Thursday, July 19th, 2018

St. Vincent – Fast Slow Disco

Could have just called it “Disco,” Annie.


Katherine St Asaph: Unpopular opinions: Masseduction is St. Vincent’s best album, and “Slow Disco” is one of its worst tracks — you have this colossal and cohesive album, plus a Civil Wars cowrite stuck at the end. But that’s an unpopular opinion, and so we have this rather than “Fear the Future Except The Fear’s Even More Visceral.” “Fast Slow Disco” is exactly what it sounds like: “Slow Disco” with a donk on it. It almost works — that synth bass makes up for a lot — but only almost, and you can hear the exact moment it sags: “leave… you… dan… cing.” The synth line’s basically “Dancing on My Own,” so why not swipe the rhythm too? Singing it like “I’m in the cor-ner” doesn’t quite work either, but it’s a hell of a lot closer.

Alfred Soto: Masseduction was St. Vincent’s most satisfying album to date, and “Slow Disco” its dullest track, relying on the disjunction between adjective and noun. Accelerating it underscores the slowness of its disco. Despite identifying as queer, the leather bar video plays like a sop to the audience. 

Vikram Joseph: The original “Slow Disco” was always gorgeous, but with hindsight it’s obvious that there was always a legit banger lurking underneath its porcelain skin, ready to supersede “Los Ageless” as Annie Clark’s finest floor-filler. Re-imagined as a four-chord disco stomp, it should probably be too obvious, but it’s such a blast of ecstasy it’s impossible to resist. The secondary drop at 2:08 is so ready for the floor that it pretty much suspends all of my critical faculties, hacks into my phone, books an Uber and orders a round of shots.

Ian Mathers: Slightly better than even Broken Social Scene’s “Major Label Debut (Fast)” in the very narrow category of ‘good songs redone by the original artist that are now even better and then the artist adds the word “Fast” to the title,’ mainly because Clark had a better song to begin with.

Micha Cavaseno: Ah the progressive artistry of *reads crumpled up notes* making a lazy ballad reworked into generic dance pop you’d (rightfully) roast current day self-serious Lady Gaga for. Annie Clark’s pretense and dull ambitions once at least suggested a wilful weirdness, even if she was far more interested in being obtuse with her gestures than being tuneful. But here we have an unnecessarily gaunt sounding attempt at pop with no interesting qualities beyond “oh, it’s St. Vincent,” which if you’re not interested in that alone, makes this unremarkable. Hey, good enough that she can be so many variants of boring.

Ryo Miyauchi: Removing herself from the disco fared better for Annie Clark to hit upon the dread and meaninglessness of socialization looming in “Slow Disco,” though it strikes her point nonetheless when she decides to go meta in this “fast” version. While some of her words fit in awkwardly as a pop rhyme, the gritty synth beat gives her visceral imagery pop a more vivid edge.

Juana Giaimo: For an album that went unnoticed, “Slow Disco” truly was a highlight: the violins and St Vincent’s delicate voice captured the intense emotions of feeling out of place. “Fast Slow Disco” adds a generic synthpop production that characterizes the rest of Masseduction. It sure is poppier and more suitable for a single, but by adding, it erases so much. 

Iain Mew: Maybe the old idea that you show the true strength of a song by stripping it down to basics isn’t false in the sense of being incorrect, but just highly incomplete. For instance, St. Vincent has shown the strength of this song by doing the reverse.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: The trick here is that “Fast Slow Disco” isn’t actually faster than the song it remixes– the vocal track is exactly the same as the album version, and the tempo holds too. Instead, St. Vincent pulls off an audio version of that optical illusion with the same-colored squares, air-lifting the best single track off MASSEDUCTION and dropping it in a new milieu. On the album, “Slow Disco” was a come-down, a necessary moment of mournful calm after a run of tracks that felt like increasingly desperate stabs at joy or cries for help. As a single, the mood is more celebratory– a lyric that was once an elegy becomes something more in the long heritage of bittersweet disco bonfires (“Dancing on My Own” is the obvious antecedent); a track about dancing becomes something you can actually dance to.

Julian Axelrod: I love St. Vincent more than I love most members of my family, but all her albums have a few songs that take a while to click with me. I guess she got sick of waiting for us to catch up, because this time she went ahead and turned the MASSEDUCTION sleeper into a full-on banger. This could have easily been a cash-in abomination, but that throbbing synth swell is so tastefully executed it elevates Annie Clark’s club kiss-off into a gorgeous angelic exodus. I get why people hate on the Antonoff effect at work here, but I’m certainly not going to stop St. Vincent from becoming the queer pop queen she was born to be.

Stephen Eisermann: As someone who’s never heard the original, this just makes me miss Robyn. The production is cool, but nothing else about the track really works; and the extra voices on the chorus border on kidz-bop/glee cringe territory. 

Reader average: [7] (4 votes)

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