Friday, September 16, 2011

St. Vincent – Strange Mercy (2011) – Review

St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
St. Vincent, the stage name of performer Annie Clark, is a described as Art Rock or Baroque Pop – sub-genres that alone intrigue potential listeners. But what is so brilliant about Clark’s songwriting and aesthetic is that it is both challenging music (in that it is not just bland radio fodder) and completely accessible for those who enjoy pop music. Her third album, Strange Mercy is maybe her most poppy and also rocking, though its sound feels in tune with her style progressing from Marry Me through Actor and now to Strange Mercy. Clark’s singing and lyrics have a cryptic yet genuine emotion to them, which play against the listener’s own. The album is an experience (which seems to be rare these days). The overall sound she creates is fantastic – powerful and interesting, as it evolves and artfully flows. There are not too many artists right now that can capture the same amount energy in their records – Clark just has this rawness to her that is really appealing, despite her sweet voice. The lead single Cruel is a phenomenal song (and the video is cool too), and probably my favorite of the genre so far this year (though, I do really like Peter Bjorn and John’s Second Chance – even if it was overplayed in TV commercials, as with The Black Key’s Tighten Up). I highly recommend picking this album up if you like indie pop (or as I would categorize it post rock) that has a great sound and complexity to it. 4/5

Editor’s Song Picks:
1)      Cruel
2)      Dilettante
3)      Cheerleader

Available on CD and Digital Download

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