St. Vincent’s new album has been one of my most anticipated records of 2017, and I’m thrilled to say that MASSEDUCTION has completely lived up to my expectations. It’s another home run for singer/songwriter Annie Clark, and another great entry in an all killer, no filler body of work. This album is another home run from singer-songwriter Annie Clark, with fantastic co-production by Clark and Jack Antonoff (producer of another of my favourites from this year, Lorde’s Melodrama). I’m not a fan of the music that Antonoff makes when left to his own devices, but it’s not hard to see why he’s becoming the go-to guy for artists making pop (and pop-adjacent) music. MASSEDUCTION is a treat to listen to, with layered and detailed instrumentation and production that perfectly complements Clark’s songwriting. Her guitar work is as intriguing as ever, with her shredding distorted and affected to the point where it sounds like multiple completely different instruments over the course of the album.
Each St. Vincent album has been immaculately sequenced thus far, and MASSEDUCTION is no different. The record flows perfectly from beginning to end, almost as if it were conceived as one long piece of music rather than a series of individual tracks. While the first six or seven songs are generally more raucous and lively than the slower, more melancholy back half, recurring melodies and instrumental motifs help one section to transition so seamlessly into the other that you hardly notice the change occurring. While MASSEDUCTION isn’t necessarily a concept album, these strong ties between tracks help to unify the record as a cohesive creative work; indeed, this is a record that demands to be listened to from start to finish.
That’s not to say that the songs don’t stand on their own, however. I’ve written before about my love of “Los Ageless”, and like “New York” before it, “Happy Birthday Johnny” is an achingly perfect piano ballad. I’ve found myself returning to “Savior” the most, a funky track that in its opening moments reminds me of Dr. Dre’s “Xxplosive”, of all songs. Clark portrays a sexual relationship fuelled by kinks and role-play that ultimately fails to fulfil her emotional needs, which is deceptively heavy subject matter for such a catchy track. That’s sort of St. Vincent’s thing, though, and I’m so glad she’s back with such a brilliant record. I’m seeing her live in Manchester next week, and I can’t wait hear some of these songs live, “Savior” included.