Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Two sides of the artpop coin

So, two big names in the "alt pop" game have released new videos this week. One is waifish electro pixie Grimes, whose gossamer-thin melodies and hypnotic, polychromatic arrangements have won her fans from Rihanna to Lena Dunham. The other is shapeshifting Danish songstress , riding high off the success of Lean On, her global smash collaboration with Major Lazer.

Both songs are pristine examples of gusty, cutting-edge, outsider pop. But the videos - which are ostensibly similar - have polar opposite effects on me. Each is heavily-stylised, with the singers and their friends dancing through surreal dreamscapes. The costumes and scenarios mix high fashion and dark nightmares. In Kamikaze, MØ is pictured atop a throne made of golden car tyres in a derelict Ukrainian high rise; In Flesh Without Blood, Grimes, dressed as Marie Antoinette, spends half of her video bleeding to death on a tennis court.

The difference is small, but crucial. MØ looks like she's posing for a shoot in iD, the video aggressively screaming, "this is cool and if you watch it you will be cool too." Grimes, on the other hand, lets a smile play across her face throughout the whole thing, in a way that says, "everyone is welcome at this party, but could you please wear a powdered wig 'for the lols?'"

You might disagree (maybe you really, really want to be cool - who am I to judge?) So watch below and make your own mind up.

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