Grimes’ “Oblivion” Lyrics Meaning

According to Grimes, “Oblivion” was inspired by her being the victim of a violent assault, seemingly at the hands of a man. Under such situations, when the attacker is clearly stronger than the victim, a feeling of powerlessness can result in the latter. And relatedly, by her account it did take some years before Grimes started feeling safe again at night. Such is the sentiment relayed in the first verse, i.e. the vocalist being cognizant of the fact that there are violent criminals lurking in the night, the type that can sprang on you when you least expect it.

That said, the end of the first verse and going into the second is not as readily understandable. It seems that the aforementioned assault may have been sexual in nature. And of course, that would significantly complicate matters in terms of the associated emotions on the part of the victim. But what it appears Grimes is saying in the second verse is that in the grand scheme of things, even “tough” girls like herself need a bit of protection, guidance and sympathy when it comes to things that might happen in the deep of the night.

Lyrics for Grimes' "Oblivion"

Grimes talks about “Oblivion”

In an interview, Grimes referred to this song as being about the unfortunate violent assault perpetrated against her. According to her, the assault haunted her for a number of years. It was so severe that she became extremely paranoid to go out at night.

To her, this song is about empowering herself in a physical sense “amongst a masculine power”.

Grimes explains the meaning of "Oblivion"

When did Grimes release “Oblivion”?

“Oblivion” is, without a doubt, one of Grimes’ very famous songs. It is the third song on the track listing of the singer’s third studio project, “Visions”. This pop tune was officially put out on January 31 of 2012, and its release was made possible by British record label 4AD.


The penning and production of this tune were both handled by the vocalist herself.

Awards and Accolades

This song has featured on multiple “Best Songs” list by various well-known publications. For instance, in 2012, it was rated number 1 on the list of “Top 100 Tracks of 2012”, compiled by Pitchfork. Furthermore, it appeared on NME’s compilation of “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” for that year.

Also, it appears on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “Top 100 Songs of the 21st Century“.


Since its official release, various renditions of “Oblivion” have been put out. Brazilian artist Jaloo released a cover of this tune in 2014. English collective Dry Cleaning released their version of the track in 2021.

Famous Live Performances of “Oblivion”

These are some of Grimes’ unforgettable performances of this song:

Grimes performed this song at Fader Fort by FIAT 2011. The event also featured other artists such as Grimes, Ellie Goulding, Wiz Khalifa and Tinie Tempah.

Grimes alongside Skrillex and Diplo toured across Canada for their “Full Flex Express” tour. They performed “Oblivion” at the Pacific Coliseum on 22nd July, 2012.

Music & Arts Festival Coachella in April 2013 alongside other performances such as Blur, Phoenix and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival on 20th July, 2014. The festival also saw performances by Kendrick Lamar, Beck, Danny Brown to name a few.

Another notable live performance of “Oblivion” took place in 2016. This was when Grimes performed the tune at the Park Stage at the said year’s edition of the Glastonbury Festival.

Media Usage

“Oblivion” has been used in multiple on-screen works. In 2019 it was featured in the action comedy film “Good Boys”, and said film stars Canadian actor Jacob Tremblay. It has also featured on BBC’s drama series “Silent Witness”.


The “Visions” Album

The album “Visions” officially landed on February 21 of 2012. Two record labels, Arbutus Records (a Canadian record label) and 4AD, were responsible for its release.

This project was supported by two singles. “Genesis”, being its lead single, was issued on January 9 of 2012. “Oblivion” was first issued, online, as a promotional single for this album.

“Visions” enjoyed moderate success in the US. It peaked at number 98 on the Billboard 200.  It performed slightly better in the UK, where it reached number 67 on the main albums chart there.

This album was ranked at number 2 on The Guardian’s compilation of “Best Albums of 2012”. It also appeared on similar compilations, prepared by NME and Pitchfork.

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