|St. Vincent / Masseduction|
|Add Date:||2017-12-31|| ||Pull Date:||2018-03-04|| |
|Week Ending:||14 Jan||7 Jan|
Months before this album had a title, St. Vincent suggested that this album would be a “sea change,” and she wasn’t bluffing. Masseduction is more than just a St. Vincent album. Masseduction is the first St. Vincent album that feels like it is as much an Annie Clark album—it feels personal in ways that her previous outings aren’t. It’s also a musical departure, in part thanks to Jack Antonoff (of Bleachers infamy) as well as the reduced role of Clark’s godlike guitar skills. St. Vincent has often been compared to David Bowie (especially due to the appearance and glam rock riffage of her self-titled album), but with its slicker pop sound, punchier beats, and carnal impulses, Masseduction suggests the influence of another legend who passed away in 2016—Prince. Masseduction is not, as some overeager reviewers claim, St. Vincent’s best work yet, but it’s another strong album from one of our most confounding artists.|
FCCs: 2, 6, 7, 8
Favorites: 3, 5, 10, 13
1) “Hang on Me” (2:49) – Subdued, percussive number with breathy, processed vocals. Right from the get-go, it’s apparent that this is more of a beat-driven album than a guitar-driven album.
2) “Pills” (4:41) – FCC “f***.” I’m mildly annoyed by the singsong quality of the chorus (which isn’t even sung by Clark—it’s her ex, Cara Delevigne). Another beat-driven song with a gnarly guitar solo at 1:20. Last two minutes are slower and less percussive. (Someone ought to make an FCC-clean version of this song. Otherwise, safe harbor.)
3) “Masseduction” (3:17)* – Here’s a song that successfully integrates beats and guitar solos. It’s got a massive chorus and a great guitar solo after the 2:30-mark.
4) “Sugarboy” (4:02) – I never thought I’d say this, but this is the first St. Vincent song I could imagine playing in a club. (It’s probably got the highest BPM.) Very much a beat-driven song that gets gradually wilder in the back half.
5) “Los Ageless” (4:41)* – Like the title track, this song has quieter verses that unexpectedly tear into bombastic choruses, as well as those monstrous guitar solos that we know and love St. Vincent for. Probably the best bridge between the old and the new.
6) “Happy Birthday, Johnny” (2:48) – FCC “s***.” A beautiful and sad number to somebody that Clark used to know. It’s the most personal song on the record, and one of the quieter ones, with some subtle production flourishes around a gentle piano.
7) “Savior” (3:27) – FCC “s***.” This song is about role-playing; it’s a bit risqué, but it’d be a stretch to call it obscene. It’s the most Prince-indebted song on the album—a catchy, minimalist number with a slinky guitar line. Play this one during safe harbor.
8) “New York” (2:35) – FCC “f***.” A disarmingly straightforward song to a lost love. It’s got that sentimental piano that Antonoff loves, which makes the song sound like the kind of thing you’d hear on Broadway. You decide if that’s good or bad.
9) “Fear the Future” (2:32) – This is probably the biggest outlier on the album. It’s a loud and chaotic number with crushing electronic beats and heavily distorted guitars that kick in after a minute.
10) “Young Lover” (3:34)* – A brisk number with shoegaze-esque washes of guitar. The last minute is basically an extended guitar solo as Clark sings, hitting stratospheric high notes.
11) “Dancing With a Ghost” (0:46) – Instrumental interlude before the next track. Sounds like an orchestra playing underwater.
12) “Slow Disco” (2:45) – This song does away with both beats and guitars—it’s just Clark singing over an orchestra. It sounds beautiful, but it’s a little sleep-inducing.
13) “Smoking Section” (3:37)* – Clark tends to end her albums with some of her strongest songs, and this one’s no different. The piano, formerly used to sentimental effect, sounds much more foreboding here. The backing vocals and queasy guitar bursts sound like harbingers of doom.