“People really love to tear apart the things I say,” Grimes told Apple Music with cheerful candour, citing a telling line from her 2019 song “My Name Is Dark”: “I’m not shy but I refuse to speak/Because I don’t trust you to understand me.” She laughed. “I really feel that lyric.” But Grimes makes herself heard, all right. The strength of her convictions and the iconoclastic force of her music have made her one of the 21st century’s most fearless artists. Born Claire Boucher in 1988 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Grimes has blazed her own trail since the late 2000s. She emerged during a dynamic period in leftfield electronic pop when dance-adjacent sounds were spinning off into scenes like vaporwave and witch house. Grimes’ early music, best captured on 2012’s Visions, shared those styles’ emphasis on atmosphere and mystery, though it had a playful spirit that was hers alone. And if Grimes was too independent to follow anyone else’s rules, repeating herself wasn’t in the cards either. With 2015’s Art Angels, she traded ethereal electro-pop for a grittier sound, embracing ’90s alt-rock long before that decade’s comeback was even on the horizon. Five years later, she flipped the script yet again: Miss Anthropocene, darker and more mournful, is steeped in loss: the death of friend and manager Lauren Valencia; the trauma of climate change; the ravages of the opioid epidemic. But it also represents Grimes at her most creatively unfettered, filtering goth bangers, sampled bird song, and even Bollywood influences into an album “about modernity and technology through a spiritual lens”. A lot of the record involves giving in to “negative feelings”, she admitted, “which feels irresponsible as a writer sometimes, but it's also just so cathartic.” The apocalyptic album’s timing, arriving right as the COVID-19 pandemic hit North America, only confirmed that Grimes’ vision of the future is scarily prescient.