St. Vincent - Strange Mercy
Critic Score
Based on 34 reviews
2011 Ratings: #4 / 964
Year End Rank: #3
User Score
Based on 762 ratings
2011 Ratings: #14
Liked by 20 people
September 13, 2011 / Release Date
LP / Format
4AD / Label
Art Pop, Indie Pop / Genres
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The Telegraph

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

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.

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.

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.

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.
Consequence of Sound

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


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.


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


‘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.

Space Vacation
It's been awhile since I last sat and truly soaked in this album; and I've listened to a lot of albums since, and really learned a great deal... and after so much time Strange Mercy has emerged so much more vivid and so much more alive than I had remembered.
Three moments on this album that make me wet myself:

1. The first lyrics of 'Surgeon,' where she almost exhales the words.
2. The last two minutes of 'Neutered Fruit,' where the crunch dial is turned to 11.
3. That moment at the beginning of 'Champagne Year' when you are convinced that it is a cover of 'Hallelujah' but IT ISN'T.

10/10 wetness levels.
Her finest album to date (but I am convinced she can release something even more incredible!!!!)
I willingly punctured my eardrums listening to this. It was 87% worth it.

Best tracks: Cruel, Cheerleader, Surgeon, Northern Lights, Neutered Fruit, Year of the Tiger
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.
This woman's music are specially made for my ears
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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
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