3 Songs You Didn’t Know St. Vincent Wrote for Other Artists

St. Vincent is an art rock masterpiece. Credited in song by her real name Anne (Annie) Clark, the multi-dimensional singer, songwriter, and musician has written some of the most provoking, sentimental, and eccentric-out-there songs that always seem to circle back to something real.

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After releasing an early EP, Ratsliveonnoevilstar, in 2003, while studying at Berklee, Clark joined the Polyphonic Spree in 2004, then Sufjan Stevens touring band before going her own way and releasing another EP, Paris is Burning, in 2006. That year, she began working on her first full-length release, Marry Me (2007), as St. Vincent, a name she pulled partially from a lyric in Nick Cave‘s “There She Goes, My Beautiful World” and her great-grandmother, whose middle name was St. Vincent.

Throughout her career, Clark has picked up three Grammy Awards and had songs featured in television (Portlandia, Girls), and film, including soundtracks for The Twilight Saga: New Moon and Breaking Dawn, The Nowhere Inn, and Minions: The Rise of Gru.

Clark’s collaborations have spanned Taylor Swift, Bon Iver, Kid Cudi, Amanda Palmer, and Andrew Bird, among others, along with Love This Giant, her 2012 collaborative album with David Byrne.

Within a fairly short burst of time, Clark has also penned a few songs outside her central scope of material.

Here’s a look at three songs St. Vincent wrote for other artists.

1. “Under Neon Lights,” The Chemical Brothers (2015)
Written by St. Vincent, Tom Rowlands, Ed Simons

On The Chemical Brothers’ eighth album, Born in the Echoes, Beck and Cate Le Bon contributed lyrics to tracks, in addition to Clark, who co-wrote “Under Neon Lights,” which she is also featured on. The album hit No. 1 on the UK Albums chart and peaked at No. 2 on the U.S. Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart.

Got no pride, got no name
I guess this is Heaven
I guess I’m in Heaven
Oh I guess I’m in Heaven

And she moves to suicide
In and under neon lights
Got no husband, got no wife
All I want’s a view tonight

2. “Cruel Summer,” Taylor Swift (2019)
Written by St. Vincent, Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff

When Taylor Swift released her seventh album, Lover, in 2019, she always wanted to release “Cruel Summer,” a song she wrote with Clark and co-producer Jack Antonoff, as a single.

Though Lover climbed the charts to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with its initial singles hitting the Top 10 and Top 40 of the Hot 100, “Cruel Summer,” the story about a secret romance — Devils roll the dice, angels roll their eyes / What doesn’t kill me makes me want you more — was somewhat of a sleeper hit until it began climbing up the streaming charts in 2023.

Swift decided to release “Cruel Summer” as a single in 2023, four years after the release of Lover. The song experienced a boost in the spring of 2023 when it was featured in the 2022 Amazon Prime series The Summer I Turned Pretty. The resurgence of the song “Cruel Summer” led to streams of the song jumping 120 percent on Spotify.

“‘Cruel Summer,’ that song was my pride and joy on that album,” said Swift to the audience. “That was my favorite song. You have conversations before the album comes out and everyone around weighs in on what they think should be singles and I was finally about to have my favorite song become the single off of ‘Lover.’”

Fever dream high in the quiet of the night
You know that I caught it
Bad, bad boy
Shiny toy with a price
You know that I bought it

Killing me slow, out the window
I’m always waiting for you to be waiting below
Devils roll the dice, angels roll their eyes
What doesn’t kill me makes me want you more

3. “deja vu,” Olivia Rodrigo (2021)
Written by Olivia Rodrigo and Dan Nigro; also credited St. Vincent, Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff

Well before Olivia Rodgrio released her 2021 debut, Sour, it was already a massive hit with singles “driver’s license” and “deja vu.” The latter track summons the tastes, sounds, and smells of a more repetitive moment in time, from cruising in Malibu, strawberry ice cream, and watching Glee on TV.

Clark technically didn’t have a hand in penning Olivia Rodrigo’s “deja vu,” but her name is on it for good reason. The song, which hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, credits Clark, Taylor Swift, and Jack Antonoff for its heavy interpolation of Swift’s “Cruel Summer” (see above).

“I thought it’d be interesting to write a song, using ‘deja vu,’ about how sometimes when somebody moves on in a relationship and they get with a new partner, you watch it and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, that was all of the stuff that I did,'” Rodgrio told American Songwriter of the song. “I think that’s a really relatable, universal thing.”

Photo by Pamela Neal / Nasty Little Man

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