February 3rd, 2014 1:34pm
It Looks Just Like A Window
I haven’t really decided how I feel about St. Vincent’s new record. I feel a little disappointed in that she hasn’t done much to change from where she was at on her previous album, but I like that she’s refining a very distinct style, and she pushes all of her tics to the extreme on most of her new songs. It’s more twitchy, more synthetic, more aloof. It works, but as she moves in this direction, the music feels less and less…human. And that’s a big part of her art – she’s clearly obsessed with the idea of the uncanny valley, and making affectless normalcy seem jarring and absurd. But maybe that works a little better with visuals? A lot of what made her older work, particularly Actor, so exciting was how there was this very human anxiety under it all, and a lot of the art was about that being buried.
“Digital Witness,” one of the best new songs, puts all that anxiety right on the surface, and the lyrics are a fairly judgmental portrait of someone whose intense FOMO has ironically metastasized into full-blown social media addiction and a distance from active life. But even if she sings the song in the first person, I can’t shake the feeling that any anxiety in this song doesn’t come from the character so much as Annie Clark being anxious about people like this existing. It’s fear of the new normal.
Buy it from Amazon.