Ethereal is one of those words music critics overuse to the extent that editors often caution their writers to avoid it entirely. Grimes feels differently. Earlier this week she posted a new playlist and manifesto arguing that “ethereal” should be an officially recognized genre on streaming platforms.
Here’s what she wrote:
We petition that ethereal should be an official genre on streaming platforms! We are constantly told that Grimes doesn’t fit into any existing format or genre and therefore cannot be on playlists or radio,” she wrote. “We argue that there is a long lineage of auteur artists, often producing their own music and/or directing their own music videos. Oft with a heavy visual component and fantasy, sci fi or literary elements… often very ethereal, otherworldly and futuristic in nature. (It fits nicely into subgenres: ethereal-techno, ethereal-rap, ethereal-metal etc?) Maybe it isn’t a genre but it might be! What do you think??? It would be cool if there was a home for ethereal music.
Now let’s rewind about a year and a half. In the summer of 2018, Grimes posted a clip of a new song she was working on, which she described as “my ethereal chav jam that’s like … a cyberpunk interpretation of the bajirao mastani movie (plz watch this incredible film if u haven’t) from mastanis perspective, dunno if it makes sense without the low end.” Sometime between then and now, that song leaked. And now, two days after Grimes argued “ethereal” should be a genre, her ethereal chav jam is seeing official release.
The song, titled “4ÆM,” is the latest single from Grimes’ long-gestating Art Angels follow-up Miss Anthropocene following “My Name Is Dark,” “So Heavy I Fell Through The Earth,” and “Violence.” As has now been frequently explained, last year’s “We Appreciate Power” is not on the album.
Anyway, Grimes performed “4ÆM” tonight at the Game Awards, where she also announced her involvement with the new video game Cyberpunk 2077. Grimes will have music on the game’s soundtrack alongside the likes of A$AP Rocky and Run The Jewels, all of them performing under the guise of musicians within the game’s universe. For instance, Refused recently released a couple tracks under the name SAMURAI; none other than Keanu Reeves is voice acting as SAMURAI’s lead singer in the game. Relatedly, Grimes also portrays a character in the game named Lizzy Wizzy, described as “a hugely popular pop star in the Cyberpunk universe.” This is what Lizzy Wizzy looks like:
Cyberpunk 2077 will be available in April on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 and later in 2020 on Google Stadia. Hear “4ÆM” below and watch her perform it at the Game Awards below.
— The Game Awards (@thegameawards) December 13, 2019
Someone special was in the audience:
— Greenskull [ReadyUp] (@Greenskull) December 13, 2019