Chamber and futuristic pop artist Annie Clark (better known as St. Vincent) was always one to dive into the strange and sonically weird since her first release Marry Me in 2007. It showed her prowess as both a masterful guitarist and songwriter. Her most recent release MASSEDUCTION was slated to be her “most personal yet,” but only a few of the songs on the release really fit that description. MASSEDUCTION is a very curious release for St. Vincent. While Clark doesn’t stray away from the abnormal computerized distortion on this record, it listens almost half-baked. Many of the lyrics are powerful and the instrumentation is unique, but it usually gets trapped in a continuous loop after being introduced.
“New York” offers a unique panoramic chorus, but is so mastered with production tricks that it falls limp.“Young Lover,” falls into the trap of undefinable glitter guitar, which fades out into a droney limbo until it gets tired of itself. Clark’s vocal acrobatics, while extraordinary, seem to not mesh well with songs like “Sugarboy,” and “Fear the Future.”
On the other hand, a song like “Pills,” is annoyingly catchy. It’s a hilarious testimony on how medicated our current society is. It also features some of the heaviest and expert guitar work St. Vincent has ever produced.
“Happy Birthday, Johnny,” has to be the most impressive track. It achieves way more with less. Clark’s vocals are at the forefront underneath an echoey piano with the lyrical story being remarkably heart-breaking. For me, it may be one of Clark’s most impressive tracks. It’s just unfortunate that many of the songs cloud over it.