There are some people born with a deeper connection to the music they make--and it shows in their songs. Their passion shows, their unique point-of-view shows, and--throughout--they show, undeniably inextricable from all the strong and magical riffs and ideas that haunt and stalk through their headspace.
St. Vincent is Annie Clark, born in Tulsa, OK, the middle child of nine brothers and sisters. While most little girls were still playing with dolls, Annie preferred crafting homespun guitars from cardboard and rubber bands. By the time she was twelve, she had moved on to the real thing and fallen quickly in love. Growing up in Bible-belted Texas, Clark found music by means of Coltrane records, found people by means of Tennessee Williams plays, and found philosophy by means of her Catholic, Jewish, Unitarian, and Meher Baba-loving family. All of this finds its way, with smirks and reverence, into her music.
St. Vincent makes cinematic pop epics that feel at times like Paris in the '20s before all the fun ended. Or, conversely, an orchestra of pure modernity--a new American music, informed by jazz, gospel blues, Southern folk music, and classical composition but--in the end--an animal original unto itself.
On Marry Me, St. Vincent's Beggars Banquet debut, we see a smartly crafted deluge of guitar, bass, and beats pulsing forward with warmth and immediacy alongside Annie's classy soprano. Her lyrics can be weird or tongue-in-cheek or dead serious, capturing verily what it feels like to be 24 years old in America and caught up in the delirium of love blues and wartime blues and the various swashbuckling adventures of existence. Horns and strings cry out brassy and full-bodied over digital keyboards. Songs rock out vigorously, break down into squiggling post-noise-rock deconstructions, roll out mellow and slow-flowing as a river. Backing harmonies and kiddie choirs loom in the distance, rise, and lilt above the stately grandiosity.
"Paris is Burning" is a dark and sensual gothic waltz of cabaret pop. "All My Stars are Aligned" goes for tinkling, glacial piano and a ghostly Patsy Cline vibe. "The Apocalypse Song" is an exercise in rhythm with handclaps and a tremulous swell of strings that recalls Golden-Age Hollywood. Marry Me's songs are literary, evocative, and complicated; their dramatic ebb and flow is wildly varied, but a smooth and cohesive ride through and through. All told, you could listen to this one for years and never get sick of it; like your favorite book or movie, you'll always find something new whenever you come back.
Meet St. Vincent's Annie Clark. Marry Me is 11 tracks of her world. Spend some time there. It's a good place to b