Friday, August 29, 2014

Video of the week: Grimes - Go

If you boiled BBC Four's excellent Kate Bush documentary down to a sentence, it was this: "Kate Bush is really rather good, and here are lots of musicians we found who were prepared to say so".

But the progamme's other big point was that Kate Bush succeeded because she cut her own path. Those swooping, hollering vocals; the bizarre key changes; the adventurous instrumentation - no-one else had ever sounded like that before. That's why she was the first woman to score a self-penned number one in the UK, and that's why her comeback concerts have been so enthusiastically reviewed, despite sounding like an excruciating evening of utter bollocks experimental theatre.

Near the beginning of the documentary Elton John is interviewed about Wuthering Heights. "It was not your normal song," he says, "but that's why it was so brilliant. It was great to hear something out of the norm. Things like that don't come along very often. I mean, when has the next Kate Bush come along after Kate Bush? There hasn't been one."

I don't quite agree - Bjork redefined pop in the 1990s with the same cavalier disregard for the rules; and you could argue Kanye West did the same thing for rap in the 2000s. But those sorts of talents are truly once-in-a-generation.

Someone who could manage it for the 2010s is Grimes: A sonic innovator, with a preternaturally assured approach to the way she presents herself and her music. She hasn't quite crossed over to the mainstream yet but, as her new single shows, she has the pop nous to have a go... Assuming that's what she wants.

As noted here before, Go was written for and rejected by Rihanna. But it works better with Grimes' wispy, waspy vocals. The video, coincidentally, looks like something Kate Bush might put together if she was 19-years-old in 2014.

Grimes - Go (ft Blood Diamonds)

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