Weyes Blood: Titanic Rising Album Review
"Titanic Rising," Weyes Blood’s newest album, is unlike anything she has created yet. Natalie Mering works under the pseudonym Weyes Blood, which she took from Flannery O’Connor's novel “Wise Blood.” Since 2010, she has translated the emotional intimacy of 70's singer-songwriters like Carole King and Joni Mitchell into a modern, dreamy landscape.
The 43-minute-long release paints a portrait of the sunken British passenger liner being resurrected from the dead. Likening her love life and well-being to a shipwreck, she suggests there is hope after failed relationships and self-sabotage. Through simple yet poetic lyrics, Weyes Blood croons aquatic ballads expressing loneliness, exhaustion and regret. Her music is scattered with creative and borderline surreal metaphors like “Doomed to wander in the world's first rodeo,” and “Instead of dropping the ball, I seem to carry so many”.
In the first song, "A Lot’s Gonna Happen," she sings, “No one can keep you down, If your friends and your family, Sadly don't stick around, It's by time you'll learn to get by.” In “Everyday”, she references the famous boat, singing, “Sailing off on the ships to nowhere, Got a lot of things to clear away, Got a lot of years of bad love to make okay”.
The instrumentation has changed substantially compared to her 2016 album, “Front Row Seat to the Earth.” With a full string section, one can be reminded of a grand movie score. Her use of synthesizers is consistent, along with complex harmonies, complicated chord changes, and melodies that lightly rise and fall. It somehow balances the ethereal with the epic, without a touch of cliche.
The title track, “Titanic Rising,” is placed in the middle of the album, a purely instrumental track with a growing ambiance in which Mering suggests an impending sense of enlightenment. The song then drowns out to a muffled violin solo, overtaken by the ominous noises from the sea’s deep trenches. Her album contains numerous samples of sounds only found in the depths of the ocean and in the depths of memory. The creaking of a ship, the flow of water, and even brief whale noises all compliment the marine music evoked from this release.
Her song “Wild Time” begins with a musical ringing like that of a boat’s radar, indicating the detection of danger on her behalf. In the tune, it is clear that since 2017, Natalie Mering has been dealing with the political anxiety that many of us feel right now. Referencing “the wall”, alcoholism, and likening the beauty industry to a broken machine, she rejects nihilism, but does not embrace unrelenting positivity either. The fact that the world is bordering on ecological collapse makes the average individual feel small, but Weyes Blood transforms these issues into intimate, more one-on-one conversations.
Utilizing her hypnotic mezzo, confessional lyrics and vast symphonic apparatus, Weyes Blood has created something worth treasuring. Her remarkable release offers the listener a chance to escape from heartbreak and oppression, just as she escapes through movies and memories.