Annie Clark, St. Vincent

Annie Clark, St. Vincent

St. Vincent Looks Through the Past Darkly on 'Daddy's Home'

Annie Clark examines her relationship with her father on a retro-minded LP

5/15/2021 7:01:00 AM

Annie Clark examines her relationship with her father on St. Vincent 's latest retro-minded LP, 'Daddy's Home.' Read our review

Annie Clark examines her relationship with her father on a retro-minded LP

Low: a drug-addled comedown that meanders away from the spotlight and avoids making any clear Statement, but always carries a sense of urgency and self-importance. “[It’s] post-flower-child idealism, but it’s pre-disco,” Clarkof the era and artists she was inspired by for the record. “It’s this period of time that I feel like is analogous to where we are now. We’re in the grimy, sleazy, trying-to-figure-out-where-we-go-from-here period.”

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The best moments onDaddy’s Homehighlight those jagged borders and contradictions. Clark’s howling vocals and delightfully angular synths on “Pay Your Way in Pain” make it one of the strongest album openings of the year. Elsewhere on the album, she transcends her well-established guitar prowess with sitar solos and lap steel detours, played over soaring gospel vocals supplied by backup singers Lynne Fiddmont and Kenya Hathaway (daughter of the late Donny Hathaway). Nowhere does it all come together so perfectly as on the groovy “Down,” which is just a perfect pop track.

Despite the album’s high concept, the lyrical territory is quite familiar as far as St. Vincent goes. While Clark does describe signing autographs in her father’s visitation room on the titular “Daddy’s Home,” her concerns and musings are all over the place: substance dependency (building off of

Masseduction’s obvious earworm “Pills”), the price of fame, religious puritanism, falls from grace on the Manhattan subway. None of these are new subjects for Clark, which isn’t a huge problem until it starts to get in the way of the music – take the maudlin “The Laughing Man,” or closer “Candy Darling,” which feels tacked-on the end of the record.

It’s a shame, because “Candy Darling” is immediately preceded by the album’s real revelation. On “My Baby Wants a Baby,” Clark frets over how she can possibly be a provider while wanting to “play guitar all day” and “make all my meals in microwaves.” She starts to answer her own question on the very next song, “ …At the Holiday Party,” where she stages an intervention for a friend who keeps “a pharmacy” in their purse. “Pretend to want these things, so no one sees you not getting not getting what you need,” Clark notes with compassion. “You can’t hide from me.” For all the album’s promotional bluster and cheeky provocation surrounding the term “daddy,” what the song really implies is her journey into becoming a good caregiver — not the “grimy, sleazy” conclusion you might have hoped for, but maybe Clark’s most honest one yet.

Read more: Rolling Stone »

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