Album/Single: Player of Games
Label: Columbia Records
Grimes’s new single “Player of Games' ' is the musical version of her infamous post-breakup Karl Marx/Dune-inspired photoshoot.
While it might be hard to imagine a photoshoot as a song, the post-ironic feeling both give off are oddly similar: getting photographed in an outfit costing thousands of dollars while reading the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx, living with Elon Musk and also claiming to not be a communist vs. releasing a song with heavy allusions to said breakup with Musk. Lyrics like, “How can I compare to the adventure out there?” or “Even love couldn't keep you in your place but can't you love me like that?” read like entries from a WattPad fanfiction about a billionaire with generational wealth.
However, the biggest disappointment of “Player of Games” is apparent in the context of Grimes’s discography (“Love” excluded); it sounds like a parody of what her music once was: ethereal. As the first to solidify ethereal as a genre, Grimes’s “Player of Games” does not fit with her own standard. Her own definition states that ethereal music is, “experimentalism with strong elements of pop and universal beauty.”
There is no experimentalism here. “Player of Games'' contains generic art pop and EDM elements that could easily be found in a release trailer for most major video games. Grimes’s vocals are deeper than her past tracks but other than that minor change, there is no sign of experimentation.
Even if you agree with Grimes on politics or billionaires, you don’t have to separate the art from the artist to know that this song misses every mark.