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Cover Visions
Released January 31, 2012
Format CD • LP • digital download
Length 48:04
Genre(s) Synthpop • dream pop • art pop • experimental
Writer(s) GrimesDoldrumsMajical CloudzJay Worthy
Producer(s) Grimes • Doldrums • Majical Cloudz
Label(s) Arbutus Records4AD

Visions is the third solo studio album by Canadian musician Grimes, released on January 31st, 2012. Her first since signing with 4AD, the album was recorded entirely on Apple's GarageBand software in Grimes' apartment over a three-week period[1]. It was mixed by Grimes and her manager Sebastian Cowan at their La Brique Studio Space[2]. Visions was streamed on the NPR website a week before it was released in the United States[3].

In November 2012, with the announcement that Visions was named album of the year by record shops Rough Trade and Resident, two exclusive bonus discs were made available with any purchase of the album in each shop, featuring remixes and rare/exclusive tracks[4].

Background and recording process

In 2010, Grimes released her first two albums, Geidi Primes and Halfaxa, in January and September respectively. Later in 2011 she released a split album with d'Eon called Darkbloom. The same year, Grimes began to write, record and produce what would become her third solo album. The album was fully finished during an extended isolation over a three-week period[5] at Grimes' home in Montréal, during which she described her writing process as being "equally enjoyable and tortuous"[6]. During recording, she was reclusive and insomniac with blacked out windows, for nine days, to induce halluncinations, explaining: "You have no stimulation, so your subconscious starts filling in the blanks. I started to feel like I was channelling spirits. I was convinced my music was a gift from God. It was like I knew exactly what to do next, as if my songs were already written". The album was recorded entirely on Apple's GarageBand, using vocal pedals, a sampler and a Juno-G keyboard[7].


No. TitleWriter(s)Producer(s) Length
1. "Infinite ♥ Without Fulfillment"  GrimesGrimes 1:36
2. "Genesis"  GrimesGrimes 4:15
3. "Oblivion"  GrimesGrimes 4:12
4. "Eight"  GrimesGrimes 1:48
5. "Circumambient"  GrimesGrimes 3:43
6. "Vowels = space and time"  GrimesGrimes 4:21
7. "Visiting Statue"  GrimesGrimes 1:59
8. "Be A Body (侘寂)"  GrimesGrimes 4:20
9. "Colour of Moonlight (Antiochus) ft. Doldrums"  Grimes • DoldrumsGrimes • Doldrums 4:00
10. "Symphonia IX (My Wait Is U)"  GrimesGrimes 4:51
11. "Nightmusic ft. Majical Cloudz"  Grimes • Majical CloudzGrimes • Majical Cloudz 5:03
12. "Skin"  GrimesGrimes 6:09
13. "Know The Way"  GrimesGrimes 1:45
Total length:

iTunes Store bonus track

Visions — iTunes Store (bonus track)
No. TitleWriter(s)Producer(s) Length
14. "Christmas Song ft. Jay Worthy"  Grimes • Jay WorthyGrimes 2:58
Total length:

Amazon MP3 bonus track

Visions — Amazon MP3 (bonus track)
No. TitleWriter(s)Producer(s) Length
15. "Angel"  GrimesGrimes 1:22
Total length:

Japanese version bonus tracks

Visions — Japanese version (bonus tracks)
No. TitleWriter(s)Producer(s) Length
16. "Life After Death"  GrimesGrimes 2:48
17. "Ambrosia"  GrimesGrimes 3:31
Total length:

Rough Trade version bonus tracks

Visions — Rough Trade version (bonus tracks)
No. TitleWriter(s)Producer(s) Length
18. "Genesis (Skip Remix)"  GrimesGrimes 4:01
19. "Song for Ric ft. Majical Cloudz"  Grimes • Majical CloudzGrimes • Majical Cloudz 3:19
20. "Be A Body (侘寂) (Baarsden Remix)"  GrimesGrimes 3:25
Total length:

Resident version bonus tracks

Visions — Resident version (bonus tracks)
No. TitleWriter(s)Producer(s) Length
21. "Oblivion (Baarsden Remix)"  GrimesGrimes 3:46
22. "Be A Body (侘寂) (Toroki Remix)"  GrimesGrimes 4:55
Total length:


The music video for Oblivion, directed by Emily Kai Bock[8], was shot in Montréal at Olympic Stadium and at McGill University's Molson Stadium[9], during a football game and a motocross rally[10]. The video debuted on March 2, 2012, and shows Grimes amongst shirtless frat young men, as well as in a men's locker room surrounded by weightlifting athletes[11]. "Art gives me an outlet where I can be aggressive in a world where I usually can't be, and part of it was asserting this abstract female power in these male-dominated arenas — the video is somewhat about objectifying men. Not in a disrespectful way, though", Grimes explained[12]. In an interview with SPIN, she revealed that the song is about "going into this masculine world that is associated with sexual assault, but presented as something really welcoming and nice. The song's sort of about being — I was assaulted and I had a really hard time engaging in any types of relationship with men, because I was just so terrified of men for a while"[13].

The video for Nightmusic was directed by John Londono and premiered on May 10, 2012. It takes place in a "barren, greywashed" landscape, and features Grimes wearing one of the "pussy rings" she designed in collaboration with Montréal-based jeweler and sculptor Morgan Black[14].

