MASSSEDUCTION marks Annie Clark’s (stage name St. Vincent) fifth album. Her previous pseudonym titled album St. Vincent went on to receive a Grammy for Best Alternative Album however MASSEDUCTION may add to that collection. The album, which was co-produced by Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff (famous collaborations include Lorde & Taylor Swift) provides a refreshing ‘80s sound with flaring synths and heavy 808’s. The sound adds to the idea of “seduction” and positively adds to the growing sub genre of futuristic pop. The captious lyrics allow for a dark expose of Clark’s life as a whole taking on topics such as addiction (“Pills”) and suicide (“Smoking Section”). However, Clark is able to turn her recovery into a work of art as she puts together the broken pieces of her life and creates a beautiful musical puzzle.
Overall, the thirteen tracks provided were invigorating to say the least but only a few stood out to me. The title track provided for the idea of attraction. Clark spoke about the title track as her either being “seduced or the seducer”. The lines “I can’t turn off what turns me on/I hold you like a weapon” stood out to me the most as both seemed go along with the idea of attraction. What she has her eye on is dangerous but the force is too strong to be reckoned then saying she can not “turn off” what turns her on.
The instrumental track “Dancing with the Ghosts” serves as an emotional prelude to “Slow Disco” whose title is often repeated into the track. I loved the melancholic strings of the track as it resonated with mood of “Slow Disco”. The introduction tells the listeners that what they’re about to hear is somber. Clark has done this before on her first album with the two tracks “We Put a Pearl in the Ground” serving as an introduction for “Landmines”.
“Pills” and “Smoking Section” seem to be the controversial since they take on such harsh topics. “Pills” begins to go on about how it is much easier to live life when drugged rather than being sober. The chorus of the track “Pills to wake/pills to sleep” describe how Clark felt during a short period of her life when she would take sleeping pills. The chorus is a play on how she felt taking pills was the way to live her life. “Smoking Section” takes listeners down a much darker road as the lyrics are critical to the safety of life. Many lyrics in this song are ways one could possibly end their life such as the lines “Sometimes I stand with a pistol in my hand/ I go to the edge of my roof” and I feel like St. Vincent wrote these lines to discuss the thoughts she’s had. The title of the song even describes something that’s risky for health. Sitting a in a smoking section could cause second hand smoke. My analysis of the title could be a stretch however, it correlates with the meaning of the song. However, the song concludes with Clark repeating the lines “it’s not the end”. It seems as though she turned around and let go of the negative thoughts and reassured herself she has more to live for and go on.
Overall, MASS SEDUCTION provides for a new sound for both genres of pop and alternative. I truly think it could be a contender for the 2019 Grammy’s possibly allowing Clark to receive her second grammy in Best Alternative Album. I enjoyed the unique sounds of the album and the compelling lyrics making St. Vincent an asset to the music industry.