- Strange Mercy

St. Vincent - Strange Mercy
CRITIC SCORE
87
Based on 27 reviews
2011 Rank: #2 / 872
USER SCORE
85
Based on
319 ratings

WHAT DO YOU THINK?
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CRITIC REVIEWS

91
A.V. Club

Engaging the darkness (rather than just acknowledging it) adds some flesh-and-blood humanity to an artist whose excellent output has nonetheless been marked by cold distance.

91
Entertainment Weekly
Annie Clark’s third album luxuriates in sound — blurps and gurgles and beats and textures that surround her floaty prog-pop songs. It’s cerebral and a little chilly, but also full of musical surprises.
90
Consequence of Sound

Strange Mercy achieves that sweeping goal, delivering on its promises, challenging thematically and intellectually, while also entertaining.

90
PopMatters

On Strange Mercy, Clark continues to sharpen and finetune her act, coming off bolder in her aesthetic, yet more immediate and intimate as a performer.

90
Pitchfork

On Strange Mercy, she ditches Marry Me's naivety and Actor's ostentatious arrangements, boosts the inventive guitar playing, and ends up with her most potent and cathartic release yet.

90
Drowned in Sound

This is an album that rockets toward you, ricochets through your emotions and finally decides to lay you down on the floor, headphones on, tumbling around like a blissed-out cat in the sun.

90
NME

It’s this combination of unforced sonic gorgeousness and a refusal to settle for the obvious that puts Clark in a field of her own, and makes for a strange and wonderful record that shows no mercy in blowing your mind.

90
No Ripcord

The role of the music in conveying Annie Clark’s message has been upped, the lyrics are more personal, the production is richer, and Clark’s velvety voice is now threatening as often as it is beautiful; Strange Mercy is a more ambitious record featuring improved songwriting that is littered with Clark’s personal tribulations.

90
Under The Radar

Where Clark previously impressed through the sheer audacity of her strengths as a songwriter and arranger, here she has stopped trying to impress and simply made an album assembled through feel and intuition, and, taken as a whole, it feels perfect.

90
American Songwriter

Experimental music never sounded like this though. Like St. Vincent’s previous work, Strange Mercy is fresh and punctuated with purpose. Its tangents never evade the listener but surprise and delight.

86
Beats Per Minute

Clark is more divulgent of her true personal feelings than we’ve come to expect, and she’s created a dense collection of songs to reflect this atmosphere.

80
musicOMH

It may not be leaps and bounds ahead of previous St Vincent releases, but this is a rich and multi-faceted album to pay close attention to.

80
AllMusic

Full of great lyrics and great playing, Strange Mercy is St. Vincent's most reflective and most audacious album to date, and Clark remains as delicately uncompromising an artist as ever.

80
Slant Magazine

Clark’s bare, sedate St. Vincent persona is the highlight of Strange Mercy, reflecting all the terror, beauty, and allure of her music more effectively than any cantakerous narrator could muster.

80
Clash

‘Strange Mercy’ is sparse and beautiful; woodwind, brass and even a clavinet are utilised with deftness to create a sense of light and space around Clark’s mesmeric vocal and experimental arrangements.

exception
82
This is one of those albums that I have been meaning to listen to for many months, but it has always just been on the backburner. Now that I have finally gotten around to listening to it, I'm pretty impressed. St. Vincent crafted an exquisitely enjoyable album of indie rock and art pop. To be frank, nothing truly blows me away all too much more than other albums similar to this (despite it still being a really cool album). Strange Mercy is great, however it doesn't do enough to ... read more
ryansliao
100
Although not as graceful and subtle as Actor, Strange Mercy completely rewrote the rules for guitar driven indie rock. This album is quite easy to get into, yet disturbing and odd. For every catchy melody, there is a crushing guitar riff that comes out of nowhere. Annie Clark's voice maintains beauty and vulnerableness through all of this. This record is as impressive as it is head banging and catchy.

Best Tracks: Chloe In The Afternoon, Cruel, Cheerleader, Northern Lights, Strange Mercy, ... read more
pouls
92
St. Vincent's Strange Mercy is, in my opinion, not only the best St. Vincent album, but the best pop album of the decade as well. Annie Clark dishes the sound of her previous two albums and aims for a more experimental sound in this album. It's a stranger sound, and one that might not please many of her fans, but it certainly pleases me.
Her voice remains as powerful as ever in this album, and this album's instrumental part is absolutely fantastic. I love the writing in this album as well. She ... read more
SiberianBreaks
83
This album really goes to show how interesting of a genre art pop is. The noisey guitars with the abstract sounding synths along with accessible pop melodies make for some fantastic songs that stick in your head. Annie Clark does a great job with making abstract music that's surprisingly easy to get into.

Favourite tracks: Cruel, Neutered Fruit, Dilettante
mikeisnowonfire
99
As close to perfection as you can come in the moment. Beautiful songs of carelessness and whimsical stories dart back and forth in between beautiful distortion and unique and challenging guitar riffs. Annie Clark made a pop rock album you could smoke a joint to and have your parents listen to that loved that 60's scuzz.
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DETAILS

September 13, 2011 / Release Date
LP / Format
4AD / Label
Annie Clark, John Congleton / Producer
Indie Pop, Art Pop / Genres
Tags
END OF YEAR LISTS
# 8 - A.V. Club
# 25 - Amazon
# 28 - American Songwriter
# 12 - Cokemachineglow
# 1 - Consequence of Sound
# 7 - DIY
# 11 - Drowned in Sound
# 9 - musicOMH
# 7 - NME
# 5 - No Ripcord
# 8 - Obscure Sound
# 1 - One Thirty BPM
# 11 - Paste
# 12 - Pazz and Jop
# 11 - Pitchfork
# 7 - PopMatters
# 14 - Prefix
# 6 - Pretty Much Amazing
# 8 - Q Magazine
# 26 - Rolling Stone
# 5 - Slant
# 34 - SPIN
# 17 - Spinner
# 32 - Stereogum
# 35 - The Fly
# 18 - The Guardian
# 43 - Tiny Mix Tapes
# 43 - Uncut
# 1 - Under the Radar
Track List
  1. Chloe in the Afternoon 
  2. Cruel 
  3. Cheerleader 
  4. Surgeon 
  5. Northern Lights 
  6. Strange Mercy 
  7. Neutered Fruit 
  8. Champagne Year 
  9. Dilettante 
  10. Hysterical Strength 
  11. Year of the Tiger