Grimes' WarNymph radio is the dystopian soundtrack you didn't know you needed
Grimes launched a new show on Apple Music this week called WarNymph Radio, a nod to her newly-incarnated digital alter ego, created to help share the load of public appearances as the musician juggles working through the late stages of her pregnancy and beyond.
WarNymph Radio’s first episode dropped on Apple Music’s Beats 1 stream Wednesday, featuring Grimes interviewing actress Alexa Demie, star of the hit HBO show Euphoria. But its release was overshadowed by the deluge of news related to coronavirus, which is a shame.
Grimes’s new radio show is refreshingly casual and unpolished — a marked departure from her painstakingly produced studio albums. Putting on WarNymph Radio in the background while you’re driving, cooking, cleaning, working out or whatever feels like dropping by Grimes’s studio and getting the artist’s undivided attention for an hour.
I love hearing her lisp! It’s so humanizing. After listening to Grimes swap makeup tips with Demie and share factoids about the tracks she selected for the show, I want to be her friend so bad, dang it. Even if being her pal meant hanging out with Elon Musk from time to time, too.
Speaking of Mr. Musk, Grimes’s boyfriend and baby daddy, one of my favorite moments from the inaugural episode of WarNymph Radio happened relatively early in Grimes’ set. The third track she played was Yung Baby Tate’s “Pretty Girl (Remix)” featuring Mulatto & Killumantii. It was partly a salute to Demie’s character in Euphoria, the popular Maddy, whose strength and vulnerability is wrapped up in her “pretty girl” status. But there’s also a line in Killumantii’s verse that goes: “I'm a young fly chick, might catch me zoomin' in a Tesla,” which made me guffaw in this context. By contrast: I was, uh, not amused when Grimes closed her set with her boyfriend's debut EDM track "Don’t Doubt Ur Vibe," which segued into Lady Gaga's new single "Stupid Love." Alrighty then!
But back to the killer music and quality conversation. There’s something so restorative, in our algorithmically over-curated modern world, about being guided through an hour of bumpin’ tunes by an actual human with excellent taste. That used to be the de facto way we listened to music; DJs were the gatekeepers of what aired on the radio. The internet has democratized the way we distribute music, and that’s gifted the world all manner of brilliant art that wouldn’t see the light of day otherwise. Grimes talked about this in the context of Lil Nas X, actually, while introducing his track “Rodeo,” a collaboration with “regular Nas.” Country music stations refused to play “Old Town Road” initially, but then the song went viral on TikTok.
Segueing from chatter about TikTok and eating vegetables with Demie, Grimes introduced the song “Bikini Porn” by Tove Lo with, “This song is weirdly incredible, and I can’t even say why, it’s just weirdly incredible.” WarNymph Radio is a platform for Grimes to play whatever the fuck she wants, just because she can, while talking about art and life with whoever inspires her. It’s funny that the show, named for her digital stand-in, feels so DIY and human, frankly.
Maybe it’s called WarNymph because Grimes pre-taped lots of episodes for Apple that’ll strategically drop whilst the musician takes some time off to adjust to motherhood. That’d be a pretty savvy move. Regardless, Grimes has gifted us — the fans who’ve had her new album, Miss Anthropocene, on repeat since it dropped a few weeks ago — the chance to spend a little more time basking in her talent and intellect. Honestly, WarNymph Radio is a pretty good argument for spending $10 a month on Apple Music.