In the dreamers’ world, there exist those who listlessly yearn and those who lead with vision. In such a case, St. Vincent (Annie Clark) falls into the latter category. A little awkward in a whole lot of beautiful, Annie’s debut album, Marry Me, may not suit everyone, but it certainly offers enough satisfaction for the casual listener. With two EPs under her belt, Annie also boasts exceptional rock credentials – time spent at Berklee and stints in The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens’ touring band. Kitschy production yields an album with dynamic changes and a clever mess of old and new musical effects, like Edith Pilaf mud wrestling Norah Jones – you might not get it, but there’s still some strange appeal.
Marry Me exudes playfully illustrious visions of life and love, with gentle instrumentation subtly backing Annie’s sultry voice. The record reaches extraordinary heights with the provocative, “Paris Is Burning.” A maniacally haunting waltz, Annie sings of the City of Lights en flambé: “We are waiting on a telegram to give us news of the fall / I am sorry to report dear Paris is burning after all / We have taken to the streets in open rejoice revolting / We are dancing a black waltz fair Paris is burning after all.” Her acknowledgment of the waltz feel further strengthens the devilishly celebratory nature of the song. A strong horn section adds an eery vintage charm to the entire piece.
“All My Stars Aligned” shines as the most shimmering of all her songs, and certainly offers a more uplifting perspective on love than her other tracks. “I read the signs / I got all my stars aligned / My amulets, my charms / I set all my false alarms / So I’ll be someone who won’t be forgotten / I’ve got a question and you’ve got the answer.” Annie succeeds in crafting a nostalgic scene, generating thoughts of cobblestone, old gas street lamps, and calm reflections off a wet river bridge.
St. Vincent creates a remarkably unique vision of the world, proving herself untouchable by other musicians with a similar sound. But, beneath all the frills and instrumental deviations, it all comes down to one simplistic truth – she’s just a girl singing her heart out about life…
“I do a dance to make the rain come / Smile to keep the sky from falling down, down, down, down / Collect the love that I’ve been given / Build a nest for us to sleep in here / You know it’s real.”