Emily White ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
In our world of technologically enhanced and auto-tuned pop music, it’s incredibly refreshing to find an intelligent, insightful pop-punk diva like Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent. Not only is her music catchy and lyrically interesting, it flips the pop medium on its head, using the style to critique the nature of today’s highly digitized music industry and society in general. In “Digital Witness,” the hit single off her latest, self-titled album, she croons “If I can’t show it, if you can’t see me/What’s the point of doing anything?”, which rings powerfully true for today’s generation.
St. Vincent imbues her edgy modern pop tracks with a nostalgic and punky new-wave sensibility. In her slower songs, like “Prince Johnny,” St. Vincent croons like Lana Del Rey, but rocks out hard in faster songs like “Birth in Reverse,” a song which might have easily been sung by DEVO or The Cure in their time. In “I Prefer Your Love,” St. Vincent’s hauntingly dramatic and somewhat androgynous delivery immediately brings David Bowie to mind.
While the varied style and tempos of the eleven songs on the album may feel a bit uneven at times, and St. Vincent definitely scores higher with her faster tracks, all the songs are incredibly intelligent and subtly criticize the self-obsessed yet constantly distracted current nature of American society. In fact, in an interview with Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report earlier this month, St. Vincent pointed out the idea that “we perform ourselves in a myriad of ways” just in our daily life. The idea of “self-performance” brought on by narcissistic social media that inspired St. Vincent is so relevant and so terrifying that we can’t turn down her songs despite how ominous their messages. Maybe each of us can become her own “Digital Witness” after listening to St. Vincent’s new album.