I have always enjoyed the music and lyrics of performing artist Saint Vincent, the stage name for musician Annie Clark. Throughout her career, she has progressed not only in her musical abilities but in her depth of lyrical engagement with current culture. On her upcoming album ‘Masseduction’ (releasing this week), she steps up her engagement and her courage to criticize a media system she sees as unfair and damaging. The new song ‘Los Ageless’ (co-written with Jack Antonoff of the band fun) heads directly at this issue, coldly portraying the LA media-soaked culture as a “sacred cow.” Saint Vincent is asking us, the audience, to step back from the messages received from a monopolizing media and truly ask “how do these messages affect my own well-being?”
For me this song works as a satire and commentary in one package, focusing on unhealthy and unrealistic expectations of women in western culture using a sharp contrast of tone between verse and chorus. While the verses serve as the satire, reinforcing the absurdity of hypermedia culture, the chorus takes a strong tone shift with the heartfelt plea “How can anybody have you and lose you, And not lose their minds, too?” She finds the current media system unfair, predatory, unflinchingly cold against the realities of life. All in one song, in only a few lines of lyric, Saint Vincent manages to highlight the absurdity of the culture and the genuine feeling of what it’s like to live in the middle of it.
We need more artists like Saint Vincent who are able to positively engage and critique our media culture. While I understand this level of criticism can be difficult as an artist who needs popularity to sustain an income, Saint Vincent has managed to maintain this balance admirably. Having enjoyed these two songs immensely, I look forward to hearing the rest of the album when it is released on October 13th.