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Watch Grimes wield a lightsaber in the fantasy-inspired ‘Player of Games’ video

The art-pop innovator takes on the Dark King in the clip

By Joe Goggins

Grimes in a still from the 'Player of Games' video, 2021
'Player of Games' is the first work of Grimes' 'BOOK 1' era. Photo: (YouTube)

Grimes has shared the fantastical new video for ‘Player of Games’.

The typically ambitious clip, released yesterday (December 22), sees the Canadian pop polymath locked in an epic duel with a mysterious adversary, the Dark King (portrayed by Andreï Pishchalnikov). Their face-offs include a chess match and something resembling a lightsaber battle, with Grimes wielding a pink blade akin to the iconic ‘Star Wars’ weapons. You can watch it below.

‘Player of Games’ is Grimes’ second single since she signed to Columbia Records back in March. The first, ‘Love’, dropped in September. Both songs appear to be based around the dissolution of her relationship with Tesla tycoon Elon Musk, with widespread online speculation suggesting that allusions to space travel in ‘Player of Games’ are references to Musk, the founder of the SpaceX aerospace company.

“Baby, would you still love me/out on Europa/ or will you forget?” is one such hint, name-checking Jupiter’s largest moon. “Baby, how can I compare/ To the adventure out there,” would appear to be another galactic nod to Musk, despite the fact that he has yet to actually travel into space. The couple at least partially broke off their much-publicised three-year relationship in September, with Musk claiming they are “semi-separated”; they continue to co-parent their one-year-old son, X Æ A-12.

Grimes said on Instagram earlier this month that ‘Player of Games’, which has been featured in the video game ‘Rocket League’, represents the opening of her ‘BOOK 1’ era, although it is unclear whether that will be the title of her forthcoming sixth album, which is expected next year. 

In a video by Vogue that captured her preparations for the Met Gala back in September, she claimed to be in the process of finalising the follow-up to last year’s ‘Miss Anthropocene’, calling it “by far my greatest work that I’ve ever done.” 

Last month, she announced the formation of an “AI girl group” called NPC, along with releasing their first track, a collaboration with the DJ Chris Lake entitled ‘A Drug from God’. The group is intended as “a vehicle for experimentation in new technologies as they become available”, such as “generative characters and music, [different] types of animation, AI-assisted art as well as spiritual technology,” according to a press release.