When St Vincent’s Marry Me was released, I was living with a sociopath, smoker, writer and musician I’d met in college. He wrote a review column for the local alt weekly. We rarely talked about his writing (except that time I wrote the Absolute Garbage review for him*), but when he reviewed Marry Me he couldn’t wait to tell me about it. He rarely liked new music and he rarely liked music where women were the focus. (Spoiler alert: we ended things for good in the middle of watching a Godard film, because of course we did.**)
He was impressed by basically everything about it, but mostly the way she played guitar. Since that sounded all right to me and I wanted to love everything he loved, I listened, too. I was enchanted immediately. I loved the delicacy and the chaos. I loved the humor. There is a dichotomy on Marry Me that has become less and less clear in St Vincent releases over the years. On “Your Lips Are Red”, the tension cuts you and the song rips your insides out while the title track has an edge but is still so fucking precious. Marry Me was filled with so much optimism, so I wasn’t surprised to hear her say recently that when she wrote that album she felt more positivity about the way human beings are. The album was also deliciously disjointed while Annie as St. Vincent dipped her toes in many different voices and styles, all part of her, all part of each of us. Marry Me was an appetizer plate on the way to the gorgeous buffet of art and beauty and ferocity that St. Vincent has become.
I honestly don’t find myself returning to Marry Me very much, and neither does she, really. Each new work she releases is a bigger monument that obscures the view of the older ones. My regret about this timeframe is that I never got it together enough to see her perform the material live. She played a tiny place here called the Tea Bazaar and, oh man, would that I had been there and had that memory.
My favorite track from Marry Me “Paris Is Burning”. I throw myself at her feet all because of that song.
* The review was: “Yep.”
** Bande à part