Grimes: “REALiTi”

by Stephen

Seventy Six is the number of times I’ve listened to Grimes’ new song “REALiTI” in the past two days. That being said, there is an irresistibly effervescent draw to the fluidity of Boucher’s pixie-pitched voice and the song’s thumping electro-bass; all fortified by Boucher’s whimsy choral ennui that is wholly reminiscent of a vintage Sophia Coppola film. And to suss out that comparison even further, REALiTi’s music video, also directed by Boucher, blends visual tropes of a “stranger in a strange land” with her wistfully lyrical inquiry (“Where do you go?/Where do you stay?/I go back alone”), all faintly akin to Coppola’s 2003 film, Lost in Translation.

Listening to the song while watching the video is a cinematically chemical experience, especially as visuals of Asia’s hyper-neon techno-metropolises splice in and out alongside Boucher’s lines about death’s dynamism and her ever-striving existence. In there, the song seems to point towards a raw realness that underlies our bubbled existence in today’s world. “I want to peer over the edge and see in death/If we are always the same,” sings Boucher to her invisible, current lover as she, if just for a second, expresses a desire to slip beyond her present plane of serenity and peek into the future, forcing herself to come face to face with her inner doubts and fears.

Overall, there is a reminiscent mindfulness to “REALiTi” as it pokes and prods the general concept of one’s being in the past, present, and future, et al. And despite her pondering previous flights of fancy (“There was a time when the music would play”) and speculating future uncertainties (“Oh, I fear that no love will ever be like this again”), Boucher’s impulsive digressions collapse back into her present state as she coos, “Oh baby, there are mountains to climb/Taking all my time”. She’s simultaneously awoken from her dreams and nightmares, ready to face the present for what it is. It’s a battle-cry as she finishes the chorus: “Oh when I get up, this is what I see/Welcome to reality”. It’s an anthem that disregards notions of legend and grandeur by chasing after what just is.