The new video for singer/songwriter St. Vincent's latest track, Cruel, to be lifted from her upcoming L.P, titled 'Strange Mercy', sees her dealing with the pressures of family responsibilities and slowly being crushed under the weight of expectation that lead to he ultimate act of family resentment.
With the cool skin of someone masking the stress that underline her life, St. Vincent's 'Cruel' takes a dark look at the problems that can be found within the everyday tasks that running a family household can present. Catching a knot whilst brushing a child's hair, picking the wrong food from the supermarket or even offering a mother's care to a cut on the hand of her son, her family take note of these as incurable defects.
The opening image of a woman fading in the dark depths of a dug hole in the earth, instantly creates the sense of crushing pressures that the role of St. Vincent's persona in the video feels. These are unveiled as the video unfolds and the unforgiving family unit take it upon themselves to bury the problem once and for all... literally.
The video is the result of yellow tinged environments with deep shadows put together with simple precision and caught on camera using little trickery creating a surreal sense of reality. The reality is stretched as the family begin to react to her inability to perform the simple requests of a housewife and test her patience further by purposefully spilling drinks across the table or simply setting fire to a pile of clothes that are waiting to be ironed and there is even a touching moment where the daughter holds her mother's head under water in the bath. A delightful family, no?
I never knew that bundling ones mother into the boot of a family car could bring a father and his children closer together. Whilst I am aware of the dark undertones of director Terri Timely has explored, there is no denying the creative way that family stress is dealt with is little short of amazing. This video is a fantastic combination of dark humour and eery acceptance that reflect the lyrics wonderfully and reminds us of the skill that St. Vincent, Annie Clark, has as an artist to create a full package experience to accompany her music.