Happy hump day internet. Today’s song of the day will get you over the hump and looking forward to the weekend.
So far this week, we’ve been looking at songs that defy genre, or fuse two or more together. Monday, we looked at Cake’s “Comfort Eagle” from 2001. While yesterday, we explored Sufjan Stevens’ “I Want To Be Well”, from his 2014 album, “Age of Adz”.
The song we’ll be covering today comes from another artist known for throwing off genre conventions: Grimes. In her music, Grimes draws on many genres, including but not limited to pop, electronic, dance, drum and bass, ambient, and dark wave.
Kill V. Maim
“Kill V. Maim” is a single from Grimes’ 2015 album, “Art Angels”, and reportedly Grimes’ favorite track from the album. And not only does it bend genre, but gender as well. She told Q Magazine, “Kill V. Maim” is written from the perspective of Al Pacino in The Godfather Pt II. Except he’s a vampire who can switch gender and travel through space”.
Now I don’t know why this movie doesn’t exist, but it should. I’m so down for a gender-bendy, sci-fi-vampire remake of Godfather. I wish more artists would take bold, interesting risks like this.
Apparently though, this is just the way that Grimes sees music. In an interview with The Fader, she discusses her take on singing and songwriting. “I hate singing, it’s not something I identify with at all. I’m pretty much always pretending to be someone else when I’m singing.” As she puts it, “music for me, it’s like fan fiction.”
The music video for “Kill V. Maim” was directed by Grimes and her brother. Stand out scenes feature Grimes driving a modded-out pink car, wearing black wings, and dancing in a creepy, underground rave.
Throughout “Kill V. Maim”, Grimes speaks from the perspective of Al Pacino as a gender-fluid space vampire. From the opening lines, you can see the parallels she draws.
“I got in a fight, I was indisposed
I was in, despite all the wicked prose
But I’m only a man, and I do what I can”
Here we get some context for the rest of the song. The Godfather is trying to do what’s best, but has to take care of some business first. It’s nothing personal, just business. We see him acting in response to forces around him, caught in a cycle of masculinity and violence. The line, “I’m only a man, and I do what I can”, pops up several times in the song, driving this point in.
The chorus is a chest-thumping declaration that he has no intention of behaving according to the laws or rules set down by others.
Looking so precious
You gave up being good when you declared a state of war”
The spelling chant of “behave” almost sounds like a cheerleader’s cry, and may be a signal that the Godfather has just switched to the Godmother. This is backed up by the line, “Italiana mobster”, using the feminine version of Italian. “Looking so precious” could be a jab at how women are expected to present themselves in society, an expectation that Grimes refuses here.
I have to say that despite how weird of a song this is, it’s one of my favorite Grimes tracks. It may be that I like it specifically because it’s weird, and different, and bold. I wish that there were more artists out there who took big swings like Grimes. I also wish that someone will pick up on this amazing adaptation of “The Godfather” that’s just begging to be made. With “Kill V. Maim” playing in the background for the trailer.