Strange Mercy - St. Vincent
User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 111 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 0 out of 111

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  1. Jul 25, 2014
    10
    Marvelously created, beautifully designed and planned, and fantastically performed. And it has Surgeon: that's enough to say. St Vincent has nothing else to prove, she is just great. Bravo!
  2. Apr 27, 2014
    10
    And incredible album...one of my three faves from that year.
    My faves for the decade?- "The Whole Love" by Wilco (2011)..."So Beautiful Of So What" by Paul Simon (2011)..."Strange Mercy" by St. Vincent (2011) & "St. Vincent" by St. Vincent (2014).
  3. Mar 24, 2012
    6
    It's OK. It's not great though. There are some good songs. 'Cruel' is great and 'Champagne Years' (despite sounding strangely like the Vaccines 'Blow It Up') is fantastic as well. It doesn't have that complete album feel however.
  4. Mar 19, 2012
    10
    Clark's gotten a bit of criticism for the lyrics on this album, and I really don't understand whyâ
  5. Jan 25, 2012
    10
    I used to think Actor was a flawless album, until I listened to Strange Mercy and my opinion changed quickly. Don't get me wrong, Actor is a fantastic album, but Strange Mercy is better. Annie Clark writes songs no other person would think about. Her vocals are beautiful, her lyrics are out of this world, and the production value is impeccable. Each track is a landmark in music. St. Vincent just seems to get better with each release. A Expand
  6. Jan 8, 2012
    10
    In her own words, Annie Clark said this album was wirtten in a solitude moment of her life, and it sounds very personal. It's like she put all of her thoughts about life itself in this album, and they seem to be brilliant. She left behind the experimental/baroque sound of "Actor", and gave us a different kind of pop, mixed with folk. It is one of the marvelous CDs from last year.
  7. Dec 30, 2011
    9
    I find this one the more varied than the rest of her albums. Absolutely brilliant as always. We assume that there will be many people who find it hard to provide an opportunity for St. Vincent, that didn't agree with that kind of pop or because it dismay them the references to symphonic rock, but even they would recommend Strange Mercy because it is a clear demonstration of what Clark can do with talent unlike many others, trying to enlarge a style. Expand
  8. Dec 30, 2011
    9
    St. Vincent invites you into a world that pairs her hypnotic, beautiful voice with music that is elegant yet chaotic. It's an unusual, surreal treat that feels like The Beatles meet Bjork. Strange Mercy is an indie powerhouse that is one of the best albums from 2011.
  9. Dec 25, 2011
    9
    This is a sometimes beautiful, sometimes experimental and always interesting record. It's still growing on me but I think it might be growing on me for a long while to come. And what a voice.
  10. Dec 17, 2011
    8
    Sometimes I find art, film or a piece music falling in-between this gray space of awkwardness and a place where I am a bit uneasy and not too sure if I should be laughing or be serious. It reminds me of the first time I saw David Lynch's Eraserhead, ( sober I might add, ) and was clearly the only person laughing in the room. It was a comedy right? Also I find this void and feeling when I am watching a comedian BOMB onstage and can't help but laugh at the strain and stress of the situation. It's the elephant in the room.

    Interestingly I had that same gap of humor and reality while listing to the sonic canvas of Annie Clark's musical statement St Vincent and her latest effort Strange Mercy on 4AD. Lush and melodic with broken time signatures reminding me of Eno / Fripp guitar textures, St Vincent are an outstanding project, ugly, beautiful and angular all at the same time.

    Speaking from a technical side, the guitar playing is wonderful in its complexity and simplicity, tone and static. It's on par and relevant to any guitar nerd who believes that Adrian Belew is a bit more interesting than Mudvayne. Vocally speaking, its leaning in the direction of the lush and creative vocals from Elizabeth Frazier / Cocteau Twins and my ears like it.

