21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Weakest album since 'Marry Me'.,
This review is from: St. Vincent [Digipak] (Audio CD)
I'm preparing myself for some criticism on this one, as St. Vincent appears to have finally achieved critics darling status in the papers. The Guardian, for example, has given the album a 5* review and lauded it saying:
'it feels remarkably sure-footed, the sound of an artist who, when not taking out the garbage or masturbating, has worked out exactly what she wants to do, and furthermore exactly how to do it.'
Well, whether or not that's true (and I'm not sure it is), this is a disappointing effort.
With 'Strange Mercy', St. Vincent had evolved her sound from her first two, instrument rich, albums going for a sparser, electronic based sound, with fluid fuzz guitar lines and clever use of synthesiser bass. The resulting album was a brilliant collection of songs, which really showed what an artist she is.
This self-titled album is a continuation of that sound, but where as 'Strange Mercy' contained angular melodies/rhythms and a quite cold (in a positive way) production, this album has gone firmly for a more pop orientated sound. Making the sound more commercial isn't, in itself, a problem, but I do wonder if the songs benefit from it. More troublesome is the strength of the material.
I count 5 songs here that I'd say are good - those being 'Rattlesnake, 'Birth in Reverse', 'Prince Johnny', 'Digital Witness' and Regret'. The rest are pretty forgettable in my opinion - 'I prefer your love' sounds like something Sinead O'Connor would sing (not a compliment), and a lot of the more ballad-styled material is just too plain and lacking in the inventiveness that I've come to expect from Annie Clark. The Guardian describes some of this stuff as sounding like Madonna. As if that's a good thing - the dolts.
Additionally, out of the 5 songs listed above, I don't think any really hit the height of the best material from either 'Strange Mercy' or 'Actor'. If you're expecting another 'Marrow' or even a 'Cruel' you won't find it here. Digital Witness, as a lead single, has grown on me, but it's definitely a throwback to her collaboration with David Byrne on 'Love This Giant' (itself being a mixed effort), and isn't particularly stand-out.
St. Vincent can do better, has done better and will do better. In my opinion she's the best artist working today. She's received the push she deserved, but an album too late. Typical record companies/press!
PS: I'm not some sort of hipster idiot who's annoyed she's getting some mainstream attention - I'm a very big fan of St. Vincent and wish her all the success in the world.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Mar 2014 13:24:34 GMT
Whilst I thoroughly enjoy listening to this Album. I do feel that Strange Mercy was better.
In reply to an earlier post on 3 Mar 2014 18:35:37 GMT
Yeah, I'm the same (as you'd guess from the review!). I've listened to the album some more and what I originally noted as weaker stuff has grown on me somewhat - I still just feel a lot of it is too 'straight ahead' (and I still don't like 'Bring Me Your Loves' at all). Regret is a great song though that doesn't seem to be getting much of a mention on the internet at the moment.
Posted on 6 Aug 2014 10:29:59 BDT
Timothy Jc Bayliss says:
I'd have preferred a review rather than slagging off.
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