St. Vincent

MassEducation - Reimagined Piano Versions

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Whether crafting baroque art-rock or flashy electro-pop, stripped-down performances have always been an integral, if overlooked, element of Annie Clark’s output as St. Vincent. She covered Jackson Browne’s “These Days” on her 2006 debut EP, but her muted live version from 2007 surpasses it; without a cushion of woodwinds, Clark’s 2009 acoustic rendition of Actor opener “The Strangers” became a hypnotic reverie. Such recordings rested off the beaten path, but consistently displayed Clark’s affinity for musical intimacy.

All this makes MassEducation, Clark’s spare, album-length reimagining of last year’s world-conquering Masseduction, an unexpected though not necessarily surprising entry in the St. Vincent catalog. But unlike the acoustic albums that have proliferated in the post-MTV Unplugged era — where artists have turned down the distortion to offer a patina of prestige, if not prestige itself — MassEducation feels more deliberate.

On Masseduction, the cascading synths, unrelenting drum machines, and plaintive guitars Clark recorded with hot pop producer Jack Antonoff (Taylor Swift, Lorde) seemed inseparable from her melodies and lyrics — even if she emphasized in interviews that the tunes were the most intimate and realized of her career. Her characterization of the material was prescient: It’s tough to imagine another St. Vincent album with songs malleable enough to be stylistically translated en masse in this way.


Side A
1. Slow Disco
2. Savior
3. Masseduction
4. Sugarboy
5. Fear The Future
6. Smoking Section

Side B
1. Los Ageless
2. New York
3. Young Lover
4. Happy Birthday, Johnny
5. Pills
6. Hang On Me

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