Recently, there’s been a trend towards social commentary; an analysis of our pointless placement in this century and ourselves; a simultaneous loathing and lust for how we get our kicks. On Masseduction St. Vincent follows suit, and she’s railing against both the “teenage virgins with their tongues sticking out” and the daunting prospect of the future.
The album is both the exception and the rule to what music is and where, for better or worse, it is going. It wants to be popular; the beat is 75% danceable, there are some great choruses and the lyrical irony is awkwardly equidistant between triteness and poignancy.
Yet at the same time, this artist is arthritically aware of her pop surroundings. The impressionistic splashing and clashing of humanity-devoid drums on tracks such as ‘Fear The Future’ and ‘Los Ageless’, coupled with smooth synths and blue-eyed soul, seem almost sarcastic when pinned up against the wall of self-effacing vocals.
It is as if St. Vincent wants us to know she’s trying her best, but at the same time, wants us to respect how much better than that she could be if only we’d really listen to what she is saying.
Is she trying to break out of the jail of this modern world or break in? Who knows, but that makes for an album that is more than the sum of its parts, just as long as you can hear between the bars.
The LP’s opening track, ‘Hang On Me’ initially seems like the weakest of the set, but it soon melts into something more cool and instinctual. And the album actually gets better as it goes along. By the time we reach the reverential and final waltz of ‘Smoking Section’, we’ve been on a journey on which we’ve turned to this record to block out the sound of traffic and burn off the smell of minimum wage slavery and vomit – all with a crate of cheap booze in hand.
As a snog and shudder for the modern world, Masseduction should be saluted.
Words by Charlie Whytock.