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Hey, any album that has makes the emoesque line "paint the black hole blacker" work has got to have something special. And Clark's second solo album is a little lot of unhappiness and melancholy wrapped in woobling synth and vintage crackles, eruptions of blurry sound and beautiful vocals. It has a more unified sound than her debut, twisting catchy pop melodies into unpredictable streams of oddball indie music.
"Lover, I don't play to win/For the thrill until I'm spent/Paint the black hole blacker... What do I share?/What do I keep from all the strangers who sleep where I sleep," St Vincent sings wistfully over an angular little accordion-laced melody. About halfway through, it whirls off into echoing space while the synth spirals around her.
It's followed the ethereal, drum-saturated "Save Me From What I Want," fast-paced guitar pop laced with drawling vocals, and whirling fever dreams of slightly warped pop melodies -- they're soaked in woobly organ, cacophonous eruptions of sound, and interludes of dreamlike synth. The album winds down on a mellower note with the last trio of songs: the off-kilter piano pop of the "The Party" (which serves as an awe-inspiring climax), the crystalline fragility of "Just The Same But Brand New," and the wistful horn-saturated drift of "The Sequel."
Not to mention "The Bed," a delicate tangle of piano and twittering flute... until you realize that it's about children who have "gotta teach them all a lesson" ("them" being all-too-human monsters) with their "dear daddy's Smith and Wesson.Read more ›
Actor, first and foremost, is a much heavier, denser album than Marry Me; more Shara Worden than Regina Spektor. Clark's guitar skills are not as apparent on this album, but they have their loud, obtrusive moments. "The Strangers," opens the album on a light, bouncy note as Clark sings "Paint the black hole blacker," over some lovely instrumentation. It's not until the instrumental bridge that we witness the darkness of which she sings - an incredibly distorted electric guitar, bursting through the mix to accelerate the song and, consequently, the album as well. Keep that in mind. It's not the last time it'll pop up on Actor.
The album's biggest flaw is its lack of many catchy hooks. That sounds kind of shallow, but it's something the Marry Me had - that made it so relentlessly listenable - that Actor does not. "Actor Out of Work" and "Marrow" are the most notable exceptions to this comment, the former being the album's first single and most radio-friendly tune. "Marrow," on the other hand, is just an awesome example of Clark's "WTF-ness." One second she's singing softly of some ghoulish synth choirs and the next she's singing "H-E-L-P/Help me!/ Help me!Read more ›
I looked forward to Actor for months. At first listen, I admit, I was a bit letdown. "The Strangers" was great: epic, cryptic, hypnotic, comparable to "Now, Now" from Marry Me. "Actor out of Work" got lodged in my head before the two and a half minutes were up. None of other songs grabbed my attention. After I played the album a few times, "Save me from What I Want," became my new favorite. The lyrics were deceptively deep and aching, like nothing on Marry Me. Then, I think it was "The Party." It didn't take long before I fell in love, again, with Annie/St. Vincent. As good as Marry Me is, Actor is ultimately more addictive, more compelling and more satisfying.
If I have one complaint about Marry Me, it's that the songs leave me somewhat cold. They're clever, fascinating, lovely. But I don't feel a strong connection with the artist because none of it seems particularly genuine. It's ironic that, on "Actor," I empathize with her despair, by far, the prevalent sentiment. Perhaps, Annie Clark is only comfortable exposing her soul while symbolically affecting an actor's part. For example, the bitterness in "Actor out of Work" is more jarring than in the intentionally harsh "Your Lips are Red" off Marry Me.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Thingfish33
Sounds like demo record in which she played all the instruments herself (badly). She sounds much much better live with a band backing her up.Published 11 months ago by greenwood
Had this CD for a couple months now at least. The quality of this product is very good. Very solid CD case, which, like, stores the CD really well. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Ian O'Lear
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... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Parri Davis
Love this album love this vinyl love St. Vincent (also shipped really quickly)Published 17 months ago by Doga Tekin