I guess we’ll see who was the freak

I’ve been a casual St. Vincent fan since her collaboration with Bon Iver on “Roslyn” – a ballad released on the cultural reset that was the The Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack. Whew, what a moment for indie music.

But after front-woman Annie Clark won for Best Alternative Music Album this year over my baby boy, I knew I had to give Daddy’s Home a thorough listen. And speaking of dads, mine is a bigger fan of St. Vincent than I am.

I can’t blame him. There’s certainly something alluring about her funky energy, theatrical performances, and chameleon-like range as an artist the past 15 years. Of the many ‘70s inspired tracks on Daddy’s Home, a song like “Live in the Dream” immediately reminded me of Pink Floyd, plus a “Hello, on the dark side of the moon” reference between choral arrangements on “The Melting of the Sun.” Another nod is owed to the wonderfully voyeuristic line, “It’s just the melting of the sun/ I want to watch you watch it burn.”

The themes in this album are evident after a full listen through – confronting the past, grappling with looming prospects of marriage and motherhood, and daddy being locked up.

Listening activity: Water your plants and hum this tune for growth.

Of course it’s the reluctant and weird “Someone Like Me” that struck me as the earworm. Sweet finger-picks on strings paired with her ethereal voice create a retro, eerie, and *freaky* energy I can get down with.

Paint yourself white
Clip on the wings
Climb high to the top of a building
Does it make you an angel
Or some kind of freak
To believe enough
In somebody like me?

The person being addressed needs a costume, or a little shape shifting, to fit the role of a partner. There’s just enough doubt and self-deprecation here on the part of the speaker that indicates this question of perspective. It becomes a game between the suitor and the speaker being pursued, whose identity crisis is more significant. 

While the suitor plays the part of angel or freak (depending how you spin it), the speaker tries to play the part of bride:

Dress up in white
Slip on the ring
Walk straight down the aisle
To the violin strings
Does it make you a genius or
The fool of the week
To believe enough
In somebody like me?

Still addressing the suitor, she’s torn between juxtaposing this decision as the best or worst of their life. It seems it could just as easily be one or the other as long as she has a costume to wear, a part to play, and all the symbols of this nuptial ritual. The question of whether she’s worth it is posed as delicate and genuine – what does it take “to believe enough/In somebody like me?” 

Stakes are high, but she doesn’t give us an answer. All we get is the eerie, yet non-threatening delivery of the mystical earworm, “Oh, I (Oh, I), guess we’ll see/ Who was the freak.”

It’s almost playful, but ends with acknowledging that famous old adage – that only time will tell: “Time (Oh, I), tells us things (I guеss we’ll see)/That you and I can’t see.”

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