The Weyes Blood album “Titanic Rising” feels a lot like time-traveling. At some points, I feel like I’m listening to an unreleased song from Carole King’s Tapestry. At others, I feel the carefully orchestrated entanglement of synth and string swells are from some psychedelic futuristic planet in the galaxy.
Weyes Blood is a moniker that 30-year-old American artist Natalie Mering adopted when she was just 15 years old. Mering has released four studio albums and an EP, gaining traction with critics and fans alike, even securing an opening spot on Father John Misty’s 2017 world tour; “Titanic Rising” was just released April 5 of this year.
Lyrically, akin to peer Father John Misty, the album tackles modern elements such as the disintegration of love within current society. She breaks the fourth wall between music and reality by echoing “it’s a wild time to be alive.”
Growing up, the heartbreakingly seraphic melodies of headstrong yet romantic female folk singers-songwriters would sail through my house like a breeze. Karen Carpenter. Linda Perhacs. Judy Collins. There wasn’t a day when my dad didn’t put on a Laura Nyro record. Her voice possessed delicate depths of emotion that would pour through each song in a real gentle but paralyzing way.
The fervent execution of Nyro’s songs can be seen within the songs on “Titanic Rising.” The album feels like a time capsule. It feels like I’m back in my house listening to my Dad’s records, which is ironic given that the first line of “Titanic Rising” is “If I could go back to a time before now before I ever fell down, go back to a time when I was just a girl.”
The album visuals feature Mering swimming through her bedroom. Yes, her bedroom is filled to the brim with water, yet everything… including a computer, a lit lamp, a bed with a teddy bear on it, and posters hanging on the wall… is in perfect condition. There is even a window that has a glowing light emerging from it. The visual is not only aesthetically impressive, but also genuinely mirrors the feeling of the music on the album. The title track is short, an eerie, vocal-less exploration that sounds like how the album cover looks. It sounds like being underwater.
The first 20 seconds of the opening track of the album, A Lot’s Gonna Change, sounds like a score to a space-age mystery movie. Everything goes silent and for a brief moment, it’s just piano. Then Mering’s Karen Carpenter-esque voice. Then a beat. And then it breaks into the rush of instrumentation. A sweepingly sad ode to nostalgia, the song encapsulates the phrase “you live and you learn.”
In Andromeda, Mering really does sorta become a space cowboy. The guitar sounds like another voice, sliding over the delicately harmonized vocals. Instrumentation drops out for the third verse, except for the sound of a synth organ. Somehow the song feels spacey, cowboy-like, beach-y and gothic at the same time.
“Everyday” embraces a Beatles swing, having a very sunny-day-in-suburbia feeling to it. Mering explores her ability to love in a world that she finds to be split between the lovers and the loveless. The lyric “The other night, I was at a party and someone sincerely looked at me and said, “Is this the end of all monogamy?” shows the intensity into which Mering is surrounded by and, in turn, exudes. She is grand in the purest sense of the word.
“Something to Believe” is that long-lost Carole King track I was talking about. Mering’s voice swoons over piano and sliding guitar— sounding like standard classics in the history of Americana folk rock. She uses the power of her voice with perfectly placed, isolated, gentle vocals that starkly contrast the melodic crescendo’s her songs take.
“Movies” is celestial, a little scary, with low melodies and scattered song structure. The pre-chorus features her singing the word “why” over an extended period, as the backing track increases in volume, creating an intense atmosphere within a looped backing track. From the chord changes behind the moment she sings “put me in a movie,” to the bridge dissolving into just strings, followed by a powerful rebuilding as she repeats “I wanna be the star of my own movie,” Mering yet again achieves a mirror of theme and delivery, creating something incredibly cinematic.
“Mirror Forever” sounds slow, methodical and familiar— in a deep-cut Lana Del Rey song type of way. The bridge is eerie and haunting, as she repeats the line “Oh baby, take a look in the mirror” with growing intensity and harmonization. This track shows Mering’s experimentation, as it is distinctly less folk and more soft rock.
“Wild Time” is the longest track on the album. Again, following her lyrically cinematic theme, the song feels like the end of your favorite movie when all the best moments are compiled into that perfect montage. The chorus has a psychedelic melody, still grand but more reflective, as she lyrically reflects on a concept she has meditated on throughout the entire album— it’s a wild time to be alive.
“Picture Me Better” is a sweetly sung song I immediately sent to my Dad— it possesses that nostalgic, time-capsule, deep 70’s folk sound that appeals across generations. Like many of her songs, pieces of the lyrics on this could be ripped apart from the music and exist solely as poetry.
The album ends with a hypnotic, string driven instrumentation. Just as Mering swims on her album art, the disappearance of her vocal in the last track causes the listener to submerge their head, too, fully into the music.