St. Vincent - Cruel

St. Vincent

Strange Mercy

4AD; 2011

Annie Clark absolutely shreds on guitar. It is almost disturbing to see it happen. However, on "Cruel", off of Strange Mercy, we get less shred and more pop. Well, at least the closest thing to "pop" that Annie Clark could muster up. The vibrant beat and dancing melody get intertwined with Clark's dark tones and synths. The song takes turns between dance-pop and gothic chamber vocals. The immediate transitions are interesting to hear develop and a clear demonstration of Clark's haunting style. The midpoint of the song approaches and Clark delivers an absolute murder of a guitar interlude. The heavy distorted bends, slides, and fuzz are again followed by a bridge of bright chimes and exhausted vocals. It is almost as if Clark made a pop song, then decided it just wasn't dark enough. These grim elements she weaves into her track make it hers, and a hundred times better.