St. Vincent’s Marrow Video

Annie Clark’s singing is ethereally and unnaturally deliberate in a way that sucks passion out of her vocals and replaces it with a creepy ironic distance and “more-knowing-than-thou” feeling.  Slowing down her delivery of otherwise immediate lyrics in order to enunciate them with an ominously remote quality, her songs always strikes me as in turns theatrical, alienating, and coldly intriguing.  I rarely get passionate about her songs because they’re so resolutely resistant to passion.  And yet the character who comes through in her songs, with her stubborn reserve and teasing bursts of flair that still keep the listener at arms length, is someone you want to hang out with some more because she seems so obviously too cool for you—and who isn’t drawn in spite of themselves to those who have a preternatural vibe that they are too cool for you?

All that said, I must say that the videos for her songs flesh out her alien character and, without necessarily making her any more personally accessible, add a visual reference point that makes the quirks of her aural delivery feel less consistently confounding and seem downright intuitive and exact.  First with “Actor Out Of Work”, a song whose hypnotically perfect video made it instantly my favorite of her songs, and now with “Marrow” I’ve felt like the visual theatrics literally fill in the pictures of her songs without diminishing any of her alluring powers of detachment and challenge.  I’d say her talents as an actress only enhance the persona which the music first sketches in isolation.

With no further ado, here is her video for “Marrow”:

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And here is Corey Creasey, one of this video’s directors describing Annie in a way that only confirms and multiplies her mystique:

she’s not singing her heart out. She also has a weird, natural calm to her– it’s almost unsettling, as if there’s always something going on. That’s not only based on how she looks but also how she sings, too.

She was really a trooper. Toward the end of the shoot she would basically go to sleep between takes. I remember the hair and makeup lady would be amazed because she would fall asleep completely still– she wouldn’t slouch or anything– then we would wake her up and she’d get up and be ready to perform.

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.


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