St. Vincent

Annie Clark, the multi-instrumental and vocalist best known as St. Vincent, is a lesson in contradictions. The song "Marry Me" — the title track on her 2007 release — is a perfect example of Clark's ability to combine ill-fitting elements into a pitch-perfect song. It's a piano ballad with heartfelt vocals for the first few bars; it then changes to a bouncy tempo before Clark introduces sporadic, beat-keeping hand claps. The lyrics portray either an empowered woman taking control of her own romantic life, or the depressing fear that lasting love might not be possible: "Most mainly want to win the game they came to win/They want to come out ahead/But you, you're a rock, with a heart like a socket/ I can plug into at will." "Marry Me" is both experimental and precise; lovely, yet alienating, just like the rest of St. Vincent's songs. With Wildbirds and Peacedrums, Fences. PAIGE RICHMOND

Fri., Feb. 5, 8 p.m., 2010

 
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