Review Summary: Annie Clark wants all of your mind...I want all of your mind. Give me all of it.
Mature and positively sure-footed, St. Vincent is definitely at her peak. Here, we find that she is fully focused and has all her attention on the music itself. Throughout the forty minutes of the album, it showcases the magnificent progress Annie Clark has tracked since 2007’s Marry Me
. Clark surely isn’t afraid to get all up in your face and dish out tracks such as Birth in Reverse
and Bring Me Your Loves
, nor is she shy to put out the ode to the New York scene in Prince Johnny
. New to this album is Clark’s newfound edge, in which she goes a step further in her music than she usually did. The heavy use of guitar compared to her previous efforts illustrates this. She also has a more absolute focus on the arrangement of the tracks, crafting them all to perfection. The driving drum beat in Birth in Reverse
? How about the use of brass and the concept of a future where television controls your will in Digital Witness
? Those two are mere footnotes in the massive composition Clark arranged for each individual track, and it’s stunning to see how well they blend together thanks to the great production on the album.
While the use of guitar is heavily utilized, there are also great use of keyboards and other electronic bells and whistles on many of the tracks. These effects add to the staying power of the tracks, and keep a stronghold on the music; not to mention, keyboards play a great part on the ballads, such as I Prefer Your Love
, a tribute to Clark’s mother; the rather poppy Psychopath
, and the astonishing closer Severed Crossed Fingers
. Besides the great focus on instrumentation, are the powerful vocals of Clark herself, demanding your time and attention. She takes her vocal prowess, and brings it a step further in potential classics Huey Newton
; she commands as an all-knowing machine on Digital Witness
, and on Birth in Reverse
, she trumps her critics, as well as society (“The dogs will bark, so let them bark
”/”Here's my report from the edge
It’s impossible to tell where Annie Clark will be in the coming years, and whether or not this is her masterpiece, or if something even greater is waiting beyond this. Clark managed to make something special with St. Vincent
, putting the right amount of groove in her music, but not without leaving out the harder side to her sound either. It’s easy to say that everything
on this album is perfect, and to tell the truth, everything here is perfection personified. From the production to the crafting of all eleven tracks, even the art is perfect, showing not only the eccentric side of Clark, but of her music as well. If this is the best 2014 has to offer, Clark made an excellent choice on bringing it out so early into the year. You'd be doing a great injustice to Annie Clark's music not to give it a try. It's too good not to.
Won't somebody sell me back to me?