St. Vincent - Digital Witness
Digital witnesses, what's the point of even sleeping?
If I can't show it, if you can't see me
What's the point of doing anything?
What's the point of even sleeping?
So I stopped sleeping, yeah I stopped sleeping
Won't somebody sell me back to me?
Digital Witness is a rebellious little social commentary wrapped neatly into a brilliant pop song. The David Byrne influence is undeniable (listen to those horns!) and makes a lot of sense coming out of their collaborative release Love This Giant. If you haven't listened to that, you're messing up. Quick, watch the video for Who! But Digital Witness is St. Vincent's own punchy criticism of a culture of narcissism and screen addiction, and I love her for it.
The staccato horn lines are obviously real performances, which is so refreshing where a lot of the horns you hear in pop now are samples. The drum mix is punchy as hell. That kick is a haymaker to the face with every quarter note, which serves the robotic motif of the piece. You've got to love the bass synth panned hard left that comes in at :55 on the bridge in place of the horns. What a fat and juicy little nugget of ear candy! To its opposite panned hard right is the vocal with a harmony singing "This is no time for confessing" with filtered horns layered barely audible underneath. That whole right panned section is artfully mixed low in comparison to the drums and the bass synth which makes you strain to hear it. Then you get blasted with a centered "MMM!" and that badass horn line as it goes back to the verse. I'm sure your hands are already in the air! St. Vincent's arrangements have always been something to behold, but on this self-titled record, she takes them to another level.
Have a couple listens through this jam and make sure to check out the rest of the album because it's one for the history books.
Annie Clark is one of those successful Berklee College of Music dropouts. She expressed her sentiments on music school in an interview with Denver Westword, saying "...At some point you have to learn all you can and then forget everything that you learned in order to actually start making music."
After leaving Berklee she toured as a band member for The Polyphonic Spree and then Sufjan Stevens before releasing her first album as St. Vincent entitled Marry Me in 2007. St. Vincent now has 5 studio releases including her David Byrne (Talking Heads) collaboration Love This Giant.
If you dig this tune check out:
(all links go to youtube videos that stand as the best representation of the artist so you don't have to go hunting for music that doesn't suck)