“Held your bare bones with my clothes on, I’ve thrown rocks that hit both my arms…”
If there is one record from 2011 that has grown on me like nobody’s business, it’s Strange Mercy, the third album from the delightful Annie Clark – aka St. Vincent. The contrasts, the power in her voice, the fact it can be so delightfully poppy and adventurously weird at the same time… it’s a great headphones listen, that’s for sure. I have to say, though, I might not have even thought to give it a second chance were it not for her music videos.
Her last one, Cruel, ended up on many end-of-year lists and was one of the most talked-about clips of recent times. It completely flew under my radar, and watching the clip helped me fall in love with Annie and her music all over again. Naturally, I wanted more – and she’s delivered with Cheerleader, which is quite possibly her best video yet. In it, Clark plays herself as a living, breathing statue. She is watched apathetically by a small group, walks away and then literally crumbles on the ground. Yeah, spoiler alert and all that.
It’s not a video where the ending is the selling point, though – purely as a work of art I find this fascinating. Click through to the YouTube page are there are hundreds of comments on different interpretations of what the video means. Is it a comment on feminism? Objectification? A non-caring society? Hate for women in the arts? Honestly, it could be all of those things and it could be none of those things. What I want you to do is see for yourself. See what it means to you. I know what it means to me, and I don’t think I need to force it onto you. Just watch Annie destroy herself and see what you make of it. Oh, and if you’re in Australia come to her shows! They’re next month!