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Artist Spotlight: St. Vincent

by Dan Weiss

Artist Spotlight: St. Vincent

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So few artists right now are making weirdness into a virtue. Enter Annie Clark, who, since the tail end of the 2000s, has made a show of giving herself bigger and bigger puzzles to solve on each album. The new St. Vincent is her craziest yet — you can practically hear George Jetson shouting "Jane, stop this crazy thing!" every time the squelchy synth on "Bring Me Your Loves" splatters all over the tune. And then the song features a call-and-response, blues riff breakdown.

However, the compressed rock and funk on the new album is a far cry from the ultra-clean orchestrations of "Now, Now" and "Paris Is Burning,” from her debut, Marry Me. The singer-songwriter first indulged her dissonant impulses on schizoid tunes like "Marrow" and "Actor Out of Work,” from 2009's critic-mauling Actor. But she's getting good at straightforward, too, with the soul-infused ballad "Severed Crossed Fingers" and the three-chord, John Bonham pound of "Regret." Having collaborated with Bon Iver and David Byrne (the latter being half-responsible for some of her best: do not miss "Optimist"), she wants to cover the gamut, and challenge us all. Maybe even inspire, too.

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