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What’s Missing from Miss Anthropocene, Grimes’ Latest Album

We discuss Grimes' latest album, Miss Anthropocene, and whether it misses the point when it comes to climate change. Read our take and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.

Grimes. She had a baby with Elon Musk, who is known for helping the planet by pushing electric cars to market. But is he really into helping the planet, or just an opportunist billionaire? He also made private space travel (dependent on fossil fuel) a thing, so that’s debatable. 

But since this is about Grimes, let’s turn back to the new mama. Just like her baby’s conceptual name (X AE A-XII), Grimes’ latest and fifth album title “Miss Anthropocene” raises questions. Let’s start with the obvious.  

 

Anthropocene

What does anthropocene mean? 

Maybe you learned we live in the geologic epoch known as Holocene in science class. According to most scientists, it’s our current epoch and it’s been going on since the last ice age. But not according to Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen, who said in 2000 that we’re living in the “Anthropocene.” 

“Anthropo-” is the Greek prefix for humankind, so the word points the finger at us for all those unamusing changes like mass extinction and rising temperatures in the atmosphere. The term “Anthropocene” obviously has a lot of (negative) environmental connotations. 

And though it was originally popularized by a scientist, lots of art-world people love to use it, too--like Grimes.

 

Grimes Miss Anthropocene Deluxe Album Cover

Why did Grimes name her album Miss Anthropocene? 

In short: wordplay. She highlights our epoch, even with a touch of environmental sympathy, but she also riffs off of the word “misanthrope,” which means a person or figure that dislikes humans. 

 

Does Grimes' album make a statement about climate change? 

With that kind of title, you might expect her to create a global warming anthem or call to action. But plot twist! Instead, she designs a fantasy realm led by a female misanthrope signing on to say that climate change is good

Rather than stand up against, fight or call out climate change hypocrites, Grimes uses the album to personify climate change in all of its evil. So, it feels like a wishy washy anticlimax. 

We get it. Climate change has constantly been dragged out of the realm of fact and presented as a matter of public opinion. It’s been politicized heavily. Some people want to just remain on the fence about these “issues” (facts) to avoid ruffling feathers. 

But our time, the Anthropocene, is asking for more than that. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a climate action anthem? Something we could throw on the speakers to get us excited about compost and recycling and renewable energy? Well, this is not it. 

Listening to Grimes music

Is the music any good? 

It’s not bad. Grimes’ signature vocals float nicely over the dark synth-pop metal beats. Listen and let us know what you think. 

 

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Article written by Erica Eller


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