By Declan Murphy
Singer, songwriter, guitarist, avant-garde artist, star, icon Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, wears many hats. So it’s appropriate that her latest effort, MASSEDUCTION, showcases a variety of styles and influences. There’s the classic St. Vincent there – a guitar range that goes from shredding to unsettling and back. There’s new collaborator Jack Antonoff, who lends his distinctly pop influence to more accessible tracks like “New York.” And there are flashes of admired artists – Bowie in particular. But the end result is St. Vincent through and through—an album unified by a single voice if not a single style.
MASSEDUCTION is, admittedly, more pop than Clark’s earlier work. Fans of Strange Mercymay be put off by tracks that veer too much into earworm hooks. But it’s a natural progression from the stellar 2014 self-titled album St. Vincent, building particularly on tracks like “Digital Witness.” The most direct parallel here is “Pills,” with also takes a singular issue and runs it through Clark’s manic imagination.
Highlights include BDSM ode “Savior,” with its sultry, jazzy opening; “Slow Disco,” a romantic, slow track with a melancholy center; and “Happy Birthday Johnny,” the latest in the cross-album saga of Johnny, here a reflection on Clark’s own fame. Previous singles “New York” and “Pills” also hold up even better on the album and are just as enticing as ever. There are really no bad tracks. “Young Lover” brings the energy up with a confident chorus, and album opener “Hang on Me” sets the mood just right. Title track “Masseduction” disappoints a little, but only in comparison to the excellent tracks surrounding it.
All in all, MASSEDUCTION is a triumphant transformation for St. Vincent, and quite possibly my favorite album of the year.
fav track: Savior
Listen to MASSEDUCTION by St. Vincent on Spotify below