St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark, is a New York-based musician who previously referenced Marilyn on ‘Surgeon,’ a track from her 2011 album, Strange Mercy, inspired by a disturbing dream recounted by Marilyn and published in the book, Fragments (see here.)
In her latest single, ‘The Melting of the Sun’ (from the forthcoming album, Daddy’s Home), St. Vincent appears to reference Marilyn again, alongside other women who inspire her – including singers Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos, and Nina Simone.
However, while St. Vincent quoted Marilyn directly in ‘Surgeon,’ here she uses a touch of poetic license: “My Marilyn shot her heroin/’Hell’, she said, ‘it’s better than abuse.'” If this is really about MM – and most critics seem to think it is – then it should be pointed out that Marilyn wasn’t a heroin user. Her addiction to sleeping pills, prescribed by her doctors, was rather more mundane and insidious.
Perhaps St. Vincent thought heroin fit the song’s theme better. Interestingly, in the next line she turns the drug reference onto herself: “So who am I trying to be/A benzo beauty queen?”
You can watch the lyric video here, and she performed it on this weekend’s Saturday Night Live.
UPDATE: St. Vincent has spoken about the track in an interview with USA Today:
“Q: You’ve described ‘The Melting of the Sun’ as a love letter to all these women who came before you, like Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone and Marilyn Monroe. What resonates most with you about their stories?
Clark: To be honest with you, their art resonates more to me than their stories. But their art was was made in a time when the world was even more hostile to female artists or female genius. So it’s just me saying thank you to these women and saying, ‘Thank you for making my life easier. I hope I make life easier for the next generation in a similar way that you did for me.”
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