By: Patricia Kusumaningtyas |
Weyes Blood is that underrated singular female voice in alternative music. Signed to famed indie label Sub Pop, the singer-songwriter also known as Natalie Mering has toured or worked with artists like Ariel Pink, Perfume Genius, and Father John Misty. Her vintage sound and unique croon gained a lot of comparisons to Joni Mitchell by critics and listeners—but listening to Weyes Blood still feels as new and relevant as always. This week, Mering released Titanic Rising, the follow-up to her 2016 album Front Row Seat of the Earth. While Front Row Seat of the Earth focuses on subtle instrumentation and puts Mering’s voice front and center, Titanic Rising champions Mering’s versatility in navigating different genres, while still retaining her signature sound.
The cover of the album is a picture of Mering, floating in water, in front of a submerged fully-furnished bedroom. The only source of light comes from the open window. Most of the songs in Titanic Rising feels like we are floating with Mering in that very bedroom, particularly in its two instrumentals, “Titanic Rising” and “Nearer to Thee.” The most ethereal song in the album must be “Movies,” where Mering singing carefully over repetitive ascending-descending synth notes. The song opens with “This is how it feels to be in love,” entering us into Mering’s dreamscape. She continues to describe the idealism portrayed in movies, that “the meaning of life doesn’t seem to shine like that screen.”
Much like “Movies,” one of her singles of the album, “Everyday,” also tackles this question of fantasy versus reality. In a kitschy, playful sound, Mering sings about the idealism of love and how it manifest in modern society as something so instant that’s reachable in the press of a button: “True love is making a comeback/For only half of us, the rest just feel bad/Doomed to wander in the world’s first rodeo.” There are a few songs in the album where she reverts back to her Front Row Seat of the Earth persona—songs about the making and breaking of relationships. In “Mirror Forever,” a Lana del Rey-esque vintage inspired ballad (speaking of Lana del Rey, Weyes Blood is definitely Lana-approved), Mering sings about parting with a former lover.
Most of all, Titanic Rising is about finding hope in a doomed world. In “Something to Believe,” the light is fading: The chorus chronicles Mering’s desperate plea for “something bigger and louder than the voices in me/something to believe.” However, she didn’t stop just there; the album’s other songs seem to point Mering in the right direction of that beacon of light. That beacon of light is love in “Andromeda,” where Mering sings about love and galaxies over a folk guitar: “Love is calling, it’s come to give to you something you can hold on to.” By the end of the album, Mering leaves us something we can all reflect on; that albeit this cycle of hope and loss, we are all still waiting, “Waiting for the call from beyond/Waiting for something with meaning/To come through soon.” At least while we wait, these gaps will be filled with music and love.