A few days shy of the release date for St. Vincent’s new album MASSEDUCTION, St. Vincent/Annie Clark has released a new single “Pills” from the album.
In a wash of synthy pop with healthy doses of guitar licks, St. Vincent sings a faux jingle for the pharmaceutical industry. “Pills to wake / Pills to sleep / Pills pills pills every day of the week.” It comes off as silly and cynical satire and more to the point: still downright catchy.
In the artificial (and decidedly geographic) aesthetic established by her previous singles “New York” and “Los Ageless,” “Pills” adds to the depiction of the United States that Clark builds in a humorous, yet somewhat menacing fashion. The background moans of pleasure during the song’s breakdown help build up the alluring tension.
Then halfway through the song, the tone performs an about-face, with echoing drum thuds and sad empty guitar strums to simulate the physical comedown from the pills; Clark adopts the voice of a soft-spoken and defeated carnival barker who has been used up completely by the product she’s selling. Clark’s skill as a singer, and one who is clearly speaking from experience whether true to life or not, adds a touch of empathy that brings the song back to earth.
“Pills” also enlisted the help of some of Clark’s friends, including Jenny Lewis and former fling, Cara Delevingne on backing vocals. Overall, it appears to be a solid mix of what to expect from Clark’s upcoming album: the glittery artificial and the sadness inherent underneath combined to create an odd, unsettling sexuality. Needless to say the three singles so far have painted a picture of St. Vincent that we hadn’t yet seen.
St. Vincent’s MASSEDUCTION is due out Friday, Oct.13 and her “Fear the Future” tour is due to begin Oct.17. You can listen to the audio for “Pills” below: