These days, Grimes is an often-controversial figure and her recent music is kind of a mixed bag, but when she released her breakthrough album and 4AD debut Visions -- which turns 10 today -- she was a revolutionary. She emerged out of the experimental underground, and with Visions, she held onto the values of that scene but shaped her music into something that was palatable on a much wider scale. Less than a month after the album's release, music critic and author Brandon Stosuy called its single "Oblivion" "some generation's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit.'" By the end of the 2010s, Gorilla vs Bear had named it the best song of the decade. Brandon's claim holds up; like "Teen Spirit" and Nevermind, "Oblivion" and Visions spawned tons of imitators. It's hard to imagine alt-pop -- one of the dominant music genres of the 2010s -- happening without Visions, and even a decade later, almost none of those artists feel as inventive as this album still does. About a year after its release, Grimes put out a list of her favorite songs of all time, and it included stuff like Taylor Swift, Mariah Carey, and Paramore alongside stuff like Burial, Butthole Surfers and Joanna Newsom alongside stuff like Tool, Nine Inch Nails, and Marilyn Manson. That list may not seem crazy now, but in 2013, people wondered if she was trolling. It's hard to imagine the barriers between pop music and experimental music collapsing the way they did without Grimes' influence.

Visions not only shifted the landscape of both pop and underground music; it also remains a remarkable album. When you listen to "Oblivion" and the album's other big single "Genesis" today, they still feel like world-conquering singles, and they also still feel too weird to have had the impact that they did. Outside of those two big songs, Visions is still the gift that keeps on giving. Songs like "Circumambient" and "Visiting Statue" are even weirder than the singles, but still have pop smarts. Grimes' love of '90s R&B comes through on a song like "Vowels = space and time," but in a totally deconstructed, fucked up way. A song like "Nightmusic" (which features Majical Cloudz and helped put them on the map) gives off the same pop bliss as "Oblivion" and "Genesis," while a song like "Eight" proves she hadn't lost the far-out vibes of her underground days. Some songs are admittedly more enduring and memorable than others, but Visions remains a great record, and even ten years later, I'm still hearing new things in it.


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