Folk and experimental musician Weyes Blood’s fourth studio album “Titanic Rising” is a genius work of art. It’s a spacey and nostalgic record with unique sounds and ambitious lyrics that yearn to give hope and optimism to an ever-changing world.
Natalie Mering — known for her stage name Weyes Blood — is no rookie in the music industry. Releasing music since 2006 and collaborating with popular indie and folk artists including PerfumeGenius and Ariel Pink, Mering has had time to evolve her sound into what it is today — beautifully soft and futuristic.
“Titanic Rising,” released April 7 by Sub Pop Records, mixes haunting and experimental beats, while maintaining that traditional soft rock and folksy sound of the ‘70s. Listeners will likely feel as if they’re listening to a futuristic version of Carole King or Joni Mitchell.
“A Lot’s Gonna Change” opens the album, beginning with a synthetic keyboard sound leading into a beautiful piano ballad about wanting be a child again, but knowing the only thing possible is the future. The song single-handedly sets the tone and themes for the rest of the album.
Mering alludes to a dystopian world in which the future is uncertain, but she speaks of hope instead of fixating on the bad in each song.
“Andromeda”— titled after Earth’s neighboring galaxy — has the dreamy feeling Weyes Blood is known for.
“Andromeda” is a song about getting heads out of the clouds — or space in this case — and taking a hold of the opportunities on Earth.
“Everyday,” “Something to Believe” and “Wild Time” may have the most resemblance to the old soft rock sound of the ‘70s, making the listener want to put on some bell bottoms and potentially learn piano for themselves.
Mering continues to put her audience in a trance with the album’s titular song “Titanic Rising,” a short, eerie instrumental piece composed of long-held synthetic sounds and short clips of experimental samples.The piece induces a feeling of floating in space while simultaneously drowning in the ocean.
This feeling doesn’t go away in “Movies” — arguably Mering’s most beautiful and melodramatic song off the album. Almost six minutes in length, Mering’s artistic talent and vision shine through — listeners might never want the song to end. A slow burning track about the impact movies have on society’s idea of reality, “Movies” is a fittingly cinematic listening sensation that takes the listener on a ride through Mering’s mind.
The rest of “Titanic Rising” continues in this fashion, and it’s brought full circle in the violin instrumental “Nearer to Thee”– the last song on the album which reuses the string section of the album’s first song “A Lot’s Gonna Change,” producing a feeling of being pulled back down to Earth after a beautiful ride in space.
All of Weyes Blood’s work has maintained her folk-esque and haunting voice, but “Titanic Rising” proved the extent of her talent and drive to make something fresh and unique for her fans, setting it apart from her previous albums.
With only 52,000 followers on Instagram, Mering is by no means a “big star,” but she’s gained attention from the indie genre, with alternative singer Lana Del Rey posting a video of Mering singing, calling her “an endless source of inspiration” and congratulating her on the new record. If Lana Del Rey likes it, it must be a big deal.
“Titanic Rising” is an album not to be missed, and though it may not have any upbeat songs to sing and dance to, it will provide something even more rewarding than that. Listeners will be taken on a nostalgic journey not to the past or to the future, but to a beautiful limbo in between.
Weyes Blood’s music can be streamed on Apple Music, Spotify or other online streaming apps. She’s expected to perform at Lincoln Hall (2424 N. Lincoln Ave.) May 22. Tickets are available online.