Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent, has released her latest album Daddy’s Home, an immersive 11-track journey taking the listener through 70’s era New York griminess, the complexity of human emotions, and unapologetic vulnerability.
Following 2017’s GRAMMY award-winning, MASSEDUCTION, Clark began writing the songs that make up Daddy’s Home in 2019 after her father was released from prison, closing the loop on a journey that began with his incarceration in 2010. Opening with “I sign autographs in the visitation room,” the title track to the album deals with exactly that – inspired by the experience of taking her father home after almost a decade in prison.
In this album, we see Clark taking her narrative into her own hands, “I wanted to tell my story with a level of humour and compassion,” she said in an interview with NME where Clark discussed how the story was told against her will after her family’s past had been dredged up in the tabloids.
We certainly feel the humour and compassion in this record, with a range of emotions exploring the highs of madness and the lows of despair. The aforementioned title track is punchy, playful, and powerful. Punctuated by groovy brass and slinky background vocals, the song opens with a coolness that quickly descends into primal vocal squeals. Repetitive whispers frantically chant “daddy’s home,” like voices in your head that refuse to remain quiet. The track follows the frantic energy that set the tone for the album with “Pay Your Way In Pain,” the first single released from Daddy’s Home.
“Live In The Dream” follows the painful shrieks of “Daddy’s Home,” a warm and inviting track that quite literally feels like you’re floating in a dream. Clark’s vocals melt into each other in harmony overtop cascading violins and a lamenting guitar. It’s easy to lose yourself in this six-minute long journey, as the seemingly innocent song slowly builds to a maelstrom of shredding guitar and vocal howls.
The album maintains a sort of quietness here, as Clark sings “if life’s a joke, then I’m dying laughing” in “The Laughing Man,” a pessimistic, menacing, and overall captivating track. In this song, Clark is deep in thought, musing on an inner monologue that feels like it may never end.
It does end though, with the grand interruption that is “Down,” a track that brings the funk back and packs a punch. Clark warns “get off of my tit, go face your demons…just get far away from me” before launching into the chorus where she proclaims “I’ll take you down” over and over, and we believe her.
In “My Baby Wants A Baby,” Clark contemplates motherhood as she examines the selfish fears that some people, unwillingly, also hold against parenting. Her vocals are harsh and truncated, the words coming out of her with hesitation and despair before spiralling into a frenzy of worries, including everything from not realizing her creative potential to passing on mistakes to her baby.
Daddy’s Home is a masterful album that stands to be in line with the classic 70’s albums that inspired this body of work. While the narrative of these songs is drawn from Clark’s own stories, it remains surprisingly relatable and cathartic for the listener.
Listen to Daddy’s Home here.
Daddy’s Home Tracklist
- Pay Your Way In Pain
- Down And Out Downtown
- Daddy’s Home
- Live In the Dream
- The Melting Of The Sun
- The Laughing Man
- Somebody Like Me
- My Baby Wants A Baby
- …At The Holiday Party
- Candy Darling