The self-directed video for Genesis, which was released as the album's lead single on January 9, 2012, premiered on August 22, 2012[15]. It was filmed in Los Angeles and co-stars rapper and stripper Brooke Candy, whom Grimes describes as "a very contemporary muse". In the video, Grimes is seen alongside a group of friends while driving an Escalade in the desert, holding an albino python in the back of a limousine, and posing in the woods. She said of the concept of the video: "It's loosely based on this painting by my favorite painter, Hieronymus Bosch, called The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things. I wanted to play with Medieval/Catholic imagery. I was raised in a Catholic household and went to a Catholic school, and my childhood brain perceived medieval Catholicism as an action movie: There's this crazy omnipresent guy who can destroy you at any moment"[16].

Critical reception

Visions received mostly positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 80, based on 42 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews"[17]. Lindsay Zoladz of Pitchfork Media awarded the album a "Best New Music" designation, claiming it "showcases a streamlined aesthetic, resulting in a statement that feels focused, cohesive, and assured. It's simple enough to leave room for Grimes to grow, but this thing is so compulsively listenable it's hard to come away from it wanting much more"[18]. The A.V. Club'​s Evan Rytlewski commented that on Visions, Grimes "continues her march toward accessibility, rendering hazy, quixotic sketches into tangible, hook-heavy electro-pop"[19]. Jon Caramanica of The New York Times hailed Visions as "one of the most impressive albums of the year so far"[20]. Rebecca Nicholson of The Guardian described Visions as a "smart, funny album, and it's almost impossible not to dance to it"[21]Clash'​s Matthew Bennett wrote, "With 4AD's renewed vigor in all affairs electonique and Boucher's coherent elevation in both song quality and hook there'll be no stopping this creative, sensual explosion of humanity called Grimes"[22]. Benjamin Boles of NOW called the album "richly textured and inventive", noting that "while Visions is unmistakably 2012 sonically in its references to R&B and hip-hop, it also fits remarkably gracefully into 4AD's impressive back catalogue of dream pop"[23].


AllMusic proclaimed Visions the best album of 2012 and stated, "On Visions, Claire Boucher honed the mix of little-girl-lost vocals and dark synth-scapes she'd forged on her first two Grimes albums, Geidi Primes and Halfaxa, into something just as unique, but far catchier"[24]The Guardian named it the second best album of 2012, calling it "a masterpiece in gonzo pop that is weird, original and derivative at the same time[25]". NME ranked the album at number two on its 50 Best Albums of 2012 list[26]. The album appeared at number five on Clash'​s list of The Top 40 Albums of 2012, and the magazine referred to Grimes as a "creative, sensual explosion of humanity"[27]Pitchfork Media placed the album at number six on its list of The 50 Best Albums of 2012 and praised it as "a triumphant meeting of human and computer, an album that blows the traditions of both pop and experimental music to pieces and glues them back together in gorgeous, entrancing ways"[28]PopMatters included the album at number 11 on its list of The 75 Best Albums of 2012, concluding: "Astoundingly catchy, occasionally haunting, and frequently brilliant, Visions is top-rate art and pop in equal measure, and deserves to be talked about for years to come"[29].

British magazine FACT ranked Visions the 26th best album of 2012 and commented it "moved beyond the circumstantially lo-fi character of her early offerings Geidi Primes and Halfaxa for a profoundly inventive and just plain weird take on electro-pop. While the shifty rhythms can get a bit repetitive, they're usually voiced differently, and they're always paired with otherworldly synth-work that darts into uneasy, industrial territory"[30]Rolling Stone placed Visions at number 33 on its 50 Best Albums of 2012 list, noting the album "uses EDM extremism, medieval chants, sugar-crusted melodies and her own sky-high voice to rethink pop music"[31]. The album was listed on Paste's The 50 Best Albums of 2012 at number 50, and the magazine wrote: "With its constantly shifting tonal landscapes and non-standard structures, it's the kind of music that's exceptionally hard to peg on paper, but that never stops Visions'​ tracks from looping in your head long after it spins to a close"[32].

Oblivion was ranked the best song of 2012 by both Pitchfork Media and PopMatters; the former called it "beautifully fragmented" and stating it "sounds both chilly and machine-like but also radiates human warmth and imperfection"[33], while the latter opined that "this nouveau dream pop triumph is surely the album's calling card, the definitive encapsulation of everything that makes the record (not to mention the musician behind it) so beguiling to listen to"[34]NME named Oblivion and Genesis the sixth and sixteenth best tracks of 2012, respectively[35]Rolling Stone included Oblivion at number 28 on its list of the 50 Best Songs of 2012, writing that on the song, Grimes "drops sugar-dust vocals over a thwunking synth loop, sounding perfectly dreamy until you listen to the words: "I never walk alone after dark / Someone could break your neck / Coming up behind you and you'd never have a clue", the catchiness only makes it creepier"[36].

Visions was shortlisted for the 2012 Polaris Music Prize on July 17th, 2012, but lost out to Metals by Feast[37]. The album won Electronic Album of the Year at the Juno Awards of 2013[38].

Chart performance

Chart Peak


Australian Hitseekers Albums (ARIA)[39] 7
Belgian Albums Chart (Ultrapop Flanders)[40] 46
Belgian Heatseekers Albums (Ultrapop Wallonia)[41] 9
Irish Albums (IRMA)[42] 65
UK Albums (OO)[43] 67
UK Indie Albums (OOC)[44] 8
US Billboard 200[45] 98
US Alternative Albums (Billboard)[46] 17
US Dance/Electronic Albums (Billboard)[47] 8
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[48] 13


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