Song of the Day #1,290: ‘Cruel’ – St. Vincent

St. Vincent is the stage name of singer-songwriter Annie Erin Clark, who was born in Oklahoma, raised in Dallas and is currently based out of New York City. She has been a member of both the Polyphonic Spree (another band I know very little about) and Sufjan Stevens’ touring band.

Today’s track, ‘Cruel,’ is the first single from her third full-length album, Strange Mercy, and it features a rather unsettling video.

In the clip, a woman (played by Clark) is kidnapped by a man and his two children and forced to act as their wife and mother. Initially she plays the role without attempting escape (at one point we see that the door to the house is left open) but things turn sour. The video culminates with the family burying her alive in the front yard.

I suppose this is a commentary on a woman’s role in the modern family — she is expected to give selflessly and is persecuted for minor transgressions. That’s my take on it, anyway. What’s yours?

Bodies, can’t you see what everybody wants from you?

[Verse 1]
Forgive the kids, for they don’t know how to live
Run the alleys casually cruel
Cruel, cruel

[Verse 2]
Bodies, can’t you see what everybody wants from you?
For you could want that, too
They could take or leave you
So they took you, and they left you
How could they be casually cruel?
Cruel, cruel, oh
Cruel, cruel, oh

Bodies, can’t you see what everybody wants from you?
If you could want that, too, then you’ll be happy

[Verse 3]
You were the one waving flares in the air so they could see you
And they were a zephyr, blowing past ya, blowing fastly so they can see ya
Cruel, cruel, oh
Cruel, cruel, oh

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,290: ‘Cruel’ – St. Vincent

  1. Dana says:

    Okay, this song and video is a bit too creepy to watch at 6:45 A.M.! I suppose your take on the meaning of the video is pretty accurate. At the moment, I’m feeling like a pretty damn good husband by comparison to the one in this video:)

  2. peg says:

    This is creepy to watch, but I do like her voice. I go with your translation too, but your meaning would be more accurate in the 50’s and 60’s don’t you think?

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