Annie Clark treads heavily on love, unbridled desire and the state of our world in the brand-new St. Vincent record All Born Screaming. All Born Screaming is Clark’s latest album release since 2021. Throughout 10 songs, absolutely nothing is held back. Clark is more vocally and lyrically honest than ever before. Drums contributed by rock legend Dave Grohl give each track a raw, palpable energy. It’s easy to melt into the album’s world through the opening track “Hell Is Near.” Clark meets her listeners with haunting, reverb-soaked vocals as suspenseful distortion bubbles underneath. “Hell Is Near” seamlessly transitions into the piano-based track “Reckless,” which explores the thrill of desire. Clark’s emotive lower register makes every uttered word worth hanging on to. Clark’s vocals mold into lofty high notes and later widen into an unrestrained vocal cry. A large display of synths, drums and electric guitars carries the track away. 
The lead single “Broken Man” is heavy, gritty and blaring. Clark’s unapologetic emotion is propelled by clunky percussion, head-banging basslines and stunning synths. Clark unabashedly repeats the lines “What are you looking at? / Who the hell do you think I am?” Bone-crushing distortion masterfully complements her raspy tone. Clark closes the track with her astounding, uninhibited vocal growl. Clark precisely pinpoints feelings of lust and passion in “Flea.” She lays this all out in the beginning by singing “I’m just like a hungry little flea / Jumping on somebody’s warm body.” From start to finish, the track maintains an expansive and wonderfully filthy sound. “Flea” harnesses PJ Harvey’s bold edge through distorted bass and the distinct bite that permeates 90s grunge. The track's grittiness mirrors Clark’s inner passion and turmoil. In vocally full choruses, Clark sings “You will be mine for eternity.” Clark turns this sentiment on its head in the second verse by singing “I look at you and all I see is meat.” Grohl’s drumming plays a leading role in the track’s impact. “Big Time Nothing” is another highlight. The track sustains its energy with a buzzy, full bassline. Clark’s rhythmic, spoke-sung verses are impeccably danceable. Funky guitar strums guide the choruses, where Clark repeats “I look inside, I look inside, I look inside.” As “Big Time Nothing" progresses, sung-spoken parts are broken up by stacked harmonies. The words “Big time nothing” repeat at the end and bounce back and forth between swooping harmonies and Clark’s droning, singular delivery. 
“Violent Times” is a clear standout. Blaring trumpet swells and succinct percussion mirror the genius of Portishead. Clark’s vocals are swooping, sensual and intentional. She opens with the lines “Violent times / Almost lost you in these violent times / I forgot people could be so kind / In these violent times.” The contrast between warm brass and dark electric guitar maintains interest throughout. Clark’s bold vocal cries give listeners a full display of her range. In “The Power’s Out,” Clark poignantly addresses perils of the modern world overtop a canopy of haunting chords. Clark sings “And ‘Ladies and gentlemen it seems we’ve got a problem’ / The man on my screen said, just as somebody shot him.” At many points, Clark sounds like she’s tearing up. The emotion in her voice is palpable as she solemnly sings “The power’s out / And no one can save us / No one can blame us now.” “Sweetest Fruit” is distinguished by its odd, experimental flair. Clark begins by referencing the death of revered musician and producer SOPHIE. Her wavering high notes hover above shimmering riffs and ominous distortion. Pulsing beats and catchy choruses make the track an enticing listen from start to finish. “So Many Planets” manages to sharply address relevant issues while still being impeccably groovy. Clark sings “Misfiring chemicals and scary ideas / This revolution isn’t fun, ma.” Stacked vocal harmonies create a buttery backdrop for her effortless vocal delivery. Some of the album's most aware lyrics are found here. Clark shows no restraint through the lines “She isn’t smiling, but she’s happy you’re here / We’ll make a killing from her trauma.” 
The album ends with the title track “All Born Screaming” - an embodiment of Clark’s precise storytelling. Clark offers listeners introspective reflections on her life through the lines “I have climbed into open arms / They turned into a straitjacket,” and “I was a pantomime of a modern girl / Those were the days, and I was miserable.” The chorus is a uniting call that simply states “We’re all born screaming.” Soaring harmonies give each chorus an ethereal backing. The song breaks down through a percussive instrumental section. Haunting choral-esque vocals cut through and repeat the words “All born screaming” in a descending melody. Tangible tension rests in underlying chords as a crowd of voices expresses a collective human experience - everyone's first primal scream.
- Madeleine Bradford

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