Merciful, Mercy Songs, Vol. 1 | Playlist
“Merciful, Mercy Songs, Vol. 1” features 10 songs that with the word ‘mercy’ in their respective title. Artists gracing this playlist include Shawn Mendes and Kanye West.
“Baby, please have mercy on me.” Ah mercy. It is defined by Merriam-Webster as compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power. That’s a bit wordy. More simply put, Webster calls it, Lenient or compassionate treatment. There’s even more definitions, including the most universal one: Compassionate treatment of those in distress.
Here, is a compilation – a playlist of 10 songs. The rules are clear; simple. Some form of the word mercy must be featured in the title of the song. The exception to the rule? The song title doesn’t necessarily have to feature the word mercy, but the subject matter/theme is about mercy. There are no such exceptions on Merciful, Mercy Songs, Vol. 1, featuring songs courtesy of Shawn Mendes, Brett Young, Kanye West, Muse, Duffy, Jacob Banks, Dave Matthews Band, PVRIS, ScHoolboy Q, and St. Vincent.
1. Shawn Mendes, “Mercy”
Album: Illuminate, 2016
Nice warm piano chords, coupled with Mendes’ hums initiate “Mercy.” Beautiful, thoughtful vocals arrive, accompanied by piano and guitar. Pummeling drums, with a shift from warm to more expressive, soulful vocals characterize the refrain. Unsurprisingly, the catchy chorus, filled with Mendes’ love pains, is the selling point.
“I’m saying / Baby, please have mercy on me / Take it easy on my heart / Even though you don’t mean to hurt me / You keep tearing me apart / Would you please have, mercy, mercy, on my heart / Would you please have, mercy, mercy, on my heart.”
2. Brett Young, “Mercy”
Album: Brett Young, 2017
Two songs dominate the discussion on Brett Young, the self-titled debut album by country musician Brett Young. Those two songs are the opener “Sleep Without You” and “In Case You Didn’t Know.” However, the album ends with beautiful, thoughtful ballad, “Mercy.” Young sounds beautiful as he begs her to have mercy – make it quick.
“So, if you’re gonna break my heart, just break it / And if you’re gonna take your shot, then take it / Take it / If you made up your mind, then make it / But make this fast / If you ever loved me / Have mercy.”
3. Kanye West, “Mercy.1”
Ft. Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz
Album: Kanye West Presents Good Music Cruel Summer, 2012
“Mercy.1” serves as a highlight of Kanye West Presents Good Music Cruel Summer (2012). Features samples from Super Beagle and “Reggie Stepper, the production work is sound. Things kick off with Fuzzy Jones delivering the intro, with near-indecipherable lyrics. The hook follows, in all its catchy glory:
“Okay Lamborghini Mercy / Your chick she so thirst y /I’m in that two-seat Lambo / With your girl, she tryna jerk me…”
Obviously, this star-studded joint isn’t about mercy in the Traditional sense. These dudes are referencing the badass car – the Lamborghini Murciélago.
4. Muse, “Mercy”
Album: Drones, 2015
“Mercy” serves as the fourth song from Muse’s 2015 Grammy-winning LP, Drones. To provide some context, “Mercy” follows “Psycho,” which is set in a minor key. “Mercy” contrasts with bright, exuberant production work, as well as a major key – G major to be exact. Matthew Bellamy gives a strong vocal performance, using both his chest and head (falsetto) voice. He sounds fantastic, begging on the chorus:
“Mercy / Mercy / Show me mercy, from the powers that be / Show me mercy, can someone rescue me? / Show me mercy / Show me mercy, please.”
5. Duffy, “Mercy”
Album: Rockferry, 2008
Welsh singer Duffy possesses a distinct, powerful, and soulful voice. For whatever reason, the UK retro-pop/soul musician became something of one-hit wonder. To date, she’s released just two albums. That doesn’t even sound right or possible. Regardless, “Mercy” was her ace-in-the-hole from a superb debut album, Rockferry, which also features standouts beyond the said gem.
“You got me begging you for mercy / Why won’t you release me? / You got me begging you for mercy / Why won’t you release me? / I said release me.”
6. Jacob Banks, “Mercy”
Album: The Boy Who Cried Freedom, 2017
English singer/songwriter (by way of Nigeria) Jacob Banks quietly released an EP in 2017, The Boy Who Cried Freedom. Among the five songs was “Mercy.” Here, Banks gives a gritty, emotional performance, showcasing his distinct, expressive, and powerful pipes. Set in a minor key, the production work incorporates a blend of modern tricks, gospel, and soul.
“I just need a little mercy, mercy on me / I could use a little mercy, mercy on me / I drank your holy water, your liberty, your make-believe / I could use a little mercy, oh mercy on me.”
7. Dave Matthews Band, “Mercy”
Album: Away from the World, 2012
The mid-tempo “Mercy” served as the promo single for the Dave Matthews Band’s 2012 album, Away from The World. “Mercy” opens subtler than the songs that precede it on the album, initiating with acoustic guitar playing a subtle, driving rhythm. Matthews’ vocals reflect the subtler, softer approach. Why more reserved? Two words: the messaging. “Mercy” tackles overcoming the terribleness of the world.
“Mercy will we overcome this? / One by one could we turn it around? / Maybe carry on a little bit longer? / And I’ll try to give you what you need.”
The chorus has some variations of the aforementioned lyrics, eliminating sameness. Additionally, the horn orchestrations are superb and subtly spread throughout the cut. There is plenty of instrumental space utilized at the end, allowing “Mercy” to unwind gracefully.
8. PVRIS, “No Mercy”
Album: All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell, 2017
“There’s blood in the water but it tastes so sweet.” Aggressive. In your face. Those are ways to characterize “No Mercy,” the eighth song from All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell, the sophomore album by PVRIS. Thematically, it seems as if a relationship has gone wrong, with references to blood, shame, God, praying, and of course, the rain on the chorus.
“Show me no mercy / And let it rain, let it rain / Show me no mercy / And let it rain / If you’re gonna make it hurt show me no mercy.”
9. ScHoolboy Q, “Lord Have Mercy”
Ft. Swizz Beatz
Album: Blank Face LP, 2016
West coast rapper ScHoolboy Q is always good for a dark, grimy listening experience. His fourth album, Blank Face LP was no exception. Even in the midst of the sometimes less accessible Blank Face, “Lord Have Mercy” is slightly more accessible. The brief song features soulful production courtesy of Swizz Beatz. Essentially, Q asks The Most High for mercy based upon the deeds committed:
“Never, ever ever get caught tellin’ on my n*ggas / I’m a gangbanger, deadbeat father and drug dealer.”
10. St. Vincent, “Strange Mercy”
Album: Strange Mercy, 2011
Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent, is always good for an intriguing, thought-provoking song. “Strange Mercy,” the title track of her 2011 album, qualifies as intriguing and thought-provoking. This is by far the deepest song on this playlist. Beautiful through and through. Lyrically, it’s well-written, yet plays true to its title. Sung from the perspective of a mother to her child, the listener is given hints as to what the ‘strange mercy’ is (dealing with a missing father), but sees it most clearly on the third verse.
“Oh, little one, I’d tell you good news that I don’t believe / If it would help you sleep / Strange mercy.”