In the tongue-in-cheek press campaign leading up to MASSEDUCTION, St. Vincent featured in a series of videos that found the musician (real name Annie Clark) giving dumb questions the sarcastic answers they deserve — and that biting wit and unfuckwithable attitude translates to the record itself.
It opens with the subdued synth-driven dreaminess of "Hang on Me," then takes a left turn into the darkly playful pharmaceutical jingle "Pills." Elsewhere, the increasingly electro-leaning instrumentation and effects only up the intended kink factor on cuts like "MASSEDUCTION" and "Savior."
Despite her growing reliance on synths, though, Clark certainly still knows how to rip a razor-sharp riff. Blasts of distorted guitar wizardry inject perfectly jarring anxious energy into tracks like centerpiece "Los Ageless" and "Fear the Future."
"Happy Birthday, Johnny" and "New York," meanwhile, stand out in beautifully tender contrast — the former a touching ode to estranged family and the latter a delicate love letter to the titular city and its inhabitants. "Young Lover" proves another highlight, pairing haunting lyrical imagery of drug overdoses and Paris with a thumping beat, swelling instrumentation and a choral crescendo that leads beautifully into the three-part comedown that closes the record.
Clark promised us "sex and drugs and sadness" on MASSEDUCTION, and while that sounds like a recipe for clichéd disaster, she kept her word and managed to fashion a totally refreshing take in the process. (Loma Vista)