Album Name: Daddy’s Home
Band: St. Vincent
Release Date: May 14, 2021
Genre: Soft / Glam Rock
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Playing dress-up never gets old. It’s thrilling to reach into the deepest depths of your closet, and pull out hand-over-hand a seemingly endless cascade of jackets and cardigans tangled together – as if a tether to another time. And when you try on those old clothes, you wonder about all the different versions of yourself that could exist out there. . . So when artists we know and love play dress-up for us, we’re similarly enticed. That is what St. Vincent has done with her new record ‘Daddy’s Home.’ By slipping into a green sport coat and a wide-collared shirt, St. Vincent has invited us into a potent memory of bittersweet delirium set to a backdrop of early 70’s New York.
While she has changed her outfit, St. Vincent, or Annie Clarke, has not shed her sincerity. By embracing a psychedelic palette of sitar and lap slide, it gives her instrumentalism a chance to flow and express the mood of her sometimes enigmatic lyrics. And the lyrics are rooted in something close and true to the artist. The title ‘Daddy’s Home’ is in reference to Clarke’s father’s 10 year incarceration and his recent release, which is a seriously complex emotional jumping off point for a record.
As another departure from usual habits, St. Vincent doesn’t offer her own backing vocals except in select moments. Instead we’re warmed by a beautiful party of singers waiting in the wings. With this choice, St. Vincent shuns the self-echoing narcissism that can seep into rock stars at this stage in their careers. That’s what the track “Live in the Dream” is about – parodying Pink Floyd’s Numb, the message is that this artist character is rescued before their own creativity completely distorts them. That kind of self-awareness is what makes St. Vincent so authentic.
So although ‘Daddy’s Home’ is named for St. Vincent’s own experiences with her father, I like to think that the real Daddy here is St. Vincent. Because when her video for the single “Pay Your Way In Pain” dropped, it was as if she waltzed into the room with the swarthy confidence of any Bowie around to make herself at home in music history.
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