St. Vincent’s Self-Titled Stroke of Genius

By: Nadia D.

Mar 30 2014

Category: Uncategorized

1 Comment

Have you yet discovered St. Vincent? No? After 3 other (equally noteoworthy) albums, and a collabo with David Byrne of (the legendary) THE TALKING HEADS, I’m surprised! (The duo was on the Colbert Report promoting their album back in 2012, and Annie herself was recently a guest promoting this most recent album, as well. Apparently ultra-conservative character Colbert is even a fan of the eclectic!)

Granted, she’s only been active in the album-releasing game for about 7 years (AND LET’S NOT NEGLECT THE FACT SHE WAS PART OF CULT THE POLYPHONIC SPREE), but that’s no excuse, friend. (Signing under Loma Vista/Republic for this record has been a boon to her recent publicity, though.)

Since you’re blissfully unaware of the fact that you’ve been missing out on this doe-eyed, curly-haired beauty’s work (though I did feature her brilliance-in-song-form “Surgeon” here), allow me to destroy whatever lies you could tell yourself that you should continue on with your life without being exposed to her magnificence. Boom.

St. Vincent
released 25 February 2014

1. Rattlesnake – If you don’t like synth, well, this track isn’t for you. Or voice modulation. But I suggest you GET OVER IT, anyway. Her lyrics tug at your inner adolescent; who hasn’t felt like they’re “the only one in the world”? Srsly. What a clever message under all those bloops and bleeps. Fantastic opener. Bravo.

2. Birth in Reverse – Arguably my least favorite track, yet still incredibly well-done. It’s a socio-political commentary on a life in the suburbs. I mean, there are hoards of shows which do the same. I guess I’m bored with that premise. The artistic merit is still high, however, musically.

3. Prince Johnny – Can’t. Get it. Out of. My. Head. She truly has a voice on her, it’s not all modulated!  A sad song to a sad friend with a crying chorus. It’s tragically beautiful.

4. Huey Newton – A song about a founder of the Black Panther Party. Apparently this was induced by Ambien? (Read the commentary here) Had I not done my research on this, I may have just taken this as a fictitious character, or an acid trip gone bad, with all those heavy guitar riffs. Ambien’s close enough.

5. Digital Witness – Grooooooooovin’. A commentary on how we turn our private lives into this marvel for others on all social platforms. Done with the new-age big band. Done right.

6. I Prefer Your Love – Not my feelings on Jesus, truly. But that’s ok, because it’s a song about her mom, which, for some people, is an indescribable bond. It is a hauntingly lovely track with just enough backbeat to keep this ADD-er from getting distracted and bored. She knows what she’s doing.

7. Regret – She shouldn’t ever “Regret” this song. Ebb and flow. Hard to do with some serious guitar and this lilting, halting melody. I appreciate how she draws attention to her most profound lyrics at 2:17. Masterful.

8. Bring Me Your Loves – I feel like I was instantly transmitted into a pinball machine. Then met by greedy, militant Cyborgs. If ever you needed an intro to the experimental genre, this is an impeccable track to get lost in. Throw away your preconceived notions of what a song “should” be and dance your pants off. Like a crazy person. Which I just did.

9. Psychopath – I appreciate how raw her voice is in the first verse. Not overworked at all, truly quite raw… until the reverb kicks in pre-chorus. Then her ethereal upper range and biting guitar riffs take over and this tune evolves into an epic synth-pop, dance-inducing joyride.

10. Every Tear Disappears – As if the title wasn’t poetic enough, listen to those lyrics, man. Surprisingly enough, this is actually one of the lyric-lightest songs on the album, but each phrase has its truth and beauty. It’d be a great track to be laying down, crazy-drunk to before passing out. IJS. (Or for strutting down the catwalk in a fashion show… also loaded. But likely on coke.)

11. Severed Crossed Fingers – I’m a fan of some sneaking minor chord progressions, they have their place. In this case, especially for what could be considered a “slow jam” (YOU KNOW MY THOUGHTS), this tactic serves to hold my interest. And what could be considered the bridge (from about 2:34-2:48) reminded me SO much of the energy-building phrase in James Blake’s “I Never Learnt to Share” (3:10ish-3:41… YOU KNOW MY THOUGHTS!) that I can’t help but love this song in its entirety. A definitive end to a gorgeous album, that didn’t leave me unsatisfied. Well played, Annie Clark. Well. Played.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I dig it. I dig it, I dig it, I dig it. Holy crap, this is near about artistic perfection. Masterfully produced (cheers to John Congleton, I am a fan!), and it shows us who Annie Clark is as her alter ego, St. Vincent. Jump on the bandwagon now, y’all… this young lady will be making incredible music for years to come! ♦♦♦♦¾/5.

One comment on “St. Vincent’s Self-Titled Stroke of Genius”

  1. […] OH. MAH. GAH. I actually kind of love that this track didn’t make it onto her most recent album (definitely on the short list for my Album of the Year), because I get to hear things anew. This […]

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