St. Vincent Proves She Can Also Be a Pop Star
On the tour for her self-titled 2013 album, St. Vincent took the stage covered in fake blood with a halo of white hair orbiting her head. Her music on that album was polished art-rock, which was complex, fascinating, and beautiful. She'd walk on stage and shred solos while also executing intricate postmodern choreography. It was a fully realized presence from stage to video to album, one that transformed Annie Clark into some sort of dystopian future rock god. And it made for one of the most successful album cycles of her career, with the self-titled album reaching the top of many critics' year-end lists. With her next transformation, St. Vincent is going for something else entirely, and it could make for the biggest album yet.
On her first new song in two years, St. Vincent has softened her sound. Gone are the angular solos and the baroque composition. Instead she returned with the simple and beautiful ballad "New York." The song is off her upcoming album, which is produced by Jack Antonoff, who most recently worked on the new albums by Taylor Swift and Lorde. The video for "New York," directed by Alex Da Corte, has St. Vincent singing to the camera from a number of vibrant, pastel set-pieces. She has a shoe phone, a clear plastic umbrella, a swan, a box fan, and burning plants. The only instrument you see her play in this video is one of those floor pianos from Big. It's like an art-house take on a pop video.
Though the album is produced by one of the leading pop producers, and the first single has an approachable sound, Clarke's description of the new record sounds anything but radio-friendly. She told The New Yorker it's the gloomiest she's made. "It's all about sex and drugs and sadness," she said. Sounds like something that will keep the old and new fans happy.