St. Vincent shares ‘Pay Your Way In Pain’ and talks new album ‘Daddy’s Home’: “This is blues for 2021”

Annie Clark tells NME about the "grittier, more nihilistic, more ‘dirt under the fingernails’ vibe" of her new album

St. Vincent has announced details of her new album ‘Daddy’s Home’ by sharing new single ‘Pay Your Way In Pain’ – which she has described to NME as “blues for 2021”.

Having teased the record in recent weeks with billboard posters and a clip of the music video, St. Vincent (real name Annie Clark) is now back with the first taster of her upcoming sixth album – a funk-driven number about being down on your luck and trying to get by.

“I feel like we live in a world where we’re often asked to choose between surviving and dignity,” Clark told NME of the meaning behind ‘Pay Your Way In Pain’. “Part of it is like blues for 2021.

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“It’s also about how there’s nothing that I’ve done in my life that didn’t involve some sort of struggle. Some of those struggles are really worthy ones to have and something great can come of them.”

The track comes with a cinematic video directed by Bill Benz (director of the forthcoming The Nowhere Inn, co-written by and starring St. Vincent), providing a glimpse into the 1970s NYC visual world and ‘back to basics’ spirit of the album.

“I’m just way more of the mind, especially now after everything that’s happened in the last year, that I would just rather do a simple idea executed really well than a lot of ideas hodge-podged,” said Clark of the video.

“This is just a performance video of me singing a song, dancing and just doing everything in a very practical way. It was going in the same spirit as the music where it’s just a performance. It’s not got heavy-heavy production, but we just did it in the room to capture a moment.”

St Vincent returns with new album 'Daddy's Home'. Credit: Press

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The follow-up to 2017’s acclaimed ‘Masseduction‘, ‘Daddy’s Home’ sees Clark reunite with Jack Antonoff as co-producer for a record that was not only inspired by her father being released from prison in 2019 for a white collar crime, but also his vinyl collection from the ’70s and “stories of being down and out in downtown NYC” with a touch of “last night’s heels on the morning train and glamour that’s been up for three days straight”.

“One of the things about ‘Daddy’s Home’ is that there is a literal and autobiographical element to it, but also I’m daddy now!” said Clark. “I have shit to do, I have responsibilities and this world that I’ve created.

“I always think of the Picasso quote: ‘Art is a lie that makes us realise the truth’. These stories are things that I’ve lived and ways that I feel. It’s hard for me to parcel out what is what. I just make the world. I don’t think too much about compartmentalising it.”

Clark has also credited Candy Darling – a transgender icon who worked in many of Andy Warhol’s films and appears on the cover of ‘I Am A Bird Now’ by Anohni (fka Anthony & The Johnsons) – as a muse across the whole album.

“I just really fell in love with Candy Darling,” said Clark. “I had a friend who knew her and was by her bedside when she died. I think of that really iconic photo of her with all of those roses around her hospital bed. I like to think that I was paying homage to her and hopefully channelling her energy a little bit.”

anthony and the johnsons i am a bird now

Describing the sound of the album, Clark told NME that she was driven to move away from the “angular” edge of a lot of her previous work to make it “all about groove, feel and performance” – as well as being inspired by the spirit of life in the early ’70s.

“There’s something interesting about what the early ‘70s were, and the parallels between then and now – even socially,” she said. “You had the idealism of the ‘60s come crashing down and the flower child thing had dissipated and made room for a way grittier, more nihilistic, more ‘dirt under the fingernails’ vibe.

“The economy was crazy, there was a whole [lot] of social unrest and that doesn’t sound too dissimilar from now as we’re watching institutions of power being dismantled and people upset with the status quo. People are trying to navigate what it is to just survive.”

‘Daddy’s Home’ will be released on May 14. Check out the full tracklist below.

1. ‘Pay Your Way In Pain’
2. ‘Down And Out Downtown’
3. ‘Daddy’s Home’
4. ‘Live In the Dream’
5. ‘The Melting Of The Sun’
6. ‘The Laughing Man’
7. ‘Down’
8. ‘Somebody Like Me’
9. ‘My Baby Wants A Baby’
10. ‘…At The Holiday Party’
11. ‘Candy Darling’

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