http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/stvincent-1392398575.jpg St. Vincent

St. Vincent

St. Vincent

Loma Vista/Republic
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 4 0
February 25, 2014

Annie Clark (a.k.a. St. Vincent) isn't just a great songwriter. She's a great song dissector, breaking down pop's essential rhythmic, melodic and emotional components, retooling every impulse. No wonder her fourth album has a lushly distracted jam where she and a boy smash up and snort a hunk of the Berlin Wall ("Prince Johnny") – finding new uses for old structures is kind of her thing.

St. Vincent is her tightest, tensest, best set of songs to date, with wry, twisty beats pushing her lovably ornery melodies toward grueling revelations. On the spring-grooved "Rattlesnake," a clothes-free walk turns dangerous; the poetic, personal "Huey Newton," named after the assassinated Black Panther, starts out shyly and explodes into mordant sludge rock; "Psychopath" is where her Kate Bush side and her David Byrne side (see their 2012 collaboration, Love This Giant) come together for a white-knuckled road anthem. Two live drummers – Homer Steinweiss of Brooklyn funk troupe the Dap-Kings and Midlake's McKenzie Smith – help give the music a propulsive snap that plays perfectly off Clark's chunky guitar noise. This album is haunted by isolation, dark hungers, regret and even death. But the playful way these songs contort makes pain feel like a party.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories


    Lou Reed | 1972

    Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

    More Song Stories entries »