St. Vincent shared a new song called “Down” along with an accompanying music video. The single comes just prior to the release of her forthcoming album Daddy’s Home this Friday, May 14.
“You hit me one time/Imagine my surprise/When you hit me two times, you got yourself a fight,” St. Vincent begins on “Down.” It’s a song about standing up for herself after getting hit one too many times and wanting to take her abuser down. Musically, it builds off a funky synth line, adding Prince-like guitar, groovy bass, sitar and soulful backing vocals until it totals up to a maximalist pop/funk anthem.
While the videos for previous singles “Pay Your Way in Pain” and “The Melting of the Sun” paid homage to ‘60s/’70s live concert footage and psychedelic animation respectively, the “Down” video uses old school colored celluloid film. In it, St. Vincent is dressed up like Andy Warhol’s movie star Candy Darling while determined to track down her abuser and get revenge. Quick editing, constant camera motion and the vintage, grainy look all give it a vibe similar to many of the feminist and ‘blaxploitation’ films from the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Those previous singles were influenced by different musical scenes from that era as well. While “Pay Your Way in Pain” similarly takes inspiration from funk, it’s more focused on the glam rock side of the ‘70s. “The Melting of the Sun” is more diverse, drawing from ‘60s folk musicians like Joni Mitchell, soul singers like Nina Simone and other feminist heroes from all years since.
The rest of the songs on Daddy’s Home are sure to show inspiration from other styles from the ‘60s and ‘70s as well. It’s thematically centered on the title track, which talks about how St. Vincent’s dad was released from prison in 2019 after being locked up for “white collar crime.” All of the music and imagery behind the album seem to serve as throwbacks to the styles of her dad’s youth. She described the music on it as “Gritty. Grimy. Sleazy.” The album was co-produced by St. Vincent and Jack Antonoff, and recorded by Laura Sisk.
Antonoff and St. Vincent also co-produced her last album Masseduction. St. Vincent has produced albums for other artists too, including Sleater-Kinney’s last album The Center Won’t Hold (2019). In tangential news, Sleater-Kinney just announced a new album called Path of Wellness for June 11, 2021 release, following the departure of their iconic drummer Janet Weiss.
Photo credit: Owen Ela