Album hashtag: #betterthanbeyonce
If the quote “weirdness is individuality” is true, then St. Vincent rises above all other music releases this year. There’s not quite any good way to tell the world that there’s an artist better than Beyonce’ in 2014 music, but St. Vincent’s self-titled fourth album makes the international superstar pale in comparison. ‘St. Vincent’ is a beautiful record filled with the most poised vocals you will ever hear in life. Exclusively produced by the legendary John Congleton (Erykah Badu, The Roots, Nelly Furtado), ‘St. Vincent’ wowed critics internationally and was one of the only albums this year to earn universal critical acclaim. Fourth album or not, ‘St. Vincent’ gives listeners the true chance to be introduced to the greatness that is Annie Clark.
The album’s first single “Birth In Reverse” was released well over a year ago, but just recently received an oddly colorful video treatment. Despite its strange theme, the uptempo does beautiful things for St. Vincent’s rich upper register. Second single “Digital Witness” served as the first official visual introduction to the ‘St. Vincent’ project and found the singer discussing the overdependence of technology in the world today. Standout “Prince Johnny” was given the official single treatment due to fan demand. The ballad poetically discusses what St. Vincent refers to as a mixture of compassion and hopelessness that you feel for a friend who’s being very self-destructive. The poise displayed throughout St. Vincent’s vocal on “Johnny” is – without question – one of the best vocal moments of all-time.
“Regret” and “Severed Crossed Fingers” make up the single best storytelling-through-songwriting in 2014. “Regret” paints a beautiful portrait of a lover gone astray and “biting the words” she meant to tell him. “Severed Crossed Fingers” talks about feeling down and wishing things would get better (hence the “crossed fingers”) The “severed” element of the song seeks to portray the struggles that St. Vincent has gone through while still hoping for better days. Both songs aren’t exactly a “one-play” though, as seemingly more and more of the song’s true meaning gets unlocked with each listen.
The realistic nature of St. Vincent’s lyrics paired with the surrealist arrangements is what makes ‘St. Vincent’ stand out amongst the Sam Smiths and the Beyonces. While other artists seek to please their fanbases or aim for radio spins, St. Vincent focused on the two things that should always matter the most – vocals and songwriting. For an independent album like ‘St. Vincent’ to receive universal acclaim for its greatness says a lot in itself. On album standout “I Prefer Your Love”, St. Vincent tells an emotional story about her mother’s absence in a way that’s never been done before. As she sings “I prefer your love to Jesus” on the song’s chorus, it proves just how ahead St. Vincent’s album is in comparison to all other releases.