LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 28: St. Vincent performs onstage during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awa...
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images


10 Of St. Vincent's Hardest Rock Songs

Essential listening for the singer’s new album, All Born Screaming.

When St. Vincent released the lead single of her upcoming seventh album, All Born Screaming, in March, the immediate consensus among critics and fans was that the avant-rocker was back to her roots. Following 2017’s pop-leaning Masseduction and 2021’s funked-up Daddy’s Home, the singer’s sound had seemingly strayed further and further away from the spiky and weird rock that originally shot her to stardom in the early 2010s. But with the wailing guitar on “Broken Man,” she was suddenly back — heavier and harder than ever.

And indeed, St. Vincent — real name Annie Clark — has said in interviews that the new project features some of her “darkest” songs to date, with lyrics that swirl around living and dying, and straight-edge rock production remniscent of Nine Inch Nails and Tori Amos, her earliest inspirations. But these sonic influences that have long inhabited her music, from 2015’s self-titled to 2011’s Strange Mercy. In the lead-up to All Born Screaming, out April 26, we compiled 10 of her hardest rock songs where we first saw this vision.

“Your Lips Are Red” (2007)

As far back as her debut record, St. Vincent has had a penchant for angular rock that’s apparent on songs like “Your Lips Are Red,” which features drums that pound like a migraine and electric courses of guitar.

“Marrow” (2009)

“Marrow,” a mid-album track from St. Vincent’s sophomore record, Actor, begins on a note of whimsy before descending into a cacophonous guitar grind, all while she spells out, “H-E-L-P” — which is as dark as a song can get.

“Actor Out of Work” (2009)

St. Vincent details all the pathetic ways she sees a potential lover on this hit from Actor, but what lingers in the mind after its two-and-a-half-minute runtime is its driving, barreling beat dotted with off-key trumpet flourishes.

“Cheerleader” (2011)

One hallmark of St. Vincent songs is the way she writes choruses that absolutely crack open in a frenzy like on “Cheerleader.” She also uses this tactic on “Broken Man.”

“Cruel” (2011)

St. Vincent’s signature grinding, electric guitar riff is unmissable on “Cruel,” a longtime critic favorite.

“Rattlesnake” (2015)

If you didn’t know “Rattlesnake” was originally from St. Vincent’s 2015 self-titled, you could easily mistake the song’s distorted, noisy tangle as a single from the upcoming All Born Screaming.

“Prince Johnny” (2015)

“Prince Johnny” is mid-tempo and deeply emotional, but it’s also got a serrated edge, thanks to blown-out bass and the scratchy noise that invades St. Vincent’s vocals — a technique that’s also heard on “Broken Man.”

“Digital Witness” (2015)

The blown-out distortion and synths heard on recent singles “Flea” and “Big Time Nothing” can be traced back to previous tracks like 2015’s “Digital Witness.”

“Birth In Reverse” (2015)

If we’re talking pure, industrial-sounding rock, 2015’s “Birth In Reverse” is one of St. Vincent’s earliest songs that dabbled in that genre.

“Los Ageless” (2017)

Compared to her other albums, 2017’s Masseduction was decidedly sleeker, but “Los Ageless” still had some grit — plus, that blazing riff is unmistakably Annie Clark.