For the first minute, you would be forgiven for assuming that Cheerleader from St. Vincent’s excellent record Strange Mercy belongs in the crowded category of nice-but-boring introspective female indie pop. You would, however, be playing right into her hands. Musically, this whole record feels confident and brash, full of indie rock swagger and, impressively, guitars! Absent from her last record Actor almost entirely, Annie Clark gleefully blasts us at the one-minute-mark with 5 bursts of super-saturated distortion, adding heft and bravado to her declaration that I don’t wanna be a cheerleader no more. While Cheerleader is noticeably lacking the bold riffs and solos that litter the rest of the album, this song concisely encapsulates the play between cautious confidence and pithy introspection that make St. Vincent such a pleasure to listen to. Sample lyric: I’ve played dumb when I knew better/ tried too hard just to be better. While not the earworm that other standout tracks like Cruel and Surgeon are, Cheerleader manages to update the sound St. Vincent established on Actor with bigger arrangements and more satisfying melodies. On this track St. Vincent rocks, albeit self-consciously.