St. Vincent Transforms SNL Into Studio 54

St. Vincent took to the Studio 8H stage this week as Saturday Night Live‘s musical guest, with Judas and the Black Messiah star Daniel Kaluuya serving as SNL host. St. Vincent, (real name Annie Clark) will release her seventh studio album Daddy’s Home on May 14.

The episode opened with Chloe Fineman’s take on Britney Spears, who tackled Lil Nas X’s Satan shoes, Pepé Le Pew’s removal from Space Jam 2 and Rep. Matt Gaetz’ sex scandals. While Britney was sympathetic to Lil Nas X, she deemed Le Pew and Gaetz “not that innocent.”

St Vincent SNL

St. Vincent’s first song of the night was her lead single, “Pay Your Way in Pain.” The funk track is a love letter to the 1970s, channeling Prince, David Bowie and the sounds of Studio 54. At the end of the performance Clark revealed the word “Daddy” on the back of her jacket, in reference to her upcoming album.

“Pay Your Way in Pain” was co-written by Jack Antonoff, who previously worked with Clark on her last album Masseduction. The two also shared writing credits on Taylor Swift’s 2019 song “Cruel Summer.”

This isn’t the first time St. Vincent has played SNL; back in 2014, she played the gig to extremely mixed reception. It’s not surprising: like Fiona Apple or Björk, Clark’s sound is an acquired taste that cares little for accessibility. All are undeniably talented, but easily jarring to unfamiliar listeners.

St. Vincent closed out the night with her new single, “The Melting of the Sun,” whose lyrics reference Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos, and Nina Simone. Clark’s backup singers nearly stole the show:

SNL returns next week, April 10, hosted by Promising Young Woman star Carey Mulligan with Kid Cudi as the musical guest.

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