Album Review: ‘St. Vincent’ by St. Vincent

Originally posted on Noise Polluter

If you take St. Vincent’s discography and play a game of “One of These is Not Like the Other,” you’ll have quite a difficult time, seeing as none of the albums are like one another; each has its own distinct identity.  This is what Annie Clark has come to gain praise for:  crafting, innovating, and inventing sounds that redefine the very construct of pop, alternative, or whatever genre people choose to place her in, time after time.  The truth is that there is no mold to fit the expansive sounds of St. Vincent.

Largely veering away from anything anyone could have expected from her, St. Vincent’s new self-titled manages to retain a very individualistic quality while at the same time taking pages from her past work, bringing forth an album well beyond the 21st century; chock-full of ear-splitting but meticulously constructed guitar riffs and lyrics that are pure poetry, while still colored with the wry humor, lovelorn nostalgia, and passive aggressiveness that St. Vincent is known for.

Songs such as “Digital Witness” and “Huey Newton” serve as the poster children of the album, both carrying an undercurrent of contempt for the technological age of today, while in different forms.  The album slows down on “I Prefer Your Love,” a ballad that would presumably get lost among the fervor of riffs in other songs, but is exquisitely carried out and serves almost as a palate cleanser. “Prince Johnny,” a lyrical narrative of a boy looking to be found relevant, is quite honestly the best track on the album, and sounds like it could have been a bonus track on 2012’s Strange Mercy; however, its magnificence would have been lost among the tracks similar to it.  Its inclusion on St. Vincent among the gritty riffs of “Birth in Reverse” and “Regret,” and the brilliant insanity of “Bring Me Your Loves” add a completely new dimension not only to the album, but to St. Vincent’s music overall, showing Clark not only as a true master of her craft, but also as a ever-changing, continually powerful musical force.