Pick of the Week: St. Vincent “Big Time Nothing”

A black background with a large, orange carnation and three-dimensional white text that reads: "Big Time Nothing. St. Vincent." A blue guitar pick in the bottom left corner reads: "WERS 88.9 FM Pick of the Week"
Graphics by Rebecca Calvar

By Claire Dunham, Music Coordinator

All Born Screaming, St. Vincent’s seventh studio album, uncovers the darkest corners of the musician’s psyche. With every song, the acclaimed songwriter-producer pulls back cobwebs and brushes away dust to reveal her most crazed, uninhibited thoughts. Its lyrics tackle themes of depression and doom. And its grungy, synth-filled soundscape buzzes with a fiery rage. 

“Big Time Nothing,” the album’s fifth track, epitomizes St. Vincent’s ominous lyrics and iconic fuzzy, rock-infused electronic sound. 



Annie Clark, the musical genius behind St. Vincent, does it all. She has produced for legendary acts like Sleater-Kinney and worked on explosive hit songs like Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer.” But her most recent project, All Born Screaming, is her most individualistic work yet. For one, the album is entirely self-produced. Clark has previously co-produced two St. Vincent records: MASSEDUCTION and Daddy’s Home, but All Born Screaming is the first St. Vincent project Clark has produced alone.

“Big Time Nothing” opens with a gust of wind, sweeping listeners into an indescribable world— one existing outside of time and space. Soon thereafter, the song thrusts into its synth-powered introduction. Then, Clark delivers the opening lyrics with a robotic monotone, comparable to the spoken-word melodies of CAKE’s John McCrea

Launching headfirst into the chorus, Clark cuts through the deep synths and clanging percussion with a bright, clear rhythm guitar. Her production skillfully contrasts sonic extremes: jarring, unorthodox percussion lines are paired with silky smooth, and oftentimes angelic, vocal harmonies. On “Big Time Nothing,” this sonic variation creates a track bursting with surprises. 

As the song hammers toward its end, sporadic sirens cry out as the other instruments fight to overpower each other. Even Clark’s vocal line seems to be at odds with itself, she alternates between singing and chanting until suddenly she is cut off mid-sentence and the song ends. Clark proves, once again, that she is uninterested in providing resolution or answers—St. Vincent fans should expect the unexpected. 



In an interview with NME, Clark described the lyrical content of “Big Time Nothing” as a replication of the negative self-talk triggered by her depression. The song’s “stream of consciousness” lyrics point toward the, oftentimes nonsensical, inner-workings of the human mind. They pair well with the song’s explosive, impulsive-sounding instrumentation. 

The lyrics of “Big Time Nothing” also fit seamlessly into the record’s overarching themes of life, death and suffering. Its repetitive verses — consisting of various “Do’s” and “Don'ts” and equally repetitive choruses which state, “I look inside, I look inside, I look inside” — may seem redundant. But, ultimately, through these lyrics, Clark captures the illogical nature of her thoughts. Specifically, the internal complexities of living with depression. 


St. Vincent will kick off her All Born Screaming Tour later this month. On September 5th, she is set to play at Boston’s very own MGM Music Hall at Fenway. Throughout the tour, Clark will be joined by fellow WERS artists Momma, Spoon, and Yves Tumor


Tickets for her show at MGM Music Hall at Fenway are available now


Every Monday, our music staff brings you a new Pick of The Week, detailing some of our favorite songs. Check out our previous Picks of the Week here, and make sure to tune in to WERS 88.9FM!

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