Masseduction

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Masseduction
St Vincent - Masseduction.png
Studio album by St. Vincent
Released October 13, 2017 (2017-10-13)
Studio
Electric Lady Studios (New York City)
  • Rough Consumer Studio (Brooklyn)
  • Compound Fracture (Los Angeles)
Genre
Length 41:36
Label Loma Vista
Producer
St. Vincent chronology
St. Vincent
(2014)
Masseduction
(2017)
Singles from Masseduction
  1. "New York"
    Released: June 30, 2017
  2. "Los Ageless"
    Released: September 6, 2017
  3. "Pills"
    Released: October 10, 2017[1]
  4. "Masseduction"
    Released: April 23, 2018[2]

Masseduction (stylized in all caps) is the fifth studio album by American musician St. Vincent. It was released on October 13, 2017, through Loma Vista Recordings.[3] The album peaked at number 10 on the Billboard 200, becoming her first top ten album in the United States. The album also received universal acclaim and was the fourth-most mentioned in critic's year-end lists for 2017.[4]

Release and promotion[edit]

"New York" was released as the lead single from the album on June 30, 2017.[5] The album was announced on September 6 along with a pre-order and the release of the second single, "Los Ageless".[6] The announcement was followed by a series of cryptic, satirical promotional clips Clark has posted to her social media. Clark hosted a press conference on Facebook Live to announce the album, which was in the style of the sarcastic earlier clips.[7] "Pills" was released as the third single on October 10.[1] Clark headed on the "Fear the Future" tour in promotion of the album, which kicked off in October 2017.[8]

Recording[edit]

The album was produced by Clark and Jack Antonoff at Electric Lady Studios in Manhattan, with additional recording at Rough Consumer Studio in Brooklyn, and Compound Fracture in Los Angeles.[9] It features contributions from Doveman on piano, Kamasi Washington on saxophone, Jenny Lewis on guest vocals, and beat production from Sounwave, as well as pedal steel by Greg Leisz and Rich Hinman, and additional guitar and vocals from her uncle and aunt Tuck & Patti, respectively.[10][11] Model and actress Cara Delevingne, whom Clark had dated before they split in 2016, provided back-up vocals.[12]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Masseduction has been described as the "culmination of years of writing, with songs crafted from voice memos, text messages, and snippets of melodies that came to Clark while traveling the globe."[7] Clark has stated that the album focuses on themes of power, sex, drugs, sadness, imperiled relationships and death.[7][8] In a press release, she stated: "every record I make has an archetype. Strange Mercy was Housewives on Pills. St. Vincent was Near-Future Cult Leader. Masseduction is different, it's pretty first person. You can't fact-check it, but if you want to know about my life, listen to this record."[13]

Musically, the album has been characterized as "futuristic" pop,[14][15][16][17] electropop,[15][16][17][18] glam rock,[19][20][21] new wave,[12][22] ambient rock,[12][16] and "industrial-tinted techno",[15][23] while also incorporating psychedelic rock,[21][24] electronic rock[25] and dream pop.[16] It consists of guitar and piano, synths and strings, and drum beats "that punch with purpose".[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic88/100[26]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[27]
The A.V. ClubA[15]
Chicago Tribune3.5/4 stars[21]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[28]
The Guardian4/5 stars[14]
The Independent4/5 stars[29]
NME4/5 stars[30]
Pitchfork7.6/10[31]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[32]
ViceB+[33]

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 88, based on 36 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[26] According to the site, the album was the fourth-most mentioned in critics' year-end lists for 2017.[4] John Murphy of musicOMH praised the album, saying "it's clear that Clark has not only raised the bar but moved it several notches up. MASSEDUCTION is a remarkable record, a certain contender for album of the year and demonstrable proof that Clark is an artist working at the height of her powers," continuing: "MASSEDUCTION is nothing less than an absolutely towering achievement. A year after we all mourned the loss of creative geniuses like David Bowie and Prince, we should be thankful that one of their spiritual successors in Annie Clark is on fine form."[18]

