St. Vincent – Daddy's Home
Shapeshifting songwriter Annie Clark unearths family truths on her new album
Annie Clark – the shape-shifting songwriter and producer behind St. Vincent – has long been a fan of a muse. In 2011’s Strange Mercy, Clark was enthralled with bondage and bloodlust balladry while 2014’s eponymous fourth record saw her honing in on a voyeuristic new age. By 2017’s Masseduction, Clark was pushing her concept crafting to the limit with an ambitious one-woman live show, taking interviews from inside a hot-pink cube.
But despite St. Vincent’s decade-spanning career as such a forward-looking artist, her latest effort serves up a more retro flavour. Daddy’s Home is inspired by Clark’s father and his recent release from prison after serving ten-years for a white collar crime. In his absence, the songwriter spent time rifling through his record collection which seeps into the louche soul sound of Melting of the Sun or slow-tempo Sheena Easton offcut, My Baby Wants a Baby.
But it's sombre tracks like The Laughing Man where Clark carves deep into the family tree. Swept back to her adolescent years of ‘half pipes and PlayStations’, she casts her mind back to her father leaving: ‘I know you’re gone / You dropped the scene / Left all your guitars to me’. Likewise, title track Daddy’s Home opens a window into visitation times as Clark admits to ‘signing autographs in the waiting room’.
It can’t be easy unearthing such autobiographical truths about something so personal for her and her siblings (Clark is one of nine) but then families are complicated. Old wounds will heal. Internal hierarchies get disbanded. After all, Clark’s never been looking for permission to seek a higher plane. She’s sacrosanct.
Listen to: Daddy's Home, Melting of the Sun, My Baby Wants a Baby