Natalie Mering’s fourth album under the pseudonym Weyes Blood, “Titanic Rising,” begs its listener to persevere in the face of adversity. In fact, one of the album’s major motifs is the hymn, “Nearer, My God, to Thee,” the presumed final song played by the Titanic’s band as it went down. The album’s title makes listeners envision the broken and destitute Titanic rising from the depths and coming back to life. Even the album’s spectacular cover art shows Mering defying a post-climate change world, peacefully existing in an underwater bedroom.
Mering takes that centuries-old trope of persevering through adversity and applies it to 21st century problems effortlessly and gracefully. The album’s lead single “Andromeda” concerns technology, “Everyday” discusses modern romance and “Wild Time” talks about impending climate change. While these topics have certainly been explored, Mering’s take is a unique one. “A lot's gonna change / In your lifetime / Try to leave it all behind / In your lifetime” she sings on the album's opener, “A Lot's Gonna Change.” On cursory listens, “Titanic Rising” can seem like a lot of doom and gloom, but Mering’s message is one of hope. If difficulties are inevitable, why not make the most of the present?
Instrumentally, Mering juxtaposes these modern-day themes with Carole King-like vocal delivery and piano balladry. While the album heavily borrows from that 1970s singer-songwriter era, it also carves out its own unique sound. It’s hard to put into words just how textured the instrumentation on this record is. “Titanic Rising” includes french horns, pianos, drum machines, synths, electric and acoustic guitars, trumpets and orchestral string sections, and that’s just a fraction of the instruments used.
Sometimes, that many instruments can bloat an album, but thanks to Mering’s compositions and Jonathan Rado’s (of Foxygen fame) production, “Titanic Rising” instead feels lush and ethereal. The sound of the record almost invokes a sense of being underwater, similar to the album’s cover. It’s peaceful, yet powerful and maybe even dangerous. Let “Titanic Rising” wash over you and you won’t be disappointed.
Albums this good are incredibly rare. Weyes Blood nails every part of the music-making process from songwriting to visuals to instrumentation. It results in what will be one of the top albums of the year and one of the best art-pop releases of the decade.
Edited by Joe Cross | firstname.lastname@example.org