St. Vincent

Revisiting ‘St. Vincent’: An Important Alternative (10 Year Anniversary)

Annie Clark a.k.a St. Vincent

“I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral.” That’s how Annie Clark (a.k.a St. Vincent) described her self-titled album in 2014. Initially, Clark started as St. Vincent in 2006 after forming part of The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens’ touring band. She has released 6 solo albums and one collaboration album alongside David Byrne under the name St. Vincent. Since then, the singer has won 3 Grammy awards and has been regarded as one of the best guitarists of the century. Her use of effects and alternative tuning brought forth her signature style. 

Recording and Reception

On February 24th, 2024, ‘St. Vincent‘ by St. Vincent turned 10 years old. It’s an album that would cement her as one of the greatest alternative artists of the 21st century. Demoed by Clark in Austin, Texas, it was later recorded in Dallas. The objective of the recording was to acquire the level of execution necessary to achieve her musical vision. The self-titled LP received critical and fan acclaim alike, including being awarded the 2015 Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album. Clark became the second female solo artist to win it since Sinéad O’Connor.

Themes and Production

The album excels both lyrically and melodically. Being a highly poetic project, it’s full of references to literature, philosophy, historical events, and Clark’s personal life. The LP walks the line of melancholy and grief alongside revelry and celebration. ‘St. Vincent‘ touches on communing with nature in the track ‘Rattlesnake‘. It’s about abandoning modernity and technology to return to nature. ‘Prince Johnny‘ speaks of tearing down the Berlin Wall and sn***ting the remains, while ‘I Prefer Your Love‘ speaks of Clark’s mother. Meanwhile, ‘Severed Cross Fingers‘ speaks of hope in reference to Lorrie Moore’s short stories. A combination of poetic, abstract, and raw, the lyrics immerse the listener into the complex themes of the album.

A blend between rock and pop, this record has some electrifying tracks. It walks the line of celebration and contemplation. The powerful guitar and instrumentation are combined with reflective and complex lyrics. The intense and fun aspects of ‘Birth In Reverse‘ contrast with the apathy of the lyrics: “The birds will cry, I’ll let them cry”. The guitar has a bizarre sound that gives the album its signature, the odd and captivating effects create a soundscape that goes outside of genre and style. St. Vincent is her own genre. 

Legacy

The album has opened up the path to new bands and artists either directly or indirectly. More female artists are picking up guitars and playing around with tones. The project’s influence can be felt 10 years later, with more music being produced with alternative styles and techniques. This includes ‘All Born Screaming‘, which will be Clark’s latest release when it comes out on April 26. This dark and gritty pop album is a riot. It will continue to flood living rooms and headphones for many years to come.

St. Vincent is on Instagram, X, and Tik Tok. Stream the album below and find more articles here.

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