Smoking Section


St. Vincent doesn’t like to be questioned about where her songs come from. She doesn’t like to be accused of writing about herself. She retorts, rightly, that the presumption of intimacy in songwriting is incredibly condescending and inherently gendered. We may ask a man if he’s writing about himself, but we don’t take it for granted that he does. Songwriter Annie Clark resents the assumption that she’s incapable of purely intellectual writing. That having been said, though, intellectual and imaginative writing, and emotionally intimate writing aren’t mutually exclusive, and it is in fact the tricky balance of being both that marks the songs of St. Vincent, while escaping the skills of most other songwriters male and female. St. Vincent writes incredibly intimate songs that feel like they’re coming from directly inside her head; it also so happens that St. Vincent herself is a fictional persona. We never really know what Annie Clark is thinking and feeling, we only know what she wants us to know St. Vincent is thinking and feeling.

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