Music Video Review: Grimes – ‘Kill V. Maim’

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Visual Insanity

Highly entertaining and completely wild, Grimes steps forward as a visual artist to reclaim her crown as the alternative queen of music.

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Grimes triumphantly returns to our headphones with her latest album Art Angels. I have nothing but love for Claire Boucher, so I have to label this review as completely biased and totally blinded by my own worship of her talents.

The track itself feels like a natural follow on from her 2012 masterpiece, Visions. With almost coherent lyrics and a more pop influence sound, ‘Kill V. Maim’ reinstates Grimes as the alternative queen of music. Boucher told Q Magazine:

“‘Kill V. Maim’ is written from the perspective of Al Pacino in The Godfather Pt II. Except he’s a vampire who can switch gender and travel through space”

The music video certainly backs this description, from the blood-covered rave to her troop of cyberpunk vampires. The ‘Kill V. Maim’ music video is Boucher’s demonstration that she is capable of way more than I am. She shot, directed, and edited her own music video in Toronto, with help from her brother Mac. The music video is as odd as Boucher, and completely magical because of it. It’s exactly what we have come to expect of Grimes: the unpolished, the cool, and the trendy. There’s something almost Kill Bill about the comic book style of the video, as it noticeably draws on multiple pop culture references throughout, from Law & Order, Insane Clown Posse, and even potentially Black Swan.

The video opens with Grimes sitting in a pimped up pink car riding through a green screened street. Her group of goth raver pals dance behind her while she maintains eye contact with the camera. Suitably Tarantino-esque, we are introduced to ‘Kill V. Maim’ as Act III of Grimes’ single releases. Next we are introduced to a dingy underground station, occupied by a leotard-clad, curly haired Grimes and a posse of leather-embossed cyberpunks. Illustration occasionally pops up over the top of the music video, tying in the glorious album artwork. Grimes occupies a much larger space in this video when compared to the likes of ‘Oblivion’. Her body language is one of control and commandment, and we get a view of a Grimes ready to take on the world. The heavy beat of the track makes for an excellent static robot dance, complete with rhythmic punching.

Flashes of a rave appear, and we get the first sound of the cheerleader chant “B-E-H-A-V-E”. There’s something wonderful about Grimes in a pair of black feather wings, vampire teeth, ski goggles, a Versace sweater, and pink boxing gloves that I will never be able to place my finger on. The flashes of a rave become increasingly blood soaked, dance moves are reversed as time shifts, and Grimes is suddenly a taloned angel of death. Whatever you may call this music video, it certainly couldn’t be boring. The amount of creative control and freedom Claire Boucher had over the music video is life-affirming, despite the rather morbid ending.

‘Kill V. Maim’ is out now via 4AD, with the video available to watch below.

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Head of Events for The Edge magazine. Keen concert goer and angry feminist. Shared recycled oxygen on a 12 hour flight with Foals.

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