St. Vincent's "The Melting of the Sun" is a poignant "thank you" to all the strong female artists who came before her, but it took some rewriting of the lyrics—six times, to be exact—for Annie Clark to find the song's true meaning.
“I wrote and rewrote those lyrics. It was about this, and then it was about this, and then it sort of came to me," she explained in an Instagram video. "I was talking to [co-producer] Jack [Antonoff] and I was talking about the sound of the song because I was struggling with what the lyric was going to exactly be, and I said ‘Yeah I just want it to feel like this melting sun sort of psychedelic thing.’"
And that's when the idea hit. “There’s this immovable object that could never be anything other than what it is," Clark said. "It could never melt. It could never be destroyed. It could never burn out. I thought, ‘That resonates with me, that we’re watching something both catastrophic and inevitable. That the laws of nature are getting twisted on themselves, and hey maybe it’s a good thing.’”
“So that song, for me, I’m talking about some of my musical and literary heroes—women who were really brilliant who were met with hostility in the world that they did not deserve, and a lot of the time it was because they were telling the truth,” she added, noting some of the women mentioned in the track (Joni Mitchell, Joan Didion, Marilyn Monroe, Tori Amos, Nina Simone). “It’s talking about these women and saying, ‘Thank you for what you’ve done. You made it easier for me and for anyone who comes after me, and hey, maybe we’re watching this power structure that we thought was permanent crumble or dissipate before our very eyes. And if we are, I would be honored to stand beside you as we watch it burn.’”
Photo: Zackery Michael