Tracey: It’s St. Vincent’s moment. Well, it HAS been St. Vincent’s moment for a while, but “Masseduction” makes it official nationwide: she’s the living head saint in the Church of Rock and Roll. (She was the frikkin honorary lead singer for Nirvana, guys, and how is anyone supposed to top that?) In this, her best, most unpredictable set, she even gets a blessing from a previous-generation luminary like Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis. It will seem to some of Annie Clark’s long-devoted fans that “Masseduction” makes too many concessions to the vagaries of a pop landscape that she has hitherto avoided, but that’s a small price to pay for World Domination. I’ll rather have St. Vincent write some genuine bangers, than listen to Miley Cyrus culturally assaulting whatever genre she’s into this year. Who cares if even our uncool friends will be all like “Pills to wake, pills to sleep, pills pills pills every day of the week” when this worms its way into their heads? Oh brethren, let’s allow ourselves to share Musical Salvation with the crowds. (Us in the know will still have “Strange Mercy.”) St. Vincent has written a rosary’s worth of great songs before, but “Masseduction” is a MASS-terpiece, an album that even non-fans will have to begrudgingly include in their music collections, lest those feel incomplete.
Cousin Franz: Agreed. “New York” is tender even in its abrupt profanity.
Across the continent, “Los Ageless” goes as harsh on “showbiz kids” as Steely Dan ever did.
“Pills,” which is practically a mini-suite of social indictment, transitions effortlessly from the lysergic chaos one would expect from Animal Collective to the anthemic bliss of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.”
And in “Smoking Section,” St. Vincent finally anoints herself with (Ziggy) Stardust as she attempts her very own “Rock and Roll Suicide.”
Tracey: Bowie is Dead. Long Live Annie.
Hank: Wow. Kiddo, there’s some cool tracks here, but there’s also more than a few half-baked, under-developed songs (like “Fear the Future,” which is an aimless, out and out mistake). Aren’t you exaggerating a little? Idolatry for a Saint, much?
Tracey: No. Album of the Year. OF THE DECADE.
Beatricia: Hardly. “Masseduction” is a lot of pop clap-trap, but I’ll give it a Cherry because its best song genuinely tugs at my tears. Annie Clark hides behind too many layers of pop artifice, but she drops (or pretends to drop) the facade of Sphinxian detachment for her most naked admission yet, a perhaps-based-on-real-events ditty called “Happy Birthday Johnny.” Here, she’s still Annie from the Block; she tells us about the plight of a pre-fame friend who has taken to Jim Carroll’s “The Basketball Diaries” as though it was a “how-to-manual,” instead of a “cautionary tale.” Junkie Johnny is living in the streets, fading out of sight as St. Vincent’s star rises; in a harrowing confession, Annie blames herself for the friend she couldn’t save. She seems to almost HOPE that Johnny is in prison somewhere. With a heart-breaker like this, I worry that Johnny is one of those “people who died, died. They were all my friends- and they died.”
Tracey: I knooow! Sooo sad!
Trent: Hot chick, hot music! Although I think that if St. Vincent heard me say that, she would pick up her magical guitar pick and quietly slice through my jugular with it. “Pills to wake, pills to sleep, pills pills pills every day of the week!” Hahaha! Love that one!
Grandpa Felicius: Sycophants, the lot of you. This “Saint” might as well come from a Papist Church’s discount bin, and aside from Ms. Clarke’s accidental prowess at attacking her magnetic guitar, there is nary a single beep or bloop in this musical assortment that couldn’t have been emmited by any number of “Top of the Pops” starlets. Why, most of the album is produced by a certain Jack Antonoff, the hack responsible for similar fare by other nobodies like “Taylor Swift” and “Lorde,” whoever they may be. Couldn’t hold a candle to Annie Pennington, that’s for blazing sure! Now THERE was an Annie who could bring the Ziegfeld Follies to a halt when she shook and shivered!
Tracey: Sacrilege! Do not speak thusly of St. Vincent!
Blurbarella: “FEAR THE FUTURE– LOVE THE ANNIE!”
5 out of 6 Cherries