St. Vincent: ‘Teenage Talk’ Single Review

It turns out that “Teenage Talk” by St. Vincent (AKA Annie Clark) was a demo left over from her previous self-titled album, and had been recovered for the sole reason of appearing on Girls. The show’s music supervisor, Manish Raval, had talked to Billboard previously on how they acquired the song. “I said to St. Vincent, ‘We love Annie and she and Lena (Dunham) are friends. Is there anything laying around?’ They sent us a demo of a song called ‘Teenage Talk’ that she hadn’t released yet and it was amazing. Lena flipped for it.”

On the first listen, “Teenage Talk” immediately sounds like a cut from the 2014 self-titled album. It has the lush, orchestral sound that made that album one of last year’s very best music releases, and finds St. Vincent as much a harmonizer as ever. Her voice on the song is beautiful, as her singing conveys nostalgia, optimism, and uncertainty.

It’s also fitting that this demo song would ultimately be recovered for Lena Duhman’s purposes, as the lyrical content certainly evokes with her show’s audience. Vincent’s words on this song are fairly lucid compared to her norm, which tends to be more ambiguous and metaphoric, but her strengths as a singer-songwriter are very present on “Teenage Talk.” It’s a song about reflecting on the awkward and mistake-prone times during one’s childhood, in this case reiterating on an episode when she and some other snuck away from their house in a Chrysler: “But once we were inside/ Couldn’t figure out where we were off too.” Vincent then asks us to consider what situations like this mean in the long run, and if our memories really are so deservedly rose-colored: “I don’t think the past is better, better/ Just cause it’s cased in glass, protecting us from our now-and-laters.”

“Teenage Talk” is another great song from this very talented woman. At under two minutes in length, it’s speculative about how much St. Vincent would have expanded on this song if it ever became more than just a demo. “Teenage Talk” found a very nice home as a closer for a particularly great episode of Girls.