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Titanic Rising

by Weyes Blood

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about

The phantom zone, the parallax, the upside down—there is a rich cultural history of exploring in-between places. Through her latest, Titanic Rising, Weyes Blood (a.k.a. Natalie Mering) has, too, designed her own universe to soulfully navigate life’s mysteries. Maneuvering through a space-time continuum, she intriguingly plays the role of melodic, sometimes melancholic, anthropologist.

Tellingly, Mering classifies Titanic Rising as the Kinks meet WWII or Bob Seger meets Enya. The latter captures the album’s willful expansiveness (“You can tell there’s not a guy pulling the strings in Enya’s studio,” she notes, admiringly). The former relays her imperative to connect with listeners. “The clarity of Bob Seger is unmistakable. I’m a big fan of conversational songwriting,” she adds. “I just try to do that in a way that uses abstract imagery as well.”

“An album is like a Rubik’s Cube,” she says. “Sometimes you get all the dimensions—the lyrics, the melody, the production—to line up. I try to be futuristic and ancient at once, which is a difficult alchemy. It’s taken a lot of different tries to get it right.” As concept-album as it may sound, it’s also a devoted exercise in realism, albeit occasionally magical. Here, the throwback-cinema grandeur of “A Lot’s Gonna Change” gracefully coexists with the otherworldly title track, an ominous instrumental.

Titanic Rising, written and recorded during the first half of 2018, is the culmination of three albums and years of touring: stronger chops and ballsier decisions. It’s an achievement in transcendent vocals and levitating arrangements—one she could reach only by flying under the radar for so many years. “I used to want to belong,” says the L.A. based musician. “I realized I had to forge my own path. Nobody was going to do that for me. That was liberating. I became a Joan of Arc solo musician.”

The Weyes Blood frontwoman grew up singing in gospel and madrigal choirs. “Classical and Renaissance music really influenced me,” says Mering, who first picked up a guitar at age 8. (Listen closely to Titanic Rising, and you’ll also hear the jazz of Hoagy Carmichael mingle with the artful mysticism of Alejandro Jodorowsky and the monomyth of scholar Joseph Campbell.) “Something to Believe,” a confessional that makes judicious use of the slide guitar, touches on that cosmological upbringing. “Belief is something all humans need. Shared myths are part of our psychology and survival,” she says. “Now we have a weird mishmash of capitalism and movies and science. There have been moments where I felt very existential and lost.”

As a kid, she filled that void with Titanic. (Yes, the movie.) “It was engineered for little girls and had its own mythology,” she explains. Mering also noticed that the blockbuster romance actually offered a story about loss born of man’s hubris. “It’s so symbolic that The Titanic would crash into an iceberg, and now that iceberg is melting, sinking civilization.” Today, this hubris also extends to the relentless adoption of technology, at the expense of both happiness and attention spans.

The track “Movies” marks another Titanic-related epiphany, “that movies had been brainwashing people and their ideas about romantic love.” To that end, Mering has become an expert at deconstructing intimacy. Sweeping and string-laden, “Andromeda” seems engineered to fibrillate hearts. “It’s about losing your interest in trying to be in love,” she says. “Everybody is their own galaxy, their own separate entity. There is a feeling of needing to be saved, and that’s a lot to ask of people.” Its companion track, “Everyday,” “is about the chaos of modern dating,” she says, “the idea of sailing off onto your ships to nowhere to deal with all your baggage.”

But Weyes Blood isn’t one to stew. Her observations play out in an ethereal saunter: far more meditative than cynical. “I experience reality on a slower, more hypnotic level,” she says. “I’m a more contemplative kind of writer.” To Mering, listening and thinking are concurrent experiences. “There are complicated influences mixed in with more relatable nostalgic melodies,” she says. “In my mind my music feels so big, a true production. I’m not a huge, popular artist, but I feel like one when I’m in the studio. But it’s never taking away from the music. I’m just making a bigger space for myself.”

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released April 5, 2019

2019, 2019 Sub Pop Records

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Track Name: A Lot's Gonna Change
If I could go back to a time before now
Before I ever fell down
I’d go back to a time when I was just a girl
When I had the whole world
Gently wrapped around me

And no good thing could be taken away
If I still believed
That hearts don’t lie
You’re gonna be just fine

But hey
A lot’s gonna change in your lifetime
Try to leave it all behind
In your lifetime

Born in a century lost to memories
Falling trees
Get off your knees no one can keep you down
If your friends and your family sadly
Don’t stick around
Its high tide you’ll learn to get by

Cause you got what it takes
In your lifetime
Try to leave it all behind
In your lifetime

Let me change my words
Show me where it hurts
Track Name: Andromeda
Andromeda’s a big wide open galaxy
Nothing in it for me
‘cept my heart that’s lazy
Runnin’ from my own life now
I’m really turnin' some time
Lookin up to the sky for
Something I may never find

Stop calling
It’s time to let me be
If you think you can save me
I dare you to try

Lift the heart from the depths
Its fallen to
We all want something new
But can’t seem to follow through
Something’s better than nothing
Or so that I thought
Now I know it’s just one dream
All these others gonna tear me apart

Love is calling
It’s time to let it through
Find a love that will make you
I dare you to try

Treat me right I’m still
A good man’s daughter
Let me in if I break
And be quiet if I shatter
Gettin’ tired of looking
You know that I hate the game
Don’t wanna waste anymore time
You know I been holdin’ out

