St. Vincent - St. Vincent

In one week, Annie Clark will release her fourth album as St. Vincent (fifth if you count the 2012 David Byrne collab Love This Giant), a self-titled set of skronking, slinking, sweeping music that affirms her reputation as one of today’s most fascinating and adventurous talents. We’ve already heard studio versions of “Birth In Reverse,” “Digital Witness,” and “Prince Johnny” plus live versions of several other songs. Now the full finished product is available for streaming via The Guardian. Dive into it below.

St. Vincent is out 2/25 via Loma Vista.

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Comments (64)
  1. After hearing “Birth in Reverse” and “Digital Witness” I was wondering if this would be Love This Giant pt. 2. On first listen though, this is definitely different (and better). The slow jams slay.

  2. I just squealed for the first time in my life.

    • You must be forgetting when Street Vincent released her other albums because you also squealed then I’m pretty sure I bet

      • Ah yes, Street Vincent, St. Vincent’s hardcore rap side project. I’m glad this isn’t just a figment of my imagination, as I long thought it was. I assume you also see the worms crawling out of your computer screen that I do. Why can’t I kill them once they emerge from the screen? They seem to just disappear. Any help with this problem would be much appreciated.

  3. Psychopath is my new favorite song of the year (Marissa Nadler’s Dead City Emily is not far behind though). Amazing album overall.

  4. Severed Cross Fingers is stunning. Really remarkable album. Between this, the new Beck, Neneh Cherry, Wild Beasts and Trust, this week is pretty insane for new music. Looking forward to what you folks pick for AOTW next week! It’s gonna be the toughest one this year!

  5. God, this is her best album yet, without a doubt.

  6. This was posted at the perfect time, seeing her tonight!

  7. I’ve listened to all of her albums and don’t see the appeal at all. I’ve already seen a few 5 star reviews for this album, which leaves me feeling left out. I guess for a lot of people it’s about the image, message, concept, etc. The music doesn’t even begin to hold up for me though on its own without all the background. Downvote me because my personal tastes don’t agree with yours all you want.

    • I just upvoted your comment so it would stay at zero. I feel like that is my only way to disappoint your downvote pandering.

    • oh.  |   Posted on Feb 18th -5

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • It’s funny, because the only one mentioning an image is you. If anything, it appears you’re caught up in the “image, message, concept, etc.” that you can’t hear the music itself. It’s a shame. Because St. Vincent is one of the better songwriters we have.

      To each their own.

      • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • A few questions:

      Has there ever been a popular, critically acclaimed, or otherwise “hyped” musician whose work did not appeal to you? Were you OK? Were you able to move on with your life?

      How exactly do you expect people to respond to your post? Do you want her fans to explain to you why you should in fact like her music? Is there any chance whatsoever that would work or be a good use of anyone’s time? Do you want people to upvote you because you were brave enough to criticize a niche artist whose music is probably enjoyed by maybe a few million people out of the billions of human beings who inhabit our planet and enjoy music?

    • (PS: You are going to get downvotes, and lots of them, not because you crossed the hive-mind, but because you are a jerk. Jerks get downvoted. Jerks who preemptively complain about getting downvoted DEFINITELY get downvoted.)

    • adam, you are clearly not completely wrong. I mean, she seems to be a pleasant, good looking, good mannered, intellectual lady, but she.. doesn’t appeall to me sexually. When now I think about it, I can say that I’ve never thought of spending a night with her. I’ve definitely thought about Lana for instance (especially after the recent video where she, despite the awfulness of dudes surrounding her, managed to present herself as such a sweet, vulnerable person). That said I often try to convince myself that there is something about Annie (or as we might know her by her more famous moniker – Street Vinz) that might make me wet my pants (in a manly way), but there is not, I can’t see it. But I don’t see myself agreeing with you concerning her music. It is definitely, without any doubt outstanding music. I still keep listenig to her Strange Mercy. O, by the way, I still don’t understand how Father, Son and H G is the best album of 2011 (not saying that Strange Mercy is).

  8. Very very very good. I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous for an album to be “meh”, only to have those doubts completely blown out of the water. She’s got a knack for architecting albums that not only have great individual pieces, but as a cumulative whole, make those pieces really shine and stun.

  9. I’m glad that she’s finally embraced the colder, more mechanical aspects of her sound. I’ve always found her music to be very good but also detached in a “too smart and too technically proficient to truly display emotion” type of way, and so her attempts at emotional heft seemed insincere. This one pretty much jettisons any of those annoying ‘feelings’ and really digs into the noise and the calculating, intellectual proficiency she has. It seems much more appropriate and is way more fun to listen to.

    • Well said!

    • I’m gonna have to weigh in on the insincere emotional heft, Mr. Whale.

