UPDATE: Listen here
Annie, you slay me.
Seriously, after three albums of fantastical art-pop from Annie Clark’s demonstrative St. Vincent moniker and a collaboration with Talking Head David Byrne, St. Vincent roars back with a fourth and self-titled effort.
Annie has always had a penchant for guitar sound as a backdrop to her idiosyncratic lyrical patterns; it’s never been clearer than on “St. Vincent.” From opener, “Rattlesnake,” to closer, “Severed Crossed Fingers,” Annie weaves her bucket-to-the-face honesty as a sword cuts through chain mail: sharp, swift and unforgiving. The lyric that might catch your ear comes in the second track, “Birth In Reverse:”
oh what an ordinary day / take out the garbage, masturbate
Annie Clark does not care what you think of her morning. It might be bleak to some, but to her, this kind of morning captures her views on what it means to be regressing. To me, “Birth In Reverse” is her commentary on how we all seems so sophisticated as we get older, but really we’re getting more and more child-like.
Incredibly, this album gets denser and prettier at the same time. “Huey Lewis” and “I Prefer Your Love” are gritty love songs and “Digital Witness” and “Psychopath” are funk ballads about some seriously dark topics. I guess we can thank Mr. Byrne for some inspiration on those, but really this music is from the mind of a woman, whose music continues to blossom. For a fourth album to have this many new ideas while still capitulating Annie Clark’s sound is astonishing and an absolute delight.
Small concerns that bothered by on her previous releases, specifically on “Strange Mercy” are gone here: these songs don’t meld like those on the former. Instead, they complement and supplement each other perfectly. It’s obvious that this album has been mixed and sequenced with purpose and with gusto.
I only worry that this album will be lost in the year’s releases as “do you remember February, when this gem was released,” but this worry is minimal. Brava, Annie, you’ve slayed me.