From the opening seconds of the new St. Vincent
track, "New York," fans will be surprised. There is almost no trace of Annie Clark's usual musical traits. There are no distorted guitar riffs, no wacky or experimental instrumentation. In fact, "New York" is one of the most straightforward releases that she's ever put out. It's a simplistic pop tune, relying heavily on a breezy piano chord progression, bassy synths, swelling strings, and Clark's fantastic vocal performance. It's totally unexpected, but not in the usual way with St. Vincent. Over the years, fans have become accustomed to Clark's ambitious musical adventures and artistic risks, but "New York" simply is what it is: a good pop song with a catchy hook, something that's fun enough to listen to while also being short enough to make you want more.
Lyrically speaking, the song is as simple as the instrumentation, with lyrics like "I have lost a hero, I have lost a friend/ But for you, darling, I'd do it all again." It's a blunt breakup song, but when Clark sings, "You're the only motherfucker in the city who could stand me," you get the sense that it's even more so about the inherent dependency of being in love, and the desperation one feels when that lover is gone.
The single comes off of her upcoming album, which is due out later in the year and will accompany her new "Fear the Future" tour
in the fall. If Annie Clark wanted to release "New York" as the first single off of her new album for the purpose of giving us a sense of what to expect from it, then we should be in for an enjoyable, direct pop record.