Indie pop darling Annie Clark, under the stage name St. Vincent, released her fourth and self-titled album St. Vincent on Feb. 24. St. Vincent fans will be sure listen to the album, but should newcomers, traversing the landscape of alternative pop, searching for their new dream girl, feel the same? Well… the answer is complicated.
The album’s soundscape is grunge-amp and reverb blanketing the nostalgic late 80’s-early 90’s tone of Clark’s music. Unfortunately, the major downfall of this album is that some songs drag on a bit too long, and the album quickly loses steam. The strongest songs are the album are definitely the singles, with a few exceptions.
“Birth in Reverse,” the second song and first single, definitely packs a punch and proved to be one of my favorites on the album. The fourth track “Huey Newton,” is primarily a transitional song; the first half of this track just simply seems to build up to the explosion of the second half. However, this song could still benefit by being about a full minute shorter.
“Digital Witness,” the fifth track and second single, reminds me a lot of 2000s era Madonna. This is another standout, and one of the more exciting tracks on the album. This song gets you back into the groove that “Birth In Reverse” set us up for.
“I Prefer Your Love” is the first song on the album that was never released as a single that I really ended up enjoying. This tune is a slow jam, reminiscent of Air and their work on the soundtrack of the Sofia Coppola film “The Virgin Suicides.” Annie Clark’s line “I prefer your love to Jesus” is one of the my favorite lyrics on the album. The transition from “I Prefer Your Love” to “Regret” worked really well, despite the wonkiness of the rest of the transitions throughout the album. However this song is a lower point for me, and just feels like background music.
“Bring Me Your Loves” comes immediately after and wakes the listener right back up. This might be my favorite song on the album, and it is much more exciting and interesting than the previous song “Regret.” The light tambourine during the chorus adds texture to the song, making it standout. This track tears up all 3 minutes and 15 seconds and personally, I wish the rest of album sounded more like this song.
“Every Tear Disappears” has a ‘wearing sunglasses indoors’ type coolness to it. There is also possibly some theremin in the background (which Annie Clark plays) which I adore. The song itself is not that exciting, however, and in another context would be great, penultimate, slow you down for the finish, track, but this album has a bit too many of those types of songs on it already for this to work properly.
St. Vincent benefits from the nostalgic sound and simultaneously groove-able and dream-like tracks that Clark’s voice is simply built to sing. However, the album suffers from too many filler tracks, and for every memorable song there is one that just becomes background noise. St. Vincent has a cohesive sound, but comes across as out of order because of the odd transitions between songs. The album is not a bad by any means, there are some great songs, but overall the album does not stand out as anything quite spectacular.