St. Vincent is an early contender for one of the best records of the year. Brassy and bizarre, this album is impossible to define. Electronic and rocky, happy and panicky, St. Vincent’s music jumps off her background with Sufjan Stevens and creates something new.
The title of this record is significant: it’s not St. Vincent’s debut, so why would she give it her own name? Self-titling a record usually suggests that it should define what an artist is about. This isn’t an accident: St. Vincent is the very definition of what Annie Clark wants to be as an artist.
Rattlesnake shows her off, but Birth In Reverse is really the best intro to this record — and maybe a great intro to her discography. Huey Newton is a perfect example of the way her music can go from contemplative and even happy to dizzyingly heavy and fuzzy in but moments. Bring Me Your Loves is like a weird Lady Gaga side project. In similar veins, Digital Witness and Regret are pretty much perfect, but you could argue that St. Vincent is at her absolute heart-wrenching best when she slows down for songs like I Prefer Your Love.
And in each of these songs, St. Vincent is throwing weird sounds at the listener, and she’s so talented that it’s hard to tell if she’s using a synth or a guitar to accomplish the noise. It’s a guitar god record from a performer at her peak, but it’s also a master lesson in songwriting. St. Vincent is unpredictable, powerful, and completely disarming.