    I asked myself how did this happen? Why now? Why St Vincent ? Maybe the magic answer is that Annie Clark's DNA is mildly related to jazz guitarist Tuck Andress or because she was able to run away just in the nick of time before losing her creativity to too much formal guitar training. Whatever the reason - its a good thing! If you're not convinced, listen to the song Surgeon and get back with me.
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  11. Dec 14, 2011
    10
    strong melodies great lyrics she has a good voice as well as being an accomplished musician well constructed you may have to give it a few listens but eventually it will suck you in
  12. Oct 25, 2011
    8
    It wasn't unti I saw St. Vincent live at the Treasure Island Music Festival that I realized what a talented guitar player she was. She has serious chops and this album will suck you in. The vocal melody of Cheerleader gets stuck in my head for days. A great effort.
  13. Oct 14, 2011
    8
    In the running with P.J. Harvey's "Let England Shake" as album of the year. It's twisted and glorious. St. Vincent matures with each new album and she continues to throw curveballs where a melody sounds so familiar but is twisted into her own brilliant and original outcome.
  14. Oct 9, 2011
    9
    Strange Mercy feels like it is definitely up for album of the year. It feels so out there, but with familiar aspects. St. Vincent is an artist who is very unknown, but is truly innovative. Great melodies over what is in some songs absolute chaos. Phenomenal album.
  15. Oct 2, 2011
    8
    On Strange Mercy St. Vincent finally releases her inner freak. While itâ
  16. Sep 28, 2011
    9
    Might sound slightly off-putting at first, but 5 listens later, I can confidently say there isn't a stinker on this album. Highly experimental, yet highly rewarding. One of my favorites from 2011.
  17. Sep 25, 2011
    10
    Instantly liked it. Grows on you so easily. Its the cardigans mixed with Bjork mixed with addictive guitar. And I dont even like Bjork. Dont be put off my the first track, start with the second, Cruel. Great sound and so original. Top 10 for 2011, another great female vocalist to add to The Cults and Phantogram. When you get it, you will eventually love the first track!
  18. Sep 21, 2011
    10
    This album has the precision of a surgeon and the cruelness of a puppy. All the experimentation and blips and dissonance, it works out so damn well! Strange Mercy simply one of the best, if not, the best pop albums of 2011. I am in love with this.
  19. Sep 19, 2011
    9
    Annie turned it up a notch with Strange Mercy, which is deffo her best so far. Lyrically, it's simple but clever and how cannot i resist loving the brilliant erotic delivery in Chloe In The Afternoon or the fusion of her voice into the guitar freakout in Northern Lights? Flabbergasting masterwork.
  20. Sep 14, 2011
    5
    Just another Tori Amos trying to reach Kate Bush level. No chance. Songs are boring, no surprises at all. At least lyrics is not bad. To sum up, nothing to be so excited about. Critics definitely went wrong.
  21. Sep 14, 2011
    10
    Annie Clark's musical evolution takes its next big step delivering one of the year's best albums yet -- a thrilling,intense yet deeply personal collection of songs that develop on musical and lyrical concepts she has dabbled with on her previous works.
    The musical sophistication on the album is apparent right from "Chloe in the Afternoon" with rough guitars co-operating in tune with her
    choir-like vocals. "Cheerleader" possibly her most personal song lyrically sees her sick and tired of being at the sidelines and states her independence with a defiant " I...I...I" beat in the song.
    "Surgeon" might be her most sophisticated work having an oft-kilter guitar hook in the middle that is catchy. As she evolves as a songwriter,singer and composer she also develops in unique way as a guitarist. She has a very unique way of treating the instrument often caressing it on songs to produce deep,soulful melodies but can strangle her guitar to produce jarring rough solos that are as memorable as the music in this album.

    A top contender for the album of the year! "Strange Mercy" sees the one of the better solo artists in the indie scene realize the immense scope of her true potential. This might just be the beginning but what a beginning it really is.
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  22. Sep 13, 2011
    10
    I think a lot of people would agree with me if I say that this is one of the best albums of the year. After the sweet "Marry Me" and the psychotic "Actor", "Strange Mercy" seems a more introverted and sensitive albums. Annie's voice is challenged in this album a well as her guitar, but she was able to take control of both, getting new sounds which in my opinion are very interesting. "Chloe In The Afternoon" opens the album with a catchy beat, and it's followed by the single "Cruel" (I recommend you to watch the music video of this song). I think "Cheerleader" is one of the highlights of this album, transmitting a desperation and tiredness. There are also more calmly songs such as "Champagne Year" and "Dilettante", in which the slow motion style in which Annie sings can be easily noted. Another highlight for me is "Strange Mercy", which seems a song that has nothing from another world with a peaceful guitar, until she's starts singing with her now incinerating guitar thunders at the back "If I ever meet that dirty policeman who rough you up!". Personally, I think this album is for St. Vincent another step up the ladder. I had nothing to do but congratulate her for this incredible album. Expand
  23. Sep 13, 2011
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Great Album! One of the best I have heard this year so far! This is her best album. Highlights songs: "Cruel" , "Surgeon" and "Dilettante". Expand
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. Jan 3, 2012
    90
    St. Vincent's most sonically rich effort to date.
  2. Dec 6, 2011
    60
    Musically, in other words, Strange Mercy delivers plenty of interest. What's not so convincing is the songwriting, specifically the lyrics. [Oct 2011, p.60]
  3. 91
    It's cerebral and a little chilly, but also full of musical surprises. [23 Sep 2011, p.79]