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“[to ‘live in the metaverse’], as a statement, more or less demands poetic interpretation… Because otherwise, it’s, you know. Stupid. Because your body won’t fit inside the wires.”



It’s never enough to predict the future one time, eh?

At one point in time, argue amongst yourselves when, Grimes HAD IT. Whatever “it” was- the outsider electronica dabbles, the chibi-sweet chirping vocals, the grungy art-kid look, the incendiary social media quotables- Claire Boucher had it had it had it, that cool new thing that could be your life, that “your favorite artist’s favorite new artist” JE NE SAIS QUOI. But points in time pass, the oh-so-forward-thinking dazzle of today becomes the stale gimmickry of tomorrow, and people start to notice things they didn’t at first. That firebrand eclecticism starts to look more like indecision or even rote copyism, those arresting timbres grow grating with repeat use, the tenuously-radical optics, when inspected closely, reveal only empty provocation (oh why EVER can’t we just “allow individual companies to… power our lives”). Newer newnesses show up hawking bolder and brighter and better builds of your shit (t. Kero Kero Bonito, Charli XCX, literally any artist describable as “hyperpop”), and suddenly here we are: a once-ahead-of-the-curve mood board dilettante reduced to (or revealed as?) the most exhausting, vapid techno-fetishist NFT shill in music. Like the web3 snake oil salesmen that have seemingly eaten her entire brain, Boucher cannot move on from selling us the future as it appeared in the early 2010s, as evidenced by her latest script kiddie glitterbomb, “I Wanna Be Software”.

Grimes has long been content to let her production and arrangement skills run defense for unfocused songwriting or lackluster lyricism, but here even her fame-swollen budget can do her no favors whatsoever on the ear candy front. The mix of “I Wanna Be Software” is so choked with gaudily rendered reverberation, so aimlessly ornate in its periphery, that the ear can’t help drifting to the track’s punishingly uncreative core: a soulless 4/4 thud and a barely-there synthpop patter circling that stiff, shrinking melody. Say what you want about the turgid industrial AI worship of “We Appreciate Power”, it still had the forcefulness to wedge that place-in-France splinter of a hook in my grey matter; this music is too empty and boring to even earn the flaccid discourse bait Boucher has paired it with. She’s never needed words more, and they’ve never let her down harder.

The most interesting (only conceivable) question raised by “I Wanna Be Software” is: why the hell would anyone want to be software? One can only presume the narrative voice here earnestly does, given the lyrics consist largely of rephrasings of the titular conceit: uploading souls, living in the cloud, minds becoming computers, does your tiny mundie flesh-brain GET IT YET that we’re doing a transhumanism??? Okay, el-oh-el, but like, to what end, though? As per usual, the music steps in where her pen falls short: for the lewk. Grimes wants to be software because being software is “evocative” and “futurist” in vaguely stylish ways that let her emphatically gesture towards a vaporous sense of prescience, all while trotting out her usual flat, affected Crystal Castles/Starfucker rips to more diminished returns than ever. It doesn’t sound like the transcendent next stage of human social evolution or even like the fractured online cultures of here and now, though, and it sure as hell doesn’t have the teeth to be deadpan commentary on either the above OR some theoretical dystopian Matrix future. It just sounds like a commercial for a shitty VR game. There’s no emotional weight to its flesh-for-sci-fi edge; it wants software, but what it ends up with seems a lot closer to adware.

Take it from a digital native: you do NOT want to be software. The things that keep you from merging consciousness with your TikTok feed aren’t “holding you back”, they’re keeping you healthy and sane. Gushing over the mere concept of reified digital space as though it’s somehow aspirational for or preferential to the actual physical space you and I are in right now is some real ass-backwards doublethink nonsense and I am not about it, least of all expressed in poetry this insultingly instructional. Claire Boucher can kindly take her dreams of infinite digital princessdom and escaping from yucky climate-changey meatspace into her smartphone and fuck off back to the blockchain with them. And if I’m missing her point, then she can come back when she’s got a real second verse to prove it.


Sputnik Singles Chart:

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  2. Regina Spektor – “Becoming All Alone” (3.9)
  3. The Wonder Years – “Oldest Daughter” (3.7)
  4. Yeule – “Too Dead Inside” (3.5)
  5. Arcade Fire – “The Lightning I, II” (3.2)
  6. Phoebe Bridgers – “Sidelines” (3.1)
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  9. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Black Summer” (2.3)
  10. Avril Lavigne – “Bite Me” (2.3)
  11. Weezer – “A Little Bit of Love” (2.3)
  12. Shinedown – “Planet Zero” (2.2)
  13. Grimes – “Shinigami Eyes” (1.9)
  14. Daine – “Boythots” (2.7)
  15. Orgy – “Empty” (1.6)

Shinigami {eyeroll}

Omg ty Shinigami Eyes sucked

lmao i was just thinking about that dan olson video the other day in relation to grimes excellent shout

yo this writeup has that JE NE SAIS QUOI in fucking spades

Aw merci Milo! this is the first thing in ages where I have actively thought "it is vitally important that I trash this as viciously as I can muster" so I'm glad to hear it reads well

Incredible song

It really truly is

This HIT of a hitpiece persuaded me to finally hear this and uh

damn, I thought Shinigami Eyes was as low as she could go.

Oh, wait this is catchy

Oof I um think it is not

i don’t entirely hate the chorus and the outro vocal bit is kinda nice

Yeah the chorus is pretty

Outro vocal is, mercifully, merely dull rather than egregiously dull

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