Curator, writer and interviewer Paul Holdengräber asks his guests for seven words about themselves, which he reads as an introduction. David Byrne was one such guest. He tried, but didn’t quite make the word count: “Unfinished, unprocessed, uncertain, unknown, unadorned, underarms, underpants, unfrozen, unsettled, unfussy,” were his offerings.
Years ago, in December 1946, author Anaïs Nin was asked by the editor of Harper’s Bazaar to supply a few words about herself for use in a magazine profile. She declined.
But she did reply, in which she wrote: “I see myself and my life each day differently. What can I say? The facts lie. I have been Don Quixote, always creating a world of my own. I am all the women in the novels, yet still another not in the novels… My life is not possible to tell. I change every day, change my patterns, my concepts, my interpretations. I am a series of moods and sensations. I play a thousand roles. I weep when I find others play them for me. My real self is unknown… When I look most transparent is probably when I have just come out of the fire. I walk into the fire always, and come out more alive. All of which is not for Harper’s Bazaar.”
This is only an extract; the full letter is 573 words long. A still concise rebellion against the myth of fixed identity.
This fluidity of personality fascinates St. Vincent too. Like David Bowie before her, new albums offer new facets of the self to explore. And now Daddy’s Home.
“I’m Daddy now,” St. Vincent says in interviews.
These new songs revisit sounds of her youth, records shared with her father in childhood. Artists like Sly & The Family Stone, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, and Labelle. St. Vincent is specific about the references in a conversation with music journalist Eve Barlow; They’re albums from the time when “post-flower child idealism of the ’60s… flipped into nihilism, which I much prefer. Pre-disco, pre-punk.” Or in other words, a time of potential, open exchange and radical reinvention.
That sounds like St. Vincent.
Daddy’s Home by St. Vincent is out Friday May 14, including on JB-exclusive bronze vinyl, via Loma Vista.
Keep up with the latest Australian release dates for music.