Favourite Album of 2014: St. Vincent – St. Vincent

“Oh, so David Byrne of the Talking Heads is teaming up with some eccentric pop girl for an album. Whatever. I miss the Talking Heads.” – me in 2012.

“Interesting song title. OK, so this is St. Vincent. She’s pretty hot, I won’t lie. Plays a mean guitar, too. She said “masturbate”, tee-hee. The chorus is already stuck in my head, thank you. Pretty cool robo-choreography. Weird, but good. Good, but weird. I need to hear the whole album.” – me in 2014 watching this live performance of ‘Birth in Reverse’ that introduced me to her:

And then I heard the album. Multiply my initial reaction by 5, cause there are at least 5 songs that are just as good as that one. ‘Rattlesnake’ opens the album with a distorted, fragmented synth line that announces you right from the start that this will not be your typical pop album. But like the rest of the album, the track is ultimately extremely catchy, despite its experimental elements. St. Vincent never forgets to balance weirdness with accessibility throughout the album, which I think may as well be her forte. ‘Prince Johnny’ is yet another highlight, with what probably is the album’s most fascinating chorus – an otherworldly combination of ghostly backing vocals, heartfelt vocal delivery and subtle guitar playing. ‘St. Vincent’ doesn’t lose any points in the ‘emotional ballad’ department either, mainly thanks to ‘I Prefer Your Love’ – among the most beautiful love-letters to one’s mother I’ve ever had the pleasure to hear. If you’re not moved by the “All the good in me is because of you” lyric, I don’t think we can be friends anymore. Then there’s the funky ‘Digital Witness’. Or ‘Bring Me Your Lovers’, St. Vincent at her most schizophrenic. The list can go on, the bottom line is that even the lesser songs have something to offer – be it a hook, an interesting lyrical metaphor, or just Annie’s personality shining through.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been a lazy-ass when it comes to new music this year. I mean, I’ve listened to a lot of songs here and there, but few times I’ve actually sat down to give multiple listens to albums. Out of the ones I did hear, ‘St. Vincent’ definitely stands out as being the single most entertaining and consistent; but this whole essay is more about me giving praise to it than comparing it to its contemporary records and signaling it out as the best. I unfortunately can’t do that at the moment, hence the usage of ‘favourite’ in the title. But I hope that won’t discourage any of the readers to give a chance to the works of one of century’s most interesting musicians.

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Categories: Album of the Year

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2 replies

  1. I’ve heard a lot of good things about St Vincent in the past few days, and she sounds like she might do the sort of music I like (apart from Beatles/Velvet Underground/etc), so I must check her out. I think she supported The Black Keys on the US leg of their latest tour, and being a huge Black Keys fan (I’m seeing them in April!), I would assume that she, too, would be really good. That’s cool that she plays guitar too, as there is a sad shortage of female guitarists. So I will add her to my list of indie artists to check out!

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