Her name is Annie Clark and she is the powerhouse voice and guitarist known as St. Vincent. St. Vincent’s fifth studio album, Masseduction, was released on October 13th of this year. Clark breathes her own life into this album, giving birth to this magnum opus monster. Listening to the lyrics of Masseduction shows you a vulnerable side of St. Vincent, but never do you feel she is a weak woman. Vulnerability is important in music—but strength with openness? It is a hauntingly beautiful masterpiece, where new wave and glam rock meet at the crossroads.
Masseduction’s conception began as multiple voice memos, text messages, and bones of scrapped songs. St. Vincent touches on multiple themes such as death, addiction, lost love, sexuality, and fame all to the sound of her signature Ernie Ball guitar, piano, and synthesizers.
“New York” is St. Vincent’s piano ballad of Masseduction and is different from her usual guitar laden work, but hits home all the same. The first line, “New York isn’t New York without you, love”, was actually a text message sent to a dear friend who moved away. The bridge “I have lost a hero, I have lost a friend, but for you darling, I’d do it all again”, was originally the chorus for a song Clark had written called “We Were in Paris”. While writing Masseduction she discovered the lyrics fit perfectly over the chords she was working with. St. Vincent also worked closely with Jack Antonoff (lead singer of The Bleachers) on this song and the pair pulled a lot of inspiration from country music and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon for using pedal steel guitars. A pure moment for Clark is when she admits that “New York” is the first song she feels could be someone’s favorite, saying it’s something people can cry and dance to.
Other songs on the album that come with a recommendation from yours truly are “Masseduction”, “Los Ageless”, “Fear the Future”, and “Young Lover”. However, my favorite on the album is the final song “Smoking Section”. When she sings in a bewitching bellow, “Sometimes I feel like an inland ocean, too big to be a lake, too small to be an attraction”, I hope it moves you as much as it moved me. I suggest listening to this album with headphones in while going on a walk or creating art. Submerge yourself in it. This album has layers worth digging up and examining.
Masseduction is a beautiful gift from St. Vincent that is worth the listen. We get to hear about her struggles that are relatable and human, forming a connection between the musician and the fans. St. Vincent’s Fear the Future Tour is coming to New Orleans in February 2018. If you want to fall in love with the virtuoso herself, go.
Dara Calmes, age 23, is a sophomore at Southeastern Louisiana University. An Art History major with a minor in Theatre, Calmes is passionate about music and her job as a KSLU DJ. You can listen to her babble about her cats and music on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3pm to 6pm on Southeastern's own 90.9 FM KSLU.