Release Date: Oct 12, 2018
Record label: Loma Vista
Even as her albums and concerts become more ambitious, St. Vincent's Annie Clark wouldn't be anywhere without the fundamentals she reminds listeners of with MassEducation. Recorded over a couple of evenings during MASSEDUCTION's mixing sessions, on the album Clark and pianist Thomas Bartlett strip down the album's songs to reveal new layers of closeness and distance, sincerity and artifice.
Around this time last year, Annie Clark aka St Vincent released MASSEDUCTION, which even by her sky-high standards, was an exhilarating ride. It was an intensely personal, thrillingly theatrical, wild electro-pop ride. Now, she’s returned to MASSEDUCTION to revisit those songs, re-record them in a stripped-down fashion and retitled it MassEducation.
The acoustic album is a rite of passage. It marks a period when the tour, the band, and the press has left an artist yearning to be seen in a soft new light: For Nirvana, their MTV Unplugged performance was a middle finger to the hype machine--one of the biggest, loudest rock bands on earth settling in for some quiet covers and deep cuts. Mariah Carey's 1992 acoustic EP set out to disprove naysayers who claimed her lack of touring equated to lack of talent.
Twelve months on from 'Masseduction', does anyone need a piano-and-vocal version of that same record? 'Masseduction' arrived in a glitter cannon of engaging PR stunts, sleek imagery and a record built on a maximalism previously unheard in Clark's previous four records - all sweaty, steroid choruses and Moroder synths. That record was marked by its heavy stylisation and concept, and if the aesthetic decision to strip that back isn't clear then the commercial one certainly is. Spotify rewards the release of multiple versions of its tracks - especially acoustic or piano versions of these tracks, sheering off any spiky edges so that material is fighting fit for behemothic playlists like 'Afternoon Acoustic' (2.