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First Listen: St. Vincent's Latest Album

Friday, February 21, 2014

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton, co-hosts of NPR Music's All Songs Considered, join us to discuss a new album from one of music's creative songwriters. St. Vincent's eponymous album comes out next week.



The guitarist and songwriter Annie Clark, who goes by the stage name St. Vincent, was on this program a few years ago. She told us that she doesn't like to explain her songs. She feels like it can be a disservice to her fans. As she put it, I'd rather leave a little room for people to put themselves into it. Well, let's climb, together, into St. Vincent's newest album. It's her fourth, it has a simple title: "St. Vincent." It comes out next week, but you can hear the whole thing this week at our website, npr.org/music. This is a feature we call First Listen.

Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are the co-hosts of NPR Music's ALL SONGS CONSIDERED, and they're with us to talk about St. Vincent, the artist and the album.


ST. VINCENT: (Singing) Get back to your seat.

BOB BOILEN, BYLINE: So Robin Hilton, you know, Annie Clark was on tour doing a project with David Byrne the last year and a half, put out a record called "Love This Giant," right? And she comes home from the tour, settles down, 36 hours later she's writing the music to this new album "St. Vincent."


VINCENT: (Singing) People turned the TV on, it looks just like a window. Yeah.

BOILEN: Yeah. And this song "Digital Witness," like a lot of the songs on this record has very existential theme. She asked, what's the point of doing anything if you can't share it? You know, post a photo online.

ROBIN HILTON, BYLINE: Poking fun at all of...

BOILEN: All of this. And the commentary really, on the digital age where the closest contact we had with other humans seeing them on a screen somewhere.


VINCENT: (Singing) What's the point of even sleeping if I can't show it, if you can't see me?

HILTON: She works with bands doing very organic take music, bands in a room playing music. But then as a guitarist, she takes the guitar sound and changes it to a very digital sound. So you get this organic and inorganic things coming together. And you can really hear it in this song "Bring Me Your Love."


VINCENT: (Singing) Bring me your love, all your loves. I want to love them too, you know?

BOILEN: This song, also like a lot of the other cuts on this record, it's a very aggressive song. Even the cover of this record has a picture of Annie Clark sitting on a throne looking sinister like some sort of futuristic overlord. But a lot of these songs come from very vulnerable moments. In one song she talks about walking through the desert naked and coming upon a rattlesnake. A true story. And then there's a really tender moment in a song called "I Prefer Your Love."

HILTON: Yeah. In that song it's a very bold, again, line. She says I prefer your love to Jesus, could really rattle a lot of people. But the love that she prefers in the song is about her mom, and her mom and a sickness and a frightful time that they had in her mother's health. She wrote the song is a gift to her mom.


VINCENT: (Singing) I, I prefer your love to Jesus.

BOILEN: And when you hear this song, as pretty as it is, it really works well juxtaposed to those bold in-your-face sounds and it really gives you a good overview of what this whole record by St. Vincent is about.


VINCENT: (Singing) Little baby on your knees, 'cause the world has got you down.

GREENE: NPR's Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton talking about the new album from St. Vincent, which comes out next week. But you can hear the whole thing, now, at our website now, npr.org/music.


VINCENT: (Singing) Sure as mother licking her finger. Wipe the blush and the smudge from my cheek and wonder what will become of your little one.

GREENE: And you're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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