Sammy the Seal

“How can Monday be alright, then, on Tuesday, lose my mind?”

In music videos, vinyl on Tuesday, 20 December, 2011 at 17:48

Song: The Neighbors; Actor Out Of Work
Artist: St. Vincent
Album: Actor

I couldn’t resist. I lose a song for later doing two-for-one, but, being adjacent tracks on the album, “Neighbors” just sounds unfinished when it ends by itself. (That “Actor” was the single is incidental.) It’s not a thematic issue, and the songs don’t bleed into each other, the latter just feels like a logical conclusion to the former, much like how notes and chord progressions resolve and make sense– they just do. Good sequencing, eh?

I quite like the dynamics of “Neighbors”. Much of it could appropriately characterized as “pretty” but the thump, buzz, and rattle of the chorus vaguely hints at something twisted beneath the surface. And sometimes, it just sounds cool, like the clapping/snapping/whatever that starts at 0:18, or when the beat comes in at the first “oh no” of the first chorus. And then, back into “pretty” mode, which I say comparatively, not disparagingly. I must admit I’m a sucker for a well-placed drum fill, like at the end of the first chorus and moments later at the end of the “headlights” line– clean, simple, not too showy, but quite enjoyable, like a good harmony. My favorite part though starts at 2:03 with the instrumental iteration of the chorus (I really should make mention of the melody, which sneaks up on you with its strength) followed by an awesome key change at 2:19 on the “Monday” line, which, to me, highlights how good the main melody melody is. I can’t think of how to describe it, so I’ll just make a reference to the sound of Annie Clark’s voice on the word “supposed” in the next line and say that it sounds really nice.

I won’t say much about “Actor”, because I want to stop writing, but also because it’s rather up front with its goodness (“Neighbors” is far more subtle). It’s has the tone of the chorus of “Neighbors”, raved up and with a good bit of stomp to it (twinkle too, if you listen close). I love the ooh’s that briefly ascend, then cascade as far down as her voice will go, great for fun sing-along times. The video seems a bit redundant, as if you go by the chug of the guitar, and the vocals, it’s rather obvious who’s in control. I guess they want to cement it. For someone who is the quintessence of doe-eyed, I find her a little intimidating at 1:42. Everything about her face is trying to devour you whole, so be careful.


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