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Song You Need to Know: St. Vincent, ‘Hang On Me (Piano Version)’

Annie Clark strips a huge song from her last LP down to its raw essence

St. Vincent performs on day three of the Austin City Limits Music Festival's second weekend, 2018

St. Vincent performs on day three of the Austin City Limits Music Festival's second weekend, 2018

Amy Harris/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Last year, St. Vincent (a.k.a Annie Clark) released Masseduction, the noise-pop masterpiece that had her firing on all cylinders. With MassEducation, Clark reimagines every song on Masseduction as a piano ballad, stripping them down to an emotionally raw core and even flipping the LP’s running order.

“Hang On Me” originally led off Masseduction: it was already a stirring, glitchy, all-encompassing track that set the tone for just how big every corner of the album would feel. Here it falls at the end, a tender ballad hanging off the edge. More than almost any other song across the excellently pared-down redux, “Hang On Me” captures Clark’s very specific vocal texture: one that feels both strong and feeble, especially when she carefully reaches the highest octaves of her range.

Her careful control of the more fragile elements of her voice leaves room for understated drama: with the slightly slowed down tempo, “Hang On Me” shifts from a confident, enticing demand for a lover who will depend on her into a naked, forlorn plea to have someone to take care of.

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