El Hunt of DIY wrote, "Along with the equally exceptional St. Vincent which came before it, this is the moment that St. Vincent enters the fabled realm reserved for the greats."[22] Claire Biddles of The Line of Best Fit stated that "ultimately, MASSEDUCTION defies explanation and critique, rendering the critic a dead weight in the dust of its ever-accelerating sucker-punch of ideas."[34] Drowned in Sound's Jude Clarke said, "You wouldn't want one track or note to be changed or left out. It's a genuine masterpiece: complex, funny, sexy, bleak, uplifting, inspiring and enthralling from start to finish."[35] AllMusic critic Heather Phares said "Masseduction delivers sketches of chaos with stunning clarity. It's the work of an always savvy artist at her wittiest and saddest."[27] The A.V. Club's Annie Zaleski wrote that Clark "perfects her fractured, futuristic pop vision on Masseduction" and that she "captures this emotional roller-coaster in her remarkably genre-agnostic music".[15]

Accolades[edit]

Masseduction appeared on multiple year-end lists in 2017.

Publication Rank Ref.
The A.V. Club
2
Billboard
12
Crack Magazine
40
Dazed
13
Drowned in Sound
4
Entertainment Weekly
4
Exclaim
8
Fuse
5
The Guardian
1
Les InRocks
25
Mashable
8
New York Daily News
11
NME
11
Noisey
9
NOW
10
Paste
34
Pazz & Jop
3
Pitchfork
22
Q
6
Rolling Stone
18
Stereogum
14
The New York Times (by Jon Pareles)
1
The Skinny
13
Slant Magazine
2
USA Today
7
Vinyl Me, Please
2

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, Masseduction debuted at number 10 on the Billboard 200, becoming St. Vincent's first album to peak in the top ten of the chart. It sold 29,000 units in its first week, 25,000 of which were in traditional album sales.[62] The album debuted at number six in the UK, selling 7,610 copies including streaming.[63]

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[64]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Hang on Me"Annie Clark2:48
2."Pills"
4:40
3."Masseduction"
  • Clark
  • Antonoff
3:17
4."Sugarboy"
  • Clark
  • Antonoff
  • Antonoff
  • St. Vincent
4:01
5."Los Ageless"Clark
  • Antonoff
  • St. Vincent
4:41
6."Happy Birthday, Johnny"
  • Clark
  • Antonoff
  • Antonoff
  • St. Vincent
2:58
7."Savior"Clark
  • Antonoff
  • St. Vincent
  • Congleton[a]
3:26
8."New York"Clark
  • Antonoff
  • St. Vincent
2:34
9."Fear the Future"Clark
  • Antonoff
  • St. Vincent
  • Congleton[a]
2:31
10."Young Lover"Clark
  • Antonoff
  • St. Vincent
  • Stalfors
3:33
11."Dancing with a Ghost"Clark
  • Antonoff
  • St. Vincent
0:46
12."Slow Disco"
  • Antonoff
  • St. Vincent
2:44
13."Smoking Section"Clark
  • Antonoff
  • St. Vincent
3:37
Total length:41:36

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies an additional producer.

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2017) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[66] 19
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[67] 53
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[68] 36
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[69] 56
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[70] 31
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[71] 61
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[72] 42
French Albums (SNEP)[73] 119
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[74] 82
Greek Albums (IFPI)[75] 69
Irish Albums (IRMA)[76] 5
Italian Albums (FIMI)[77] 52
New Zealand Heatseeker Albums (RMNZ)[78] 1
Scottish Albums (OCC)[79] 5
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[80] 76
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[81] 26
UK Albums (OCC)[82] 6
US Billboard 200[83] 10
US Top Alternative Albums (Billboard)[84] 3
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[85] 3

References[edit]

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