Rating: 5/5 stars
Masseduction is the latest studio album released by Annie Clark, better known as the stylish, sexy, glamorous rockstar St Vincent. Produced by herself and Jack Antonoff from Bleachers, and featuring collaborations with Doveman, Kamasi Washington, Jenny Lewis and many more, this combination of talented creatives promises an unforgettable listening experience.
The album opens with intimate whispering lyrics “I know you’re probably sleeping”, as Clark invites the listener into her dark world of sex, drugs and electronic dream pop. ‘Pills’ follows with the hauntingly cheerful nursery rhyme “pills pills pills every day of the week” – guaranteed to be stuck in your head after the first listen. The title track ‘Masseduction’ draws you in with an industrial techno crafting of raw electric guitar riffs and sex appeal: “I can’t turn off what turns me on”. ‘Sugarboy’ is another empowering anthem for the LGBTQ community, as Clark blurs the distinction between the gender binary on a fun, upbeat dance track.
Whilst working on this album Clark dated model and actress Cara Delevingne, before their break up in 2016. Delevigne provided backup vocals on some of the tracks, and many references are made to the bittersweet ending of their relationship. The track ‘Los Ageless’ follows, alluding to Clark’s relationship with Delevigne – “How could anybody have you and lose you, and not lose their minds too?” – is interwoven with heartfelt voice messages saying “I tried to write you a love song”. St Vincent’s relationship travels from the west to the east coast, as ‘New York’ is no longer the same place without her lover – “I have lost a hero, I have lost a friend, but for you my darling I’d do it all again”. Notes of sadness and sentimentality continue into the track ‘Happy Birthday Johnny’, which refers back to the character ‘Prince Johnny’ introduced on her self-titled album. Emotional, heartfelt, minimal piano chords contrast with the futuristic electropop feel of the other tracks.
The album finishes on themes of sadness and death as ‘Smoking Section’ depicts a wounded individual reflecting on and mourning closure: “It’s not the end”. Constantly innovating and changing her sound, Clark’s latest release is less guitar heavy than her previous albums, crafting electronic dance tracks along with a few soulful piano ballads to creatively capture a range of emotions. Clark is currently on her Fear the Future tour, performing in London and Manchester on the UK leg.
Image: Warren Higgins, Chuff Media