      The depths to which songs on Strange Mercy in particular dig, “Year of the Tiger”, “Surgeon”, the titular track, “Dilettante”, are pretty hefty when you think about that. Especially for someone who has felt loneliness due to love, fear for the future, insecurity about artistic sincerity in comparison to other artists, etc.

      If memory serves me correctly (as I am currently too lazy to do proper research at the moment, forgive me), Strange Mercy was recorded while Clark was purposely isolating herself due to depression or information overload from how terrible and noisy NYC and smartphones and stuff are (sup Savages), Of course, these are all pretty common feelings that aren’t exclusive to artists or musicians or the folks that latch onto the life, but hey — there aren’t too many people who have expressed it as well as Clark did on Strange Mercy.

      But I’ll give you Actor and Marry Me (I didn’t even like Marry Me that much) are just down-ass albums that don’t give off too much feely-weelys.

    • As a reading of St. Vincent’s output up until now, I think you are on to something.

      But more generally, why insist on a dichotomy between emotion and intellect?

      And with regards to the new album, do you really think that “Prince Johnny” or “I Prefer Your Love” lacks emotional heft? Sure, even those songs, which are unusually direct, have somewhat cryptic lyrics – but I think the blend of alien sonics and human emotions is what makes them so powerful.

      In any event, there’s a pretty huge middle ground between Adele-odrama and something like Oneohtrix Point Never which is to me any almost entirely cerebral listening experience, and I’d say that St. Vincent falls somewhere in that big middle.

      • I don’t think the two are *necessarily* mutually exclusive, but I think that in a lot of ways they work against each other (emotions being generally instinctual and unreasonable, intellect basing itself entirely on reason). I’ve personally found that even Annie’s most intimate songs sound somewhat detached from the subject (herself) as a result of her willingness to intellectually dissect her feelings and pair them with some incredibly complex, calculating compositions. While this can make for some very interesting music, it can also dilute the emotional impact of the songs.

        I’d never say no one can be moved by St. Vincent’s music, but I’ve never found it emotionally resonant as much as compellingly cerebral.

  10. The first truly great album of the year.

  11. cast  |   Posted on Feb 18th +12

    We are witnessing a modern genius at work. Her first two albums are great for what they are, but Strange Mercy and now this release convince me that she is one of the premier and most talented artists we have. She is a master of controlled chaos.

    This is her best and most diverse set of songs. Rattlesnake is a chaotic and funky groove that only Annie could make. Prince Johnny and Birth in Reverse contain some of the best melodies and guitar work that I’ve heard in a while. The last 45 seconds of Prince Johnny just superb, can see her extending that jam. Severed Crossed Fingers is a song that I’ve been waiting for her to put out. Her heart is really on her sleeve on that track as well as a some others. It is nice to see her open up over the course of these past two albums. Couldn’t really ask for a better album.

    Early contender for album of the year. I don’t just like all the tracks, but I love a good majority of them.

  12. I’ve listened to this a couple of times, and can’t help but feel it’s a bit frontloaded. That might just be because the tracks in the first half of the album are the ones I’ve had more time to acquaint myself with, though. And that doesn’t change the “Prince Johnny” is an absolutely incredible song. I’ll need to give this several more listens before I decide how I feel, though.

  13. Rattlesnake is a kick in the face.

  14. I Prefer Your Love CRUSHES me every time i hear it. AWESOME Album

  15. So basically, if an album doesn’t appeal to you, you shouldn’t comment? That would make these threads pretty one-sided, and I like seeing both sides of the discussion.

    So far, “aesthetically displeasing” is a good way to express my feelings about this album. It’s abrasive in a way I’m not enjoying. The tracks I’m really liking (I Prefer Your Love, Severed Cross Fingers) are those that sound the most to me like “old” St. Vincent, but with just enough different touches to renew my interest in her. Aside from the small handful of tracks I’m digging, I feel like each good moment is counteracted by a grating left turn that leaves me scratching my head. None of this has to do with my feelings about her image; I’m aware she now has grey hair, but I wouldn’t think this would impact the tunes.

    • Rrrr that was meant as a reply to emeightythree waaaaay above. Sigh.

    • Aren’t the best moments in “art” grating left turns?

      • “Grating” is inherently bad. I personally find the left turns on this album more surprising and disarming than grating, but I don’t think anyone would enjoy something they feel is a “grating left turn.” They might admire it in an artistic sense, but that’s different.

    • Well, I’m not the boss of Stereogum but since you asked I definitely would not suggest that people refrain from criticizing albums in threads like these. But I think there’s a pretty big difference between your critique and adam antine’s, and it isn’t just that your perspective is that of a disappointed fan and his is 100% h8r.

      adam says: (1) nothing St. Vincent has released before is good; (2) this album is also not good; (3) the positive reviews of the album are wrong; (4) people are overpraising her for her concept, image, etc. and her music does not hold up. At least with (4) there is something like an argument about the artist’s output that can be critically debated. but I would also say that if you can’t make the good faith assumption that an artist’s fans are REALLY fans and not just being tricked/brainwashed/lying to look cool, then you probably shouldn’t talk to them.