Love is calling
It’s time to give to you
Something you can hold onto
I dare you to try
Track Name: Everyday
Wake up baby it's gettin’ late now
Fell so hard like I always do
I’m so scared of being alone
It's true it's true
I see you everyday
But that’s not enough I got this seeker
Runnin’ along a lonely line
Always trying to make my keeper mine
It gets me everytime

And then again I might be fallen down

Sailin’ off on my ships to nowhere
Got a lot of things to clear away
Got a lot of years of bad love to make ok
It gets me everyday

And then again it might just be me
Then again love's not easy

I need a love everyday
I need

True love is making a comeback
For only half of us the rest just feel bad
Doomed to wonder in the world's first rodeo
You never let it show

The other night I was at a party
Someone sincerely looked at me
And said is this the end of all monogamy
And I said not today

Then again, you might be right
Then again sleep the night

I need a love everyday
I need

Lay down my guy
For a short time
Heart cannot see
My love is blind
Lay down
My guy
Track Name: Something to Believe
Drank a lot of coffee today
Got lost in the fray
I gave all I had for a time
Then by some strange design
I gotta case of the empties
The ruler of my world
A lost forgotten pearl
When fire leaves a girl
Too burned to try
My life
Living on the fault line

And at night I just lay down and cry
The waters don’t really
Go by me
Give me something I can see
Something bigger and louder
Than the voices in me
Something to believe

Didn’t always do it right
Might’ve left the heat on high
Didn’t know I had any left
Thought I finally met my death
Gonna do all I can
To stay away from the quicksand
Gonna do all I can

Nobody’s gonna love you the same way
Some of us go astray
I walked so far from them all
Instead of dropping the ball
I seem to carry so many
The colors don’t align
A question of time
I seem to lose what I find
Please give me a sign soon
Really wanna find out the truth

And at night I just lay down and cry
The waters don’t really go by me
Give me something I can see
Something bigger and louder than the
Voices in me
Something to believe
Something to believe
Track Name: Movies
This is how it feels to be in love
This is life from above
There’s no books anymore
I’m bound to that summer
Big box office hit
Making love to counterfeit
Why did so many
Get a rise out of me
I love the movies

Some people feel what some people don’t
Some people-watch until they explode
The meaning of life doesn’t seem to
Shine like that screen

Put me in a movie and everyone will know me
You’ll be the star you know you are

The movies I watched when I was a kid
The hopes and the dreams
Don’t give credit to the
Real things
I love the movies

I know the meaning
I know the story
I know the glory
I love movies

I wanna be in my
Own movie
I wanna be
I wanna be
The star of mine
Of my own, my own
Track Name: Mirror Forever
No one’s ever gonna give you a trophy
For all the pain and things you’ve been through
No one knows but you
Kinda crazy when you’re looking right through me
There’s something forceful
About your stare
Just say the word and baby
You know that I’ll be there
I’m not scared

And I see it so clearly
That we play hard
Yes we love our love
Most of all

But the timing’s spent
In this situation circumstance
I’ll see you around
The next time you come to town
I’ll see you around
The next time you call

You’re a demon with a scary picture
I’m a dreamer and
You’re a tiger
Got a feeling our romance
Doesn’t stand a chance
Stand a chance to last
You threw me out
Of the Garden of Eden
You lift me up just
To let me fall hard
Can’t stand being your second best

And I see it so clear
We play hard
Yes we love our love
Most of all
But the timing’s spent
In this situation circumstance
I’ll see you around
The next time you come to town
I’ll see you around
The next time you call
Oh baby take a look in the mirror
Oh baby take a look in the mirror
Oh baby take a look in the mirror
Oh baby take a look in the mirror

And I see it so clear
We play hard
Yes we love our love
Most of all
But the timing’s spent
In this situation circumstance
I’ll see you around
The next time you come to town
I’ll see you around
I’ll see you around
I’ll see you around
The next time you call
Track Name: Wild Time
There’s nothing left to keep
By the bottles that broke you
From the solace you seek
Didn’t know you were one in a million
Stuck inside the wall
I’m wonderin’ how we ever got here
With no fear we’d fall

Taking all of our eyes
Beauty
A machine thats working

Runnin’ on a million people tryin’
Don’t cry
It's a wild time
To be alive

Turn around it’s time for you
To slowly let these
Changes make you
More holy and true
Otherwise you just made it complicated
For nothing
One in all
A place for us to fall

Living in the rising tide
Our light
A feeling that’s moving

Runnin on a million people burnin’
Don’t cry
Its a wild time

It already happened
Nothing you want to change more
Heaven found
And the lights went down
Everyone’s broken now
And no one knows just how
We could have
All gotten so far
From truth

Lost and tangled up in you
Everyone knows
You just did what you had to
Burning much more than ever before
Burning down the door
It’s a wild time
Track Name: Picture Me Better
Picture me better
I finally found the time to write you this letter
To the stars and moon for you
And it’s coming back soon
Don’t need no money
When your around
And you’re making me act funny
Can’t help to smile
With those eyes you shine on me
If only you could see
You got it all in spades
Got a lot of dreams and songs to say
And hearts to break

Waiting for the call
From beyond
Waiting for something with meaning
To come through soon

Picture us better
We finally found
A winter for your sweater
Got a brand new
Big suit of armor, its tough
Since you left I’ve grown so much

If I could’ve seen you
Just once more
Tell you how much you’re adored
There’s not point anymore

Waiting