretty hilarious since she’s technically still around, but we basically all know the last worthwhile song she released was “Don’t Tell Me”

      (unless you’re into Confessions on a Dance Floor… which… well, whatever)

      • I just like comparing an artist with a cap. “A” like Grimes to a pop start with a cap “P” like Madonna.
        When world don’t really collide.

  43. Personally I think it’s just nice to see something about Grimes that actually involves her music, not some bullshit internet controversy of the week like the great Ben & Jerry’s ice cream SCANDAL of 2013.


  45. Wow, ain’t I happy I didn’t jump on this bandwagon 2 years ago? This is some serious Top-40, lowest-denominator, generic, boring, safe, forgettable bullshit right here. I guess this poptimism thing has become another name for the emperor’s new clothes.

  46. Beginning of each verse sounds like ‘Hands’ by Jewel. Not that I, uh, know that song or anything.

  47. If I was to pick one of two decidedly pop songs this week, it would be: Zola Jesus’ Dangerous Days > Grimes’ Go.

  48. Nailed it.

  49. I hear a lot of K-pop EDM influences in this song. Grimes and Blood Diamonds should have handed this song over to 2NE1 instead of Rihanna. But this song now belongs to Grimes and I think it’s great.

  50. I think she’s making the music she’s always intended to make. You have to remember on her first albums she had little to no knowledge of how to play any musical instrument. Her appeal to critics was that she was making very interesting and creative music despite a lisp and self-acknowledged inability to actually play musical instruments. She was to usher in the a new wave of “garage band” artists who make music on their computers and ipads. Now she’s got a team of highly talented musicians and producers around her and she’s probably gotten a lot better too. So while some people want to say she’s becoming more mainstream, actually, maybe she’s becoming more polished. She’s now releasing more of her actual vision. You’ll probably see less of the weird chord progressions, kitschy vocals, and lo-fi sounds of the past in favor of more standard progressions, song structures, and whatever is en vogue in the drum and bass department. For better, for worse.

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