      Later, adam says that the new album is “aesthetically displeasing”, OK that’s just a fancy way of saying “I don’t care for it” and “in no way challenging or interesting” at which point he sounds like a kid with his fingers in his ears. Insofar as you can objectively wrong about that kind of judgment, saying this album is “in no way challenging or interesting” is wrong, but even if you don’t want to go that far, when you start saying shit that boils down to “I don’t like this artist, I don’t like this album, there’s nothing good about it and you can’t convince me there is,” then I’m not sure what there is to discuss.

      Yeah, so tl;dr, I don’t care if people post their own little negative reviews or whatever, but I have to strain to think what comments like adam’s could possibly add to a discussion. And I also wanted him to be realistic about how the other people who use this website would react, because making thoughtless swipes at something a lot of people like and then whining about the downvotes is pretty amateur hour!

  16. I likey!

  17. Hey guys,

    I’m having a hard time today. A lot of snow-related tough travel in Maine, the Devo dude died, and now I get home and try, try again so hard, to get into St. Vincent’s music, and it’s just not happening. I don’t like this music, and I can’t help it.

    So I’m really happy for you, and I’ma let you finish, but I just wanna go listen to some snow fall. And I hope you guys won’t hold it against me.

    -Broyds

    • Stay safe KBroy! I gotta side with you on this. A conversation I had with my friend earlier this month:

      “I wonder what that new St. Vincent record will sound like?”
      Me: “We won’t know til the end of the year.”

      However, this Wild Beasts leak?? That would go well with some snowfall!!

  18. Dude, this album.

  19. Huey Newton, dat coda.

  20. I love the fact she actually looks like David Byrne in this picture.

    She is definitely projecting an image, but it is specific to this album. P J Harvey likes to (in media speak) re-invent herself in this way. Different image . different album. (Bowie did it years ago) Love the hair.

    it is only hype if you buy into the media bullshit. Otherwise we call it art.

    not sure about the need to analyse the shit out of everything. like it, love it or leave it.

    nobody’s forcing you to listen or comment.

  21. Really like the album. My only critique is that the intro synth to Severed Cross Fingers sounds really cheesy, and the melody makes me thing of ‘Do The Hokey Pokey’. Put the right one in, pull the right one out….. Its too bad because it could loose that synth and still be a good song.

  22. Just not really coming together for me.

  23. I was right. Better than Abacab!!

  24. This is so cool, Bring Me Your Loves is fantastic. And I Prefer Your Love, Birth in Reverse and Prince Johnny are just soooo great.

  25. Am I the only one bothered by the line “I prefer your love to Jesus?” It’s just really cheesy. That’s my only scruple with the overall very solid album.

    • It did sound a little strange at first, but after learning the song was written for her mother after a particularly awful illness, it made me appreciate it a lot more. She’d rather have her mother’s love than go through a middle-man (Jesus) to express those feelings to her.

      • I read it as a rejection of the many religious cliches that come out when people have to cope with the death or illness of a loved one. “God has a plan.” etc. She’s saying she doesn’t want to be comforted or protected by some abstract theology, she just wants her mom.

        I know from some of the interviews that her parents were divorced when she was young and she says she felt abandoned by her father. I can imagine her thought process being like “Who is going to look out for me now? Jesus?”

        I guess you shouldn’t need all the personal context for the line to work though. On the other hand, “All the good in me’s because of you…” ??? THE FEELS.

  26. Auto  |   Posted on Feb 20th +1

    This is currently jostling with the East India Youth album for my favourite record of 2014 so far. It’s pretty darn great, I was dancing along first time I heard ‘Rattlesnake’. Only listened to Love This Giant before, I think I ought to get hold of her back catalogue…

  27. robq  |   Posted on Feb 20th +5

    Ooohh it grows, how it grows!

  28. If I Prefer Your Love was given a proper push as a single it could be huge.

  29. sd  |   Posted on Feb 22nd 0

    Hmmm…still not seeing it in the Heavy Rotation. I’m a bit worried

  30. the moog melody on ‘severed crossed fingers.’ holy shit.

  31. ga  |   Posted on Feb 25th 0

    Finally got a listen. Very interesting stuff and tons of neat ideas from Annie, but I’m still waiting for my favorite St. Vincent record. I’m surprised, given how much rock she’s listened to in her life, that she doesn’t have more of that visceral bite in her music. This is a step forward to that, but I am one of those that thinks she’s too clinical and cerebral, but she definitiely put more groove here, which is important. But I pine for the day where she inserts her unique vision into a forecful guitar shredding punk record.

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