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LHS Teachers Retiring
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Michelle BekhtelMay 24, 2024

STOCKTON- The 2024 school year is coming to an end, and with this short time left we must take time to recognize teachers that have chosen to...

The “Visions” of Claire Boucher; A Review of Grimes’ “Visions”

Glorified Noise or Unique Art?
The “Visions” of Claire Boucher; A Review of Grimes’ “Visions”

STOCKTON – On January 31, 2012, Claire Elise Boucher, professionally known as Grimes, released her third studio album titled, Visions and electronic album curated over a three-week period on GarageBand.  Visions is the first album released by the eclectic singer after signing to 4AD Records.  The album received much positive critical reception, even receiving the title of best new album by music review organization, Pitchfork.  “Grimes is the one-woman cyborg-pop project of Montreal’s Claire Boucher. Visions, her compulsively listenable third album, is an electro cotton-candy entryway to her peculiar kind of bliss. (Pitchfork)”


The album itself was entirely self-produced by Boucher in her apartment over a three-week period where she locked herself in her room where she produced, wrote, and crafted the record, “Yeah, I remember my roomate, Marilys, would like put little plates at the door so I would like open the door and like eat some food. (Boucher, Pitchfork)”  The album was produced completely on Apple’s GarageBand software.  The album falls under many musical genres such as Synth-pop, Dream pop, and Electropop.  When asked during a Pitchfork interview to describe the album in three words, Boucher’s words were, “Psychedelic Sci-Fi Twee. (Boucher, Pitchfork)” 


The album’s opener, Infinite Love Without Fulfillment, is an experimental, dream-pop song with a minimal production and Boucher’s signature pitched up “baby voice” over top.  The song is full of vocal layers that feel almost haunting and dissonant which contrast to the song’s main vocals.  The song details Boucher’s willingness to wait for her lover to reciprocate her feelings for them.


Track two, Genesis, is a dreamy atmospheric synth-pop song with a bouncy bass line and lyrics that feel like a continuous train of thought.  Boucher trades her usual “baby voice” for an angelic, soft, falsetto voice which flows perfectly together with the song’s instrumental.  The song’s lyrics give a darker perspective on the idea of falling in love with Boucher feeling as if love is a strategic game.  The song was also ranked the 25th best track of 2012 by Pitchfork.


Track three, Boucher’s infamous song, Oblivion, is a retro, darkwave, synth-pop song with dark synth’s that compliment the haunting tone of Boucher’s singing.  The lyrics of the song, although vague, depicts Boucher’s paranoia walking alone at night and feeling unsafe and as if a masculine power will attack/hurt her.  I never walk about after dark/It’s my point of view/’Cause someone could break your neck (Boucher, Oblivion)”  The song was named the best track of 2012 by Pitchfork and the best track of the decade so far in 2012.


Eight, the fourth track on the album is an experimental techno adjacent song led by an aggressive robotic voice and simple drum production, paired with Boucher’s own falsetto vocals.  Put simply, the song tells the tale of a confrontation between two lovers.


Visions’ fifth track, Circumambient, is a dream-pop, dance song with a catchy and addictive chant-like chorus that if sung over a more traditional pop, Britney Spears-esque, record would be a Billboard hit.  Hey, I’ma, hey, I’ma, ready to say, I’ma/Working to the bone all day, I’ma (Boucher, Circumambient)”  The song’s lyrics are pretty straight forward, with Boucher feeling overworked and underappreciated.


Vowels = Space and Time, track six, is second to Circumambient as Boucher’s attempt at a more commercial sound with a soft and airy contemporary R&B sound that feels modern even today.  The song’s instrumental is composed of crackly synths and bass-drum-backing which pair perfectly with Boucher’s soft vocals in the verses and soulful voice in the chorus.  The song’s lyrics match perfectly with the delirious and dreamy sound of the song, in this song Boucher delivers a delirious perspective on love and how although her lover is terrible to her she doesn’t want to let him go.  “Ah uh ah uh/I don’t want to let you go (ah uh ah uh ah uh)/Ohhh, boy I need love (ah uh ah uh ah uh) (Boucher, Vowels = Space and Time)”


Track seven, Visiting Statue, is a short interlude that carries forward the same deliriously dreamy sound from the songs like Vowels = Space and Time and Genesis while implementing string and percussion instruments.  The delirious nature of the song comes from the fact that Boucher switches between her notorious pitched-up “baby voice” and a deeper voice, both voices layering over each other to create a cacophonous harmony.  Boucher tells the story of her anxieties when it comes to facing her family and returning home after revealing the things she has in her previous work.  So, so, so, so, bring it all back

/I would start to see that I was scared to see it (Bring it all home, bring it all home, bring it all home/Oh, oh, I’m a ghost, ghost) (Boucher, Visiting Statue)”


Be a Body is the eighth track on Visions and a haunting synth-pop song with brass elements with Boucher’s equally as haunting monotone vocals moving the song along.  The song is about wanting people to be less dependent on technology and live in the moment as a person.


The ninth track on Colour of Moonlight (Antiochus) carries a lullaby like synth heavy melody with hard hitting percussions over top and a mix of Boucher’s signature pitched up and hauntingly monotone vocals from previous songs as well as vocals that are drowning in a voice effect that makes her vocals unstable.  The song seems to detail how Boucher feels when she is having a depressive episode in which she tries to overcome but when she does it always comes back stronger than before.


Track 10, Symphonia IX (My Wait is U) is Boucher’s version of a ballad which brings back the same vocal style present in Oblivion with the same production style that we saw in Infinite Love Without Fulfillment.  The song is about how Boucher is willing to wait for her lover to reciprocate the feeling she has for them, but after a while she feels as if the wait is becoming too long for her.


Nightmusic, the eleventh track, is a retro 80s type alt-pop song and one of the more traditional electronic sounding tracks on the album.  I’m gonna be honest here, the song has no real meaning, I don’t know. At the end of the day we’re still dealing with Grimes.

Skin is the penultimate track on the standard version of the album and showcases more of Boucher’s soft vocals over a lofi drum beat with an addictive melody.  The song showcases a more personal and vulnerable side to Boucher than we have previously seen with her detailing her wanting to be held close by her lover.


The album’s closer, Know the Way is a short song composed of string instruments with intense reverb and Boucher’s vocals.  The song is a confession from Boucher, showing hse is more self-assured than one would assume from her music, which is a nice way to close the album given the songs messages, prior to this one, being about Boucher’s uncertainty with her life.


Overall, the album is a cacophony of different, unique sounds put together in order to create music.  Boucher’s ability to make what would otherwise be unlistenable noise, something special and unique is amazing and any one who is a fan of songs with huge productions I would recommend giving the album a listen.


Favorite Song(s) – Oblivion, Circumambient, Vowels = Space and Time, Visiting Statue, Be A Body, Colour of Moonlight, Skin


Least Favorite Song(s) – Eight


Overall Album Rating – 7.7/10


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About the Contributor
Dennis Hopkins
Dennis Hopkins, Staff Writer
Dennis Hopkins is a senior at Lincoln High School and this is his second semester in the Journalism class. In his free time he enjoys creative/narrative writing and listening to music. He writes often about music and voices his opinions on the album.

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