Review Summary: Humiliated by age. Terrified of youth.St. Vincent
is one of the most complex pieces of pop music I have ever heard. It took countless listens, countless repeats, for me to come close to lose myself in the breathtaking insanity on this record. And that’s what it is, utter insanity and magnificence. Even though there are signs of form and continuity present in the music, it is almost impossible to predict what is coming next. First you’re listening to an abrasive and schizophrenic funk anthem, but then you are tossed into a melodic pop spectrum the next minute. But then there are the slow crushing moments, where Annie Clarke’s voice shines like a diamond amidst the dirt and rubble. Combining elements of funk, electronica, pop, and countless other genres; St. Vincent is a luscious pop album that breaks down every barrier in its wake.
With all these fiery and rigid genres thrown into a single pit, the expected outcome would seem out of shape and messy. However, St. Vincent found a way to blend these genres together to form something original and stimulating. The crunchy electronic guitar found commonly on most of the experience guides the rest of the instruments into an ensemble of pure constructive chaos. The brass performance on “Huey Lewis” leads the song across an avenue of brilliant sound and atmosphere while Annie’s voice paints the buildings with her abstract lyrics. The music will also sometimes die down into unescapable drum loops and echoed vocals. These sections even out the chaos, threading a thin line of yin and yang into the album that not many artists of our generation can grasp. It’s in these slow, beautiful moments, that the music gives the listener a chance to understand St. Vincent’s bizarre mind. As strange as she may be, what is in her head hits harder than anything t you might expect.
However, there are two songs that stand out among the rest. The aching tribute to Annie’s mother titled “I Prefer Your Love” and the climatic and intriguing closer “Severed Crossed Fingers”. It’s during these two phenomenal specters of music that Annie’s vocal presentation lands among the stars. During “I Prefer Your Love” Annie’s words soar across white clouds while a dense drum loop and uplifting piano occupies the empty space. Her eerie and blissful lyrics light a beacon, with lines such as “I Prefer you to Jesus” and “Little baby on your knees, Cause the world have got you down” feel personal and relatable at the same time. The closer finishes out with a brief and mesmerizing passage of music drive. The production glows on this song, as an angelic acoustic and electric guitar pave the way for the album’s cherubic ending.
Simply put, St. Vincent
is not your normal pop album. It’s an incredible display of the endless possibilities music has to offer. The production is also perfect, and there is not a single blemish or bruise across its crystal clear slate. As for continuity, there is not a single song on this album that isn’t great. Every song has some exhilarating moment in it, making each song sound new and exciting. This will go down as a landmark in Pop history, and is by far one of the most spectacular pop albums of our time.