“Venus Fly” might be one of the most radio-ready tracks on Art Angels, but like its namesake plant, its allure is a pretext for destruction. Infectious and danceable, the track is an effort to reclaim the dance floor as a safe haven for anyone who’s ever felt marginalized or fetishized by creeps and voyeurs.
The most critical step in dismantling this system is a free—and ecstatic—eschewing of the beauty standards that turn a night on the town into a night of gawking, pitting women against patriarchy (and each other). “Why you looking at me now?” sneers featured guest Janelle Monáe, daring her onlookers to maintain their strobe-lit glances as she pulls her teeth out, cuts her hair short, and scatters her pearls across the floor like marbles. Grimes’ coy, airy reiterations of her compatriot’s questions on the chorus are even more sinister, a little bit of cotton-candy fluff before she unleashes a breakdown that isn’t so much a four-on-the-floor freakout as the musical incarnation of Medusa’s head: nightmarish, monstrous, all-powerful, freezing fuckboys where they stand. Such is the subversive sweetness of “Venus Fly“: no matter how in step it may seem with the rest of the rave, it’s Grimes’ trojan horse for revolution. Review by Zoe Camp