Grimes Writes About 5 Albums That Changed Her Life

We named Grimes’ Art Angels the best album of 2015, and part of its appeal lies in its uniqueness and idiosyncrasy, the power of Claire Boucher’s singular vision. But all artists are influenced by the work of others, of course, and in a new article for Tidal, Grimes writes about five albums that changed her life in some way. None of her choices are particularly shocking, but it’s still interesting to hear what she has to say, and it’s fun to imagine young Grimes jamming out to Outkast and Tool. Check out her picks (along with commentary) below.

Outkast – Stankonia

This was the first album I ever bought. I remember getting home and opening the CD, I was probably 12 or something, and there was a psychedelic naked woman on the CD. My Dad asked if I wanted to put the CD on, but I was utterly terrified because I had never seen a naked woman before and I knew that if my parents saw the CD they would take it away.

When I actually got to listen to the album, it was fucking fantastic, idiosyncratic, sonically diverse and super weird. Opened my mind in more ways than one.

Tool – Ænima (1996)

One of the reasons I have interludes on my records is ‘cuz of the amazing ones on Ænima. This album is such a puzzle, rhythmically, melodically…so complex. It’s hard to jam along until you get to know it well, and yet it’s so easy to sing along. It’s complicated, but very satisfying as pop music somehow. I don’t get bored of putting it on, I can listen to it repeatedly and discover new things.

I think the idea of alternative music with technically proficient vocals was really introduced to me by this album. Or that singing beautifully and screaming can coexist. I also love how uncompressed and spacious it is, despite all the noise. Been jamming it regularly since I was 13 or 14, it’s a staple of my existence. I feel musically inadequate next to it.

Beyoncé – Beyoncé (2013)

When this album came out it was only available on iTunes, and I immediately downloaded the whole thing and listened to it front to back. Afterwards, I realized I hadn’t done that in almost 2 years, and I have gotten back into listening to albums since. I think it probably did that for a lot of people. It definitely revitalised the art of the album for me, and I am very grateful for that.

I love how every song is so different. Plus, every song just sounds sounds so, so GOOD. Its really hard to get songs with melodic vocals to bang this hard. I’ve almost crashed my car more than once jamming to this record. When I’m working on mixes and engineering I usually test my tracks next to this record because it just sounds so incredible.

Panda Bear – Person Pitch (2007)

I was walking around in Montreal with this in my headphones, and I had only just started making music. I completely tripped out because the way the songs are formatted allows you to hear how Panda Bear is building songs out of loops.

Up until that point I had basically only made weird atonal drone music, with no sense of songwriting. I barely understood anything about music, it seemed like a mystery. But suddenly all music clicked into place and seemed so simple and easy. I was pretty much able to spontaneously write songs immediately after listening to this album once. I guess it seriously jumpstarted my mind in a freaky way.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever To Tell (2003)

My friend gave me a tape in grade 10 or so, it was Fever To Tell, but he didn’t label it or anything so I had no clue what band it was. I put it into my Walkman and walked home from school, and my mind was completely blown to bits. I will distinctly remember that moment for the rest of my life.

It was the first time I’d heard female-fronted alternative music. I listened to the album for years without knowing what band or album it was. It was just kind of this weird mystery. I didn’t really discover other hipster music until I was much older, it was kind of a standout in my library for many years, and I suppose it foreshadowed my later life interests.