Grimes (aka Claire Boucher) has reiterated claims that she plans to stop making albums in the near future, saying in a new article – where she and M.I.A. (real name Mathangi Arulpragasam) spoke at length for an “in conversation” feature – that after releasing “one more album”, she’s “going to do things that are more helpful to people”.
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The feature, published by PAPER yesterday (October 18), came in support of Arulpragasam’s just-released sixth album, ‘MATA’. Much of her conversation with Boucher centred on themes of economics and religion, with a large portion outlining the artist’s recent conversion to Christianity.
At one point in the chat, Arulpragasam offered the belief that Christianity “reminds you that it’s okay to let things go, be compassionate, forgive and think about something bigger than what your actual situation is at this moment”. She linked that sentiment to Buddhism and Hinduism – which she followed closely before becoming a Christian – noting that she was drawn to the latter around the time of her 2013 album ‘Matangi’ because “it came up with a concept that a woman can be a musician”.
“Matangi was a musician and could stick up for justice or freedom of speech or truth,” she said. “And [there are] the untouchables, which are underprivileged people and outcasts of society. You don’t always have to represent this elite, polished aesthetic to be an entertainer or a musician, which is something that I know I can afford. I could clean myself up and present this Instagram image, but I purposefully don’t bother doing it because it’s okay to live within certain means and empower people to feel good in their skin.”
Arulpragasam and Boucher went on to discuss how, because of its fraught relationship with religion, western society has become overly focussed on perfection and success – the latter opining that “we have to have a mass societal collapse and that’s the only way forward” – which led to Arulpragasam to slyly reference the recent controversies that stemmed from her inflammatory comments on social media.
“We live in a society where you have to have success blinders on and go full fucking throttle that, unfortunately, people are not critical thinkers,” she said, “And now they’ve got the fear of speaking out because you get shadow banned and censored, so it’s getting worse. Everyone wants to be perfect, so it’s going to be difficult to get everyone to think in a 360, mindful way. Think of the trees and the Earth and the planet, and think of your own cells and the stars.”
Responding to this, Boucher said: “The problem is everyone’s stuck in fight or flight because we need universal healthcare and we need housing. There must be a social safety net because you can’t enlighten everybody when people can’t think about anything besides survival.”
The pair continued to express their thoughts on how the US’ fixation with economic power is hindering its ability to do good in society. Boucher explained: “We have the freaking solutions and we’re not using them. LA is too corrupt to put in a desalination plant because politicians don’t want to spend however many billions of dollars it would take to provide LA with clean water.
“They don’t want to do it because they don’t want to do anything controversial and it would take more years to build than their term. So everyone’s disincentivized when there’s all these super easy solutions and smart people all over the world coming up with them. We know what to do, we just aren’t doing it.”
Arulpragasam then joked that Boucher should “get some money off Elon [Musk, Boucher’s ex]” to fund those ambitions, to which she replied: “I’m probably going to put out one more album and then I’m going to do things that are more helpful to people.”
Sharing the sentiment, Arulpragasam added: “I can’t wait for this album to come out and actually go and do that. There is a part of me that wants to keep going straight and drive through Mexico, through South America and really take in what’s happening and what people need and do it instead of saying it. My thing is going to be affordable housing. I want to dedicate my life to that for the next five, 10 years.”
Further delving into the subject of affordable housing, Boucher revealed that she’s “literally working on a housing bill in Austin, right now”, with Arulpragasam noting that “we can make music for fun and actually get into proper things, and I think affordable housing is the thing”.
Last December, Boucher stated that she plans to wind down her musical output after releasing her next album as Grimes, which is tentatively titled ‘Book 1’. Saying at the time that “celebrity culture is suffocating”, she explained: “I’m not quitting music but def[initely] changing my main day job after [‘Book 1’]. Music industry feels old and tired, reliant on archaic systems.”
Last month, Boucher told fans that ‘Book 1’ is done and could be issued in two volumes. She later teased that her first songs with her “AI girl group”, NPC, will be featured on the album. So far, NPC have released one single in the Chris Lake collab ‘A Drug From God’.
Previously, the star said her new album would be a “space opera” about a lesbian AI being called Claire De Lune, “an artificial courtesan who was implanted in a simulation”. Meanwhile, in March, a writer for Vanity Fair described the record as Boucher’s “‘Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness’ with a hint of ‘Lemonade’”.
Meanwhile, Arulpragasam revealed earlier this week that she’ll no longer be involved in this year’s GQ Men of the Year Awards, with the magazine severing ties with her over controversial tweets about vaccines.
Last Thursday (October 13), the artist shared a series of tweets comparing vaccines for COVID-19 to Alex Jones’ reprehensible conspiracy theories about the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. She was later profiled by The Guardian, who asked her about her views on vaccine skepticism. On the topic, she said: “The language they use to attack anybody is to say: ‘Oh, she’s an anti-vaxxer’ or blah blah blah. And it’s like, no, not really.”
The controversy overshadowed the release of ‘MATA’, which arrived last Friday (October 14) and was previewed by singles like ‘Popular’ and ‘Beep’. In August, she partially attributed the album’s lengthy rollout to delayed guest spots from Doja Cat and Nicki Minaj (who do not appear on the album), saying that “if [the album] isn’t out [in September] I will leak it myself”.