“New York” is not what you would expect out of a St. Vincent song. Well, besides the fact that it’s excellent.
Her renowned guitar work takes a backseat for this gorgeous, personal piano ballad. The simple melody is buoyed by some pulsing percussion. But otherwise, the track is left open for Annie Clark’s wounded vocals.
This song isn’t a tribute as much to the city as the people you find in it. But those that you meet may soon move on elsewhere. For St. Vincent, the end of a relationship is also the end of an era in the five boroughs. “New York isn’t New York/Without you, love/Too few of our old crew/Left on Astor,” she sings. In the next breath, she admits “I have lost a hero/I have lost a friend/But for you, darling/I’d do it all again.” The hero in question could be David Bowie, while the friend is unclear. Despite the losses, Clark knows that her other half is the “only motherfucker in the city who’d forgive me.” It’s a beautiful, melancholy rumination.
“New York” is available now.