“Every record I make has an archetype,” says Annie Clark, the creative force behind St. Vincent.
“Strange Mercy was Housewives on Pills. St. Vincent was Near-Future Cult Leader. MASSEDUCTION is different, it’s pretty first person. You can’t fact-check it, it’s not a diary entry, but if you want to know about my life, listen to this record.”
MASSEDUCTION (out October 13, on Loma Vista Recordings), is a bold, emotional reckoning largely themed around power. Or as Clark specifies, “All the forces that can swallow you whole.”
The album comes at a pivotal point in her life. Clark’s last album, St. Vincent, won her breakout acclaim plus performances on the season finale of SNL and with a reconstituted Nirvana for their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The album landed on several album-of-the-year lists (among them, Pitchfork, New York Times, and Rolling Stone), culminating in Clark’s first GRAMMY nomination and win for Best Alternative Music Album. Around the same time her personal life was thrust into tabloids. The mass seduction she writes of includes notoriety and beauty, but it also basks in intoxicating distractions such as pills, sex, and sorrow.
MASSEDUCTION is, most accurately, a mosaic of Clark’s experiences. “I have all this source material, because I never really stop writing,” she says. “With this record, I had years’ worth of notes and voice memos that I’d collected on the road”—the aforementioned intro to “New York” being one of them—“‘Here’s this melody from Amsterdam.’ ‘Here’s this lyric from Latvia,’ and so on.”
Turning that source material into MASSEDUCTION required monastic discipline. “For months, until I finished the record, I refrained from anything that could be a distraction. I wasn’t drinking, and I was celibate,” she explains. “I was a tabula-rasa version of myself, the conservation and focus of energy.”
Much of Clark’s creative process has entailed challenging, then surprising, even herself. “I started playing the guitar when I was 12 and really never stopped” she adds. It’s somewhat inevitable that her identity would ultimately entwine with her creations. “Music is still my entire identity. There are so many ways to be creative. With this record, I really broadened my palate.”
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