Album Review: MASSEDUCTION by St. Vincent

Masseduction is Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent)’s fifth studio album and follow up to her 2014 critically acclaimed self-titled album.

The album opener, “Hang on Me,” includes a repeating call to another to “hang on me/ ‘Cause you and me/ We’re not meant for this world.” It’s an interesting introduction to ideas Clark addresses later on about consumption and technology today. From there, the tempo picks up. However, this album’s best tracks are right in the middle, bookended by the two singles, “Los Ageless” and “New York.” The former, which was the (seriously powerful) second single released ahead of the album, remains a standout track and signals a stretch of some of the Masseduction’s best moments.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9TlaYxoOO8]

The album’s weakness is that while the ideas are fascinating, the execution was sometimes heavy handed. The chaos of her self-titled release is part of what made it special and what highlighted the chance for a self-titled work to signal a shift, reinvention, or refocusing in an artist’s work, but the chaos of Masseduction didn’t hold up.

Annie Clark’s best work is done on her ballads like “New York” and “Happy Birthday, Johnny.” The songwriting is personal and impactful, and gentle, emotive vocals are a refreshing respite from the heavier moments. Above all, Masseduction is another creative and complex offering from St. Vincent.

St. Vincent comes to Philadelphia in support of her Fear the Future tour on November 28 at the Electric Factory.

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