Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

Chlöe – Have Mercy

Sorry for posting this at an ungodly hour (at least according to our site’s time zone)…


Nina Lea: “Have Mercy” is less a brilliantly original single than an homage to Beyoncé, reminiscent of a draft written for the Queen’s self-titled 2013 album. (The breathy “floss” whispers and the stretched-out, lingering pronunciation of “mind” sound almost like Bey herself.) But as the first solo drop for 23-year-old Chlöe, “Have Mercy” is nevertheless quite the statement, an unabashed embrace of her body and sexuality, delivered with the utmost confidence, and woven through with technically perfect melismas. Even if Chlöe hasn’t completely figured out her own unique solo personality yet, I’m excited for what she’ll do next.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: An unmistakable extension of the Beyoncé lineage and the genesis of a new generation of artistry, “Have Mercy” is a trenchant argument for Chlöe’s global superstardom. Every melody, every syllable, every beat radiates control and charisma. Who needs mercy when you have a cut this hot?

Andrew Karpan: An expression of pop linguistics where the body remains the unassailable temple, the impact is perhaps better appreciated in the VMAs clip than on the ominous trap echoes that Murda Beatz rather anonymously mints out. In that performance, the moves from the backup dancers who surround Chlöe do not so much evoke suitors enthralled but worshippers crazed, part of a project that NPR bills the singer’s “unabashed booty positivity.” It’s a bop, icy with purpose and resolve and pushed, in its higher notes, to an imperfect impersonation of Beyoncé, the record’s cardinal and most obvious influence and whose sound Chlöe’s voice traces with frightened precision. Have mercy, indeed. We’ll need it. 

Austin Nguyen: No mercy needs to be asked for here; Ben Shapiro et. al have received their wish. This is PG-13 “WAP” — the “whores in the house” bowdlerized into a Twitter-addicted budget-Big Freedia, the raunchiness euphemized into bland innuendos, the commands bubble wrapped into smirking questions. There’s not much to latch on to, memes or otherwise: Almost texture-less as plaster, to the point of near blankness.

Michael Hong: In “Have Mercy” a big ass isn’t a joke or a meme. It’s not even all that sexual, with the most suggestive Chlöe gets is a whirring “I can teach you a couple things.” Instead, a big ass is all about power. And there’s power in the way Chlöe dances, power in the way she performs on stage. Sometimes, “Have Mercy” is power — that second verse has you believing every word. But most of the time, it lacks it and that combination of Murda Beatz’s porous production and Chlöe’s robotic rhythm fails to make her the star she deserves to be.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Works better the more it builds momentum — as Murda Beatz throws more synth flourishes into and Chlöe’s vocals layer on top of each other, the track’s charming directness becomes something more dramatic, music for an intentionally-constructed pop coronation. It’s easy to make a song that sounds this big, but it’s more difficult to do what Chlöe has done here, taking a song that sounds stadium-level big and claustrophobic close at the same time.

Ian Mathers: Disorienting little vocal snippets zoom past your ears, and Chlöe is relentless enough over them that it feels like “Have Mercy” keeps spinning you in a circle. Even when it downshifts a bit into something slinkier you’re already whirling and it’s hard to find your bearings. That thickness isn’t the only thing you can’t get out of your mind, and as for mercy it kind of feels like there’s precious little on offer.

Anna Suiter: The breakdown before the last chorus is really the highlight, when the backtrack is allowed into the foreground and the tone of the song is allowed to shift completely with it. It’s a shame this is only allowed to happen in the video, and not in the song on its own.

Alfred Soto: It has its beats in the right place, which is to say, 2020-2021, and Chlöe sounds almost as game. 

Reader average: [4] (1 vote)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

One Response to “Chlöe – Have Mercy”

  1. what does “Twitter-addicted budget-Big Freedia” mean