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on February 14, 2018
This is certainly the best album St. Vincent has made, and one of the best albums anyone has made in the past 10 years or so.

It has what I think are my three favorite St. Vincent songs: "The Neighbors," "Laughing With a Mouth of Blood" and "Just the Same But Brand New."

I'd describe it like this to someone unfamiliar with the album and artist: beautiful singing, sneaky and powerful guitar playing, solid and unconventional song-writing, deeply intricate soundscapes, and a fundamentally weird, threatening mood that permeates everything. Annie Clark reportedly said she was inspired by Disney cartoons when making this album--I'm guessing the Wicked Queen segments of Snow White. "Just the Same But Brand New," for instance, is a very delicate song throughout that somehow manages to build to a hard-hitting crescendo, and when it's over, it leaves behind a feeling similar to watching a very effective psychological horror movie. Hard to describe, as is the whole album.

Finally, it is solid from front to back, every song. (Although... sometimes I feel like I wouldn't miss "The Bed" if it were left off.)
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Annie Clark, the one-woman band behind St. Vincent, released a delightful debut album in 2007, "Marry Me", one of the most pleasant and impressive albums, period, in 2007. Now comes the highly anticipated follow-up album.

"Actor" (11 tracks; 39 min.) continues on, and expands, the eclectic sounds of the debut album. Clark throws in all kinds of mixes and influences on this album: rock, jazz, electronic and classical, it's all hear. The opener ""The Strangers" starts things off quietly, only to then dive in with a hard-charging "Save Me From What I Want". The single "Actor Out Of Work" is as mainstream and accessible (rock) as St. Vincent has ever been (and had commercial radio any life-pulse left, this would be played, but alas...). Other highlights include the gentle sounding but biting hard lyrics "Laughing With a Mouth of Blood", and the closing two tracks: the epic "Just the Same But Brand New" ( at 5+ min. the longest track here) and the short "The Sequel", which sounds open-ended and summarizes the album nicely, inviting us for the next serving of St. Vincent.

In all, this album is as equally good, if not better, than "Marry Me". If you like indie-rock, you surely will not be disappointed by this. I've seen St. Vincent in concert a number of times, most recently just last weekend at the Bonnaroo music festival, and each time I see her, she sounds better and better live. Finally, if you wonder where you might hear St. Vincent, check out WOXY (BAM! The Future of Rock and Roll), the internet-only station that plays the best indie-music in the country, bar none.
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on March 21, 2015
Vinyl copy. A high quality pressing, static clean. The jacket is a double, all lyrics included. The MP3 download includes Bicycle, which not on the record, it is an Amazon bonus track. Most of the tracks benefit greatly from the analog clarity, Black Rainbow and The Party are beautiful. The album has very little distortion effects used that would defeat the analog mode, the vocals are clear, the instrumentation includes woodwinds and brass (very nice) and her guitar sounds especially good on Mouth of Blood.
I still have my LP collection from the 60's and 70's, this is my first new addition this century. I am very happy with it.
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on January 15, 2013
There were a few over-the-top moments and some moments that were slower than I usually like. But it's still the most interesting music I've heard in years. I've always been into "weird stuff" including Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Bjork, Radiohead and things like that. This is in the same ballpark. Annie provides a lot of experimental, unexpected and dischordant progressions, but it's melodic and catchy most of the time.

Thanks to SPOTIFY for allowing me to preview this entire album. The result is that I purchased it so I could listen to it on my MP3 player(s), since I don't have an unlimited data plan on any mobile device. If you don't know SPOTIFY--it's the only TRULY LEGAL way to stream darned-near anything you might want to hear.
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This is her most "cinematic" type work in my opinion. It is some how I think her most "pop accessible" as well. I'm not sure how that gets pulled off. Maybe you'll hear something totally different. Everything I have heard from her is brilliant though and so is this. I can't recall a single track that really grabbed as much as I thought the whole thing had a "Flow" to it.
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on February 11, 2011
I got this cd in the mail today. And it has been on constant repeat!! I hate the radio and
this cd has made me believe in music again! I am a serious audiophile!!! And I mean serious. Annie
Clark aka St. Vincent has out done herself. I take a trip on each track.The songs are all well written, and
different. I hear a touch of Bjork, a touch of Kate Bush. What a wonderful songwriter. If you love music like I
do PLEASE BUY THIS CD!!! YOU WON"T BE DISAPPOINTED. St. Vincent thinks outside the box. I hate current radio and
am always looking for something music wise that is not COOKIE CUTTER. This CD is it!!! The lyrics are dark but you always hear that bit of light that comes through her voice. This woman has something to say! Put this cd in your player and take a trip!!!! You will NOT be disappointed.
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on March 9, 2011
I cannot comment on the differences between the first album and this one because i haven't heard the first yet, but i really do like this one. i usually like weird and by looking at the covers of her albums you can tell that she'll be a bit different than katy beiber or whatever vileness 80% of others listen to. im going to trust that people looking at st. vincent are not mainstream. this is great. now take the next step and check this lady out.
i cannot come up with anyone that she sounds like.

st. vincent is certified completely fresh.
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This, the second album by versatile songwriter-lyricist-vocalist-instrumentalist Annie Clark, has all the virtues of her first album, Marry Me. The lyrics are smart, the melodies compelling, harmonies and backing interesting and original throughout. Clark has an interesting musical mind. Her songs abound in unexpected twists and hooks. The lyrics and melodies dig into your mind and linger there long after you've listened to them. And all the songs on her album are worth listening to. It's not a case of one or two good ones and a lot of filler. But I don't enjoy this album anywhere near as much as I did Marry Me, which I thought was one of the best albums -pop or otherwise--that I heard that year. The problem with Actor is the drums. There's too much of them and too often. Tracks 1 through 9 are driven by propulsive, often monotonous beats -sometimes echoing disco- and while they all fit, and form rhythmic counterparts to her quirky melodies and lyrics, over nine straight tracks they beat me down. It's too much, too monotonous. Her songs snake along sinuously and the drums --instead of catching her tricky ways with rhythm and accent in the songs themselves-- thump, thump, thump, thump along. It's a relief to hit Tracks 10 and 11: "Just the Same But Brand New" and "The Sequel," because the thump, thump is gone. Annie Clark is a true musical talent. This is a good album but it could have been better and she's good enough that it should have been.
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on October 23, 2009
All I had heard of this album was that it was better than her debut album Marry Me, which I greatly enjoyed. And while it's a good album, it's not better than Marry Me. In fact, I'd say it's the other way around.

If you appreciated the complex arrangements of the first, it's quite noticeable that, as stated by the artist, she used Garage Band to compose the music. There's a fairly overbearing drumbeat through most of the tracks that I felt distracted from the arrangements for which she was previously known. The enjoyable tempo shifts and changes in pace that worked so well in the first album are disguised by that same beat that seems to plod along throughout the entire song. This does seem to cease at around track 8, but that doesn't leave a lot of the album left.

What I appreciated about the first album was it's intricate structure, melody and harmony, that came from a wide range of sources, (Marry Me contained everything from violin and cello to upright bass and vibraphone) and how all those sources interacted and/or clashed to form the structure of the songs. Actor offers little, save for a distracting, overbearing, seemingly electronic beat, to substitute for the wide array of instruments used on the first, which, despite what other reviewers have stated, is much more musically dense than Actor.

Marry Me is a much better album, in my opinion, in structure and content. As such, it's not that this album's bad, it's just not as good as it's predecessor. Here's hoping for a return to form on the next album.
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on January 1, 2015
having listened to many of her albums that I got at the library I would say that this is her second best work "Mary Me" being the best.
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