St. Vincent Confuses the Masses on SNL

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Unpacking this one is going to take a minute, so buckle up, because St. Vincent's Saturday Night Live season finale was one for the ages--and it's not necessarily for the reasons you'd think.

See also: Miley Cyrus Redeems Herself on SNL

Back when it was announced that Our Lady of the Shred and Silver (and Village Voice cover girl) Annie Clark would be wrapping up SNL's 39th season with Andy Samberg, we rolled our eyes, if only because we knew that the viewing public would be very, very confused about what they were watching. St. Vincent, enthusiastically adored by plenty, is not the stuff of Top 40 dreams; she is not the straightforward rock, hip-hop or pop artist with a record to hype or a movie coming out that's normally booked for the SNL stage for the sake of release week promotion, like The Black Keys or Kanye. For a season that began with Arcade Fire in the full swing of Reflektor, St. Vincent was a solid, experimental bookend, and thankfully, her performance on the show mirrored the sharp angles, serious guitar work and clear, collected delivery of her live show.

If anything, St. Vincent is the act who was the truest to herself all season, in that what you see is very much so what you get no matter how big or small the stage she's performing on. Viewers who saw her on SNL for the first time can rest assured that St. Vincent live and in the flesh sounds very much so like the woman they were introduced to on their television, unlike the Imagine Dragonses and R. Kelly/Muppet-clad Lady Gagas. Whether or not her style of avant-rock is for everyone isn't really the point; the point is that the strength of the performer shows when its as infallible as that of an artist like St. Vincent, and she's not one who can bank on "But it's late night TV, the sound is always awful!" as an excuse because she was great. "Birth In Reverse" was especially true to the St. Vincent live experience, teeny tiny footsteps and all.

THAT SAID: she is not universally appealing, and this was reflected in the totally confused and mean-spirited reaction she inspired while the episode was airing and immediately after it. (She was even trending on Twitter at one point, an impressive feat considering Jay and Bey dropped a fake film trailer in the middle of the night last night. Andy Samberg definitely was not.) Here's hoping the season finale of SNL opened the eyes of its viewers and brought them an artist they never would've encountered otherwise. It was a gamble of a booking, but there's a solid chance that the chatter and the newfound support could pay off big for both the artist and the show, and hey--if booking someone like St. Vincent started a huge conversation on the last day of a pretty mercurial season that saw some major casting shakeups, it could bode well for independent artists and the smaller guys on the charts who'd always dreamed of performing Live From New York on Saturday Night.

Anyways, here's a bunch of weirdos on Twitter who had no idea how to come to grips with the fact that a woman could play guitar and exist without Devo/David Byrne/'80s new wave, etc. You've been warned.

On the next page, the varied Twitter reaction:


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202 comments
jackbrugress
jackbrugress

A sexy beatnik cross of devo and the butthole surfers.  Nothing wrong with that combo.  Very entertaining. 

ron.a.laskowski
ron.a.laskowski

She is a very good guitarist, so no one should be commenting that is a poor musician. I dislike her music. It is very different, so maybe some people are just afraid of it. It's just not for me. There is nothing catchy. It sounds experimental. It is modern art, not something to enjoy for it's melody because it has none.

Simone Shannon
Simone Shannon

If it keeps happening, I'll just leave this place. :-)

Simone Shannon
Simone Shannon

It's very odd. I haven't seen posts repeated (as if new) on any other site, so, I thought maybe it was some sorta glitch/hack. May have to 'unlike' this page. Sadly.

Atcha John
Atcha John

Well a big Yahoo, Village Voice and SNL, I gotcha here at last...The 'teeny tiny footsteps' reach, can't wait to see a live show. Surely do in here in August. Thanks again, tara there.

Andy McPants
Andy McPants

she is brilliant.. stark, brooding.. memorable

Colin Smith
Colin Smith

yup, top drawer - a genuine talent ;)

Simone Shannon
Simone Shannon

Has this site been hacked? This has been posted numerous times.

Max Levitzke
Max Levitzke

Really milking this for all it's worth, huh?

Lotus Day
Lotus Day

#fantastic .... #intellectualpop

Wade Kee
Wade Kee

Best SNL performance in years!

Andrew Creech
Andrew Creech

I think I've seen the VV bump this article at least 5 times since then....one of your writers banging her publicist or something?

Atcha John
Atcha John

The BBC performance was some weird good stuff at the interpretable end. snl isn't available on my feed. Catch St Vincent in interview too earlier on the radio here. You guessed it, BBC. was SNL ok!

Dan Jones
Dan Jones

Loved it, never heard her before besides the song she did with Nirvana. Been listeningvto her stuff the past few days and I'm digging a lot of it.

Steve Renko
Steve Renko

Sad to say SNL is not funny anymore. It's going on years that it has become a Saturday Night Bore!!

Sandra
Sandra

"We here at Village Voice understand St. Vincent and you do not.  We put her on our cover (2 months ago, even though she's been around for years).  You, the unwashed masses, are so pathetic that you did not comprehend her performance.  We hope (not really) that some day you might be lucky enough to experience some englightenment.  In the interim, please allow us to bask in our superior glory by printing your ignorant rants."


Dear Village Voice, I am a member of the SNL viewing public who had not heard of, heard, or seen Annie Clark before.  I absolutely loved her performance and am now exploring the rest of her music.  I thought she was the best performer all season and perhaps the best in the past several years.  There are many more out here like me.  We are not the most vocal bunch, perhaps that's why you underestimated our numbers.

Also among the viewing public are people who have been fans of Annie Clark for years, well before you put her on your cover, maybe even well before you had heard of her.

You hope SNL "opened the eyes of its viewers".  I hope your eyes can be opened as well.

Luis Orozco
Luis Orozco

I thought St. Vincent was a hospital?

William Cage
William Cage

She sounded like an ambulance that got stuck in heavy traffic.

Todd Edwardson
Todd Edwardson

I liked it. Congrats to st Vincent for getting on SNL.

ctexroze
ctexroze

I love St Vincent and have been fortunate to see her live. That being said, I couldn't agree more with comments about the writer of this article's inaccurate reference to Lady Gaga. It's always interesting to me when supposed music buffs can't recognize talent in pop. Pick on one of the many who truly suck- not someone who is actually a talented singer/songwriter that designs their own stage shows and is as avant-garde and controversial as the person you're complimenting. It's just lazy writing. 

Jeff Skinner
Jeff Skinner

I thought, "Welcome back, 1979", then searched for my lost Pop Muzik record.

Ryan MacBride
Ryan MacBride

Overrated. Boring. Like much of the Pitchfork.com Generation's music.

Scott Phillips
Scott Phillips

I find her voice just kind of ordinary. And all that herky jerky pseudo seriousness just seems passe. I did like her guitar playing though.

Justin Ferguson
Justin Ferguson

I liked it I don't understand why so many people were flipping and putting her down. In a world where there's more crap than non crap why? Thank god for WFUV.

Ariana Lopez
Ariana Lopez

I thought it was a great performance! I have had the song stuck in my head since I saw it!

Didier Utshudi
Didier Utshudi

I could understand why people were confused, the music was just dif compare to what on the radio play theses days. First time listener I loved it.

Veronica Giselle
Veronica Giselle

Tries to be like David Bowie. Everything she was doing has been done in the 80s, nothing stood out. Guitar technique and vocal ability weren't anything special, Maybe that's why they do the stupid choreography.

Mike Vela
Mike Vela

was awesome! so much better than lady caca

Sandra
Sandra

@ctexroze I think you're giving Lady Gaga too much credit because you're one of her fans.  From an objective viewpoint, not liking her but not disliking her, I see a major disconnect between her appearance, her music, and her performances.  Her appearance is most definitely avant-garde, love it.  Her music is totally mainstream, not avant-garde in the least. Her performances are all over the place, everything from shock performance art to family hour variety show.  I think this is where Annie Clark has an advantage, she's more cohesive and consistent, and it's actually refreshing that she doesn't require shock to entertain.

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