St. Vincent – Marry Me
Beggars Banquet, 2007
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007
It took me a couple of years to begin my love affair with Annie Clark. I swear to god, I don't know if I've ever been this in love with a female artist. Or at least a modern day one, there was the Chantal Goya/Francoise Hardy phase, but as of right now I think she's set to take over the world. When this record came out, I paid little attention. I liked the lead-off track “Now Now,” but never payed attention that much. After getting involved with her latest release, Actor, when I saw this at Love Garden (Sealed!) I immediately went for it. It's much more innovative than I remembered! Very orchestral, lots of choir back-ups, but still very light and pop oriented. Actor amps everything up, but Marry Me is nothing to scoff at! It's hard not to love this record though. Her voice is so perfect and inviting. Sultry yet lush and warm and inviting. Just listen to that sweetness oozing out of the title track (yes, the album is an “Arrested Development” reference). I never realize how much the guitar on this record sound like Radiohead a la OK Computer guitars. Like on the excellent Christmas song “Jesus Saves, I Spend.” Honestly though, Clark is a gifted guitarist and her ability to mold it to whatever the song requires is part of what makes her music so great. There's a sweetness to her voice and a wryness to her lyrics that makes for a really interesting combination. It's never cynical, though her lyrics could often be perceived as so. It's a terrific debut album in that it's unafraid of stylistic restraints. One moment she's diggin on upbeat chamber pop as on “Jesus Saves, I Spend,” the next she's constructing the dark, driving “Your Lips are Red.” And then there's the first single, “Paris is Burning,” which is probably the best song on the record, or at least the most promising. With its sad trombone opening, you expect a dreary, rainy day dirge and it develops into a sexy little groove. This record is better in hindsight, and made complete sense to me after Actor came out. I appreciate it for what it is, but I also appreciate it for where it's going. And overall, it's just a really excellent record that makes me wish female vocalists in mainstream pop had this kind of talent, because St. Vincent deserves to be famous.