The cover of St. Vincent’s new album features Annie Clark in stockings, lingerie, and dyed blonde hair looking seductively at the camera with the title Daddy’s Home in a 70s font. The reality is far from the fantasy being presented. The title is a reference to her father returning home after being in prison for several years for fraud. On the title track, Clark turns visiting her dad in prison into one of the more intriguing tracks on the album where she “signed autographs in the visitation room/waiting for you the last time, inmate 502”.
On her sixth album, St. Vincent presents several soulful funky tracks. “Down and Out Downtown” is a laid number about coming home the morning after the night before. It does a better job than the opener and first single “Pay Your Way in Pain” that strives to sound like Prince but it’s electro-funk comes up short. The album gains some steam towards the end with “Candy Darling”, a quick two-minute ode to the Andy Warhol actress.
The songs that work best are the ones where Clark looks inward. On “Somebody Like Me” she asks over an acoustic guitar “Does it make you a genius or the fool of the week to believe enough in somebody like me” and adulthood hits on “My Baby Wants a Baby” where she wonders “what would my baby say, I got your eyes and your mistakes”.
“…at the holiday party” is intended to be a modern take on the The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. While it is not as great as that classic, it is a really cool track about the pharmacy that some have in their purses. There are a few bright spots on “Daddy’s Home” as St. Vincent is far too talented not to show her skills but the sub funk/R+B tracks are not the area where she excels. Co-produced with Jack Antonoff, Daddy’s Home is a rare miss for both.
Masseduction is St Vincent’s fifth album and first with acclaimed producer Jack Antonoff who is everywhere at the moment. Similar to past releases, this is a mix bag of sounds from the talented and capital A artist, Annie Clark. First single “New York” was a song of the year choice for us from the second we heard it and second single “Los Ageless” has a killer chorus: “how can anybody love you and lose you and not lose their minds too?”
First track “Hang On Me” is the most downtempo sound here followed by the peppiest in “Pills”. The 80s robotic funk of the title track and “Sugar Boy” are less successful but the apoplectic “Fear the Future” is a roar of sound. The fury of an overdosing “Young Lover” is another high: “I heard the robins and thought they were sirens, wake up young lover, I thought you were dyin’”. On Masseduction St Vincent continues to be one of the most interesting artists working around the fringes of the mainstream.
p.s I thought the album was called Mass-Education until a few days ago…
Back in 2009 I bought Annie Clark’s, aka St. Vincent, second album Actor. Even with many positive reviews, I just never really got into it. Perhaps it was because I was going through a relationship break up at the time, it didn’t make a huge impression on me at first and I never got back around to it. I had moved on, I had a condo to decorate. From that time, I admired St Vincent from afar but didn’t hear much of her music for several years.
Released in late February, St Vincent’s self-titled album brought me back into the fold. I wanted to get back into her so picked it up… well, ordered it and it took well over a month to receive. Even after making the decision to come back to her, I was late in doing it. I’m glad I did though, St. Vincent the album is a spiky triumph.
In 2012, St Vincent released an album with David Byrne. A Talking Heads influence permeates through, “Digital Witness”. All herky-jerky funk with synthesized horns. “Prince Johnny” has the feel of a torch song with an electronic choir humming just beneath the instruments. However, lyrics about “the time we went and snorted” and “holding court in bathroom stalls” suggest something darker is on Ms Clark’s mind.
“Birth In Reverse” sizzles with angular beats and guitar riffs. “I prefer your love to, Jesus” opens the ballad “I Prefer Your Love”. With a mournful synth carrying the track, it comes across as an updated version of Sinead’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”. The album ends on a high note with “Severed Cross Fingers” – “We’ll be heroes on every bar stool when seeing double beats not seeing one of you”. Of everything released so far this, St Vincent is a wondrous album that stands taller than most.