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on 10 February 2015
I am hooked on Annie Clark and her strange songwriting. Also, on previous albums her guitar playing is equally impressive (check out 'Now Now' from her first album 'Marry Me' and 'Surgeon' from 2011's Strange Mercy album) although on this album it's not as prominent. I like the whole style of her songs, they are always intricate and come from a dystopian perspective. Undoubtedly she has learned a great deal from collaborator David Byrne, and probably from the recently returned Bowie, who surely must be one of her main inspirations. Left field song writing doesn't come any weirder!
I think that all her previous albums have had different styles to a certain extent, the first having more traditional songwriting forms, then the second getting a lot more production and diversity of sounds. She really came into her own with 'Strange Mercy', her third album, where many of the songs were anthemic, especially 'Cheerleader', 'Strange Mercies' itself, and 'Surgeon'...
Her vocals are always arresting, on this album she gives her best performance on 'Birth In Reverse', but she's fantastic on 'Digital Witness' and 'Every Tear Dissapears' as well. it's not just the main vocal mind you, she does a fantastic range of backing vocals too, sometimes reminiscent of the great Joni Mitchell on albums like Hissing Of Summer Lawns and Hejira, they are so unique and unusual.
The only reason I give this album four stars is that it's maybe just a little bit too dominated by keyboards and processed beats. I think her live band sound is so brilliant, and I think the songs sound better live! I hope she goes back to a more organic sound for future releases....
There isn't a better left-field singer songwriter in the world than Annie though, that's for sure. she wipes the floor with Madonna and the rest of those over-hyped supercommercial no-brainers.
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on 8 July 2014
I bought this a little while back, and I've waited until I've played it a few times before trying to review it. As others have mentioned, at times you can hear a David Byrne/ Talking Heads influence - nothing wrong with that. More surprisingly, there are also pieces that reminded me of Annie Lennox and Eurythmics (nothing wrong with that, either), so there's a slight 80s feel about the album which I wasn't expecting. Altogether, it's a good listen, particularly Prince Johnny and Digital Witness, but I thought the album would have been better if a few of the tracks had been pruned - Psychopath and Severed Crossed Fingers for example. I know you can skip tracks you don't like, but I like to listen to an album as a complete entity, and sometimes less is more (pardon the cliche). Whilst I'm whingeing, there didn't seem to be much of her much vaunted guitar work. But overall, a good little album, with some brilliant lyrics.
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on 10 November 2015
wouldn't recommend this album as an introduction to St. Vincent. The songs are not as strong as Strange Mercy and the production is deliberately overdone. I'm reviewing after a few months and I honestly would only put maybe 2 of the tracks on this onto a "best of" album. Most of these songs I would skip when my MP3 player is on shuffle because I find them unpleasant. This is very disappointing as Strange Mercy was a really decent 'themed' album that still had amazing songs that all fitted together. This is a bit overextended and I didn't like it.
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on 7 May 2014
I have only just discovered this artist and i am hook! St. Vincent is amazing and brings us an album with up beat, unique tracks, as well are softer tunes to delight out ears and bless our listening pleasure.

I will have to go and buy her back catalogue now :)
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on 13 May 2015
So, normally I hear a song and if I like it and don't know the artist, then I look them up. I've NEVER bought an album based purely on reviews without having heard them. Until this. I kept seeing the album on the "Best of the year" lists, so popped onto youtube and became very intrigued. It's a superb album. Catchy yet really quirky, with some of the most evocative images created through the sounds and lyrics. No idea if it was the best of the year, I haven't heard enough albums released to make such a statement, but it's been the best album I personally bought, ands it's been on constant rotation in the months since I first got it.
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on 19 May 2014
Admittedly, I only found out about this Artist after watching her recent performance on the Jools Holland show, (2014), which was, erm.. interesting, to say the least. Undeterred, I looked her up on the web and discovered her music videos, which, if I'm honest, I found a bit disturbed... Haneke-esque, but Suess-ier. Nevertheless, I found myself the next day trying to recall the guitar riff from her song 'Birth in Reverse'. I decided to buy the download of the album, which was modestly priced at £4.99, and I can truly say have no regrets. I have enjoyed all the songs on this album and have found St. Vincent's Annie Clark to be much more than 'another Lady Gaga' as one Youtuber elegantly stated... She is in fact a very accomplished musician and although never overstated on this album, she shreds the guitar...!!
This isn't in my opinion a Masterpiece, though I believe she is more than capable of creating one. It's hard to put into words, but I feel this could be what music has been lacking in recent months, perhaps I have to get out more but It's good to see real talent prevail! If I have any criticisms, they would only be that the last track is not as strong as the others, but it's still great. I look forward to hearing more from this artist and I'm glad to know there were three albums prior to this one- all of which I will be listening to in the near future. Thanks!
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on 24 May 2015
Prince Johnny and I Prefer Your Love are dreary and awful but I don't even mind as every other track is incredible. I pre-ordered this and I still love every song - apart from the rubbish two. I could listen to the rest on repeat and I often do

I don't think there are songs on her other albums that I actively dislike in the same way but I'd still call this her best album overall despite them. That's how good the good songs are
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on 24 February 2014
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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on 7 November 2014
I came across St. Vincent on Later with Jools Holland never having heard them (her) before. I normally watch a recorded version as some of the 'new' artists are just same old, same old so I skip through them. It's rare to find something as different and brilliant as this. Definitely my album of the year. I am now starting the explore the back catalogue. Nothing has had this much originality impact since Jagged Little Pill in 1995. 19 years is a long time to wait. I cannot recommend this strongly enough remembering of course that taste is subjective!
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on 9 October 2014
This album by St Vincent is perfect in every way, the album completely matches the quirkiness of the st vincent. I first found out about St Vincent on later with jools holland, I can't believe I haven't heard of her before. Amazing self titled album, my favourite songs on the album are digital witness and birth in reverse, but I still love all of them. Would definitely recommend this album. 10/10
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