ALBUM REVIEW: St. Vincent – Masseduction
St Vincent’s fifth studio album “Masseducation” is easily her biggest and boldest record yet. Working alongside Jack Antonoff (from Bleachers) they have produced 13 honest, quirky and heartbreaking tracks. Fusing together a sound that sources influences from rock, electronica, pop and folk this record is insanely eclectic. There are moments of chaotic and satirical production and then there are moments of pure intimacy and emotion. But throughout the entire duration she makes it all seem so effortless and that’s the raw power of St. Vincent. Opening with the beat heavy “Hang On Me” she sets the scene of heartbreak and confusion through vocal distortion and heartfelt lyrics. “Hang on me cause you and me we’re not meant for this world”. It’s the St Vincent you’re already acquainted with but a little bit more raw. And then she changes it all up with the playful “Pills” which gives you heavy electronic synths, crunching guitars and a jingle approved pop hook. It’s one of the strangest songs on the record but that’s why it works so well and will become an instant favourite. “Pills to wake, pills to sleep, pills, pills, pills every day of the week. Pills to walk, pills to think, pills, pills, pills for the family”. The song commentates the self medicated society we have become with a pill to “improve” every situation while taking reference to a really dark time in her life. Title track “Masseduction” returns to the formula her previous records have perfected and serves you alternative pop-rock goodness whilst confessing “I can’t turn off what turns me on”. Then “Sugarboy” continues this with pulsating retro synths that throws the production back to early Goldfrapp before soaking the production in guitars and heavy distortion. However the albums strongest moments come from the next couple of tracks. “Los Ageless” has her questioning Hollywood’s obsession with staying young. It’s quirky and has such a strong hook that will instantly get stuck in your head. “New York” is then the polar opposite sister which references her recent heartbreak to the streets and surroundings of New York City. “I have lost a hero, I have lost a friend but for you, darling I’d do it all again”. It begins as a intimate ballad but goes into this big polished pop moment. “Happy Birthday Johnny” serves as a sequel to her 2014 track “Prince Johnny” but for this song she strips it completely down with just a piano and her vulnerable vocals. She blames herself for his self destruction and you won’t be able to get the vivid imagery out of your head. The rest of the record is less impactful, not forgettable but not overwhelmingly incredible. “Savior” is seductive, cheeky and funky while “Fear The Future” delivers heavy guitars and “Young Lover” gives you dark thumping beats. And then for the final two tracks Slow Disco” and “Smoking Section” she strips it all back for an intimate and reflective moment while still delivering her signature theatrical vocals.
This record is bold and experimental. You can tell it has been produced by Jack Antonoff with his unusual pop approach that he’s used on Lorde and Taylor Swifts most recent records. It’s colourful, satirical, cheeky and emotionally honest. It shows her slightly departing that alt-pop name and just delivering music that sounds good. It’s a great listen with some brilliant songs and vivid imagery.