St. Vincent - Strange Mercy
Critic Score
Based on 37 reviews
2011 Ratings: #8 / 1011
Year End Rank: #3
User Score
2011 Ratings: #15
Liked by 110 people
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
The Telegraph

The third album from Texan singer and Bon Iver collaborator Annie Clark is a flawless exercise in arty pop subversion.

100
The Observer

The strings and woodwind have been turned down in favour of a harder sound, dominated by off-kilter drums and queasy synths, with Clark's electric guitar filling the gaps with intricate runs, riffs and fills.

95
The 405

More than anything this is just an outstanding album--one of the best you’ll hear all year, and likely one of the best you’ll hear over the next several years.

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.
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.

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
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.

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
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
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
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
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
Consequence of Sound

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

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
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.

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
Paste

Strange Mercy is an album that’s full of ambitious attempts to create rich tableaus that defy the expectations they create. Some work, and some don’t, but the ones that don’t will probably age well given that a few dozen listens won’t leave you bored.

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
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.

60
The Irish Times

The constant modifications of tempo and style mean that Strange Mercy is hard to adjust to at times; it seems as if Clark is so intent on packing every idea in that the album's structure occasionally becomes unsound.

BradTasteMusic
78

Some of her best songs are here, but also a couple of really boring ones that I’d probably skip every time. Great album overall.

Nightwing734
60

Art-pop is really a hit-or-miss genre for me, the music is on this album is very cool but it kind of just went in one ear and out the other. I will try and listen to more stuff like this and maybe even more st vincent projects hoping I would enjoy that more

redbded
81

8.1 - Great

Well at this point, St. Vincent is easily one of the most consistent artists in the game.

Strange Mercy, the 3rd album by the artist, is continuing proof that she is one of the more consistent artists of the 2010s. However, I feel that the appeal of all of her albums is based on what the listener likes the most. For me, Daddy’s Home is my personal favorite, with its excellent songwriting and psychedelic 70s style, with her self titled being a close runner up, with its jumpy, ... read more

BradTasteMusic
78

Some of her best songs are here, but also a couple of really boring ones that I’d probably skip every time. Great album overall.

Bimapolis
87

"Strange Mercy" presents stories that explore peculiar forms of compassion and the pain that can be associated with kindness. The theme starts boldly with "Chloe In The Afternoon" being about BDSM and prostitution as people visit Chloe in the afternoon for their appointments. St. Vincent's virtuosically rough guitar depicts the pain of the situation, as it clashes with the floaty high-pitched synths which resemble the anxious euphoria of intimacy. It was influenced by the ... read more

100

she’s the goat

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