St. Vincent Credit: Nedda Asfari

Upon my first listen to St. Vincent’s newest album, October’s Masseducation, I experienced disappointment. Produced largely by hit machine Jack Antonoff, it’s a massive step away from the knotty, topsy-turvy prog-funk of Annie Clark’s brilliant 2014 self-titled LP, instead jumping into straightforward electro-pop. But a few spins later, it became clear that Masseducation is another step in evolution for Clark’s genius. Sure, the beats snap rather than throb, and there’s significantly less of her insane guitar shredding, but the comparative simplicity of the music sets a perfect backdrop for her beautiful voice and off-kilter melodies. Though a couple moments of Masseducation dip into schlocky radio-ready piano-pop (like on the single “New York”), it’s easy to look past that when the record serves up next-level cuts like the sketchy buzzing “Pills” and the heartbreakingly honest “Happy Birthday, Johnny.”   v

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