St. Vincent – “Digital Witness”
When you’re a well-established musician, it can be difficult to surprise listeners and achieve success at the same time. St. Vincent’s self-titled record accomplishes that feat, and it’s in no small part due to “Digital Witness” – an expansive, artful pop masterpiece.
The lyrics are a scathing indictment of “the selfie age”: I can’t show it, if you can’t see me / What’s the point of doing anything?, and the song uses just about everything in its arsenal from a sonic perspective. From the insanely infectious rhythm to the unprecedented prevalence of horns, the track immediately grabs your attention. Annie Clark’s delivery is on-point, crafting one of the catchiest choruses in her entire discography with a layered and highly addictive vocal melody. On top of that, the muted post-chorus (This is no time for confessing) adds yet another hook. Basically, “Digital Witness” comes at listeners overflowing with insanely catchy qualities – from the instrumentals to the multiple melodic hooks – and it’s all wrapped up in a tidy three and a half minute package.
When I think of 2014, there’s no song that sticks out like this uniquely rhythm-driven pop song. It’s telling that NPR ranked this as the #181 greatest song by a female or nonbinary artist in the 21st century. Annie Clark is highly deserving of such recognition, and “Digital Witness” easily belongs on this decade list.