“Birth in Reverse”- St. VincentJared McNett
St. Vincent’s last solo-album, 2011’s Strange Mercy was a beguiling experience. In covering the record for 2011’s year-end list, I wrote the album took the smiling face of guitar-driven pop and “sent it to another planet, bloodying it up in the process.” “Champagne Year” teased celebration as a new year began and instead ruminated on past mistakes. The promise of “it’s going to be a champagne year” delivered by a subdued Annie Clark was empty. Much of Strange Mercy took a similar tract, giving us the blissful stutter-step of “Chloe in the Afternoon” only to tell the tale of a high-class prostitute grown existentially bored. If one descriptor can be appended to St. Vincent’s “unclassifiable style”, it’s her own notion of “Laughing with a Mouth of Blood.”
“Birth in Reverse”, from St. Vincent’s forthcoming self-titled release, continues this stark dichotomy. Clark assures us it’s an “ordinary day” in the opening lines, but couches this pledge of normality in squalling guitar antics. She can’t keep her inner-guitar nerd at bay here, while dogs bark and birds chirp she aims to stab the listener straight in the heart with her jagged guitar lines. “You can say that I’m sane”, Clark rattles off in the chorus, though all this discord says otherwise. Just before the drums drop out of their steady gallop and the guitar begins to whirr like a chainsaw, Clark delivers the track’s most honest line “it’s my report from the edge.” If we learn anything from the report, it’s that St. Vincent won’t stop masking the strange as “normal” anytime soon.
St. Vincent is out February 25 through Republic/Loma Vista. Check out the tracklist below and listen to the track here.
2. “Birth In Reverse”
3. “Prince Johnny”
4. “Huey Newton”
5. “Digital Witness”
6. “I Prefer Your Love”
8. “Bring Me Your Loves”
10. “Every Tear Disappears”
11. “Severed Crossed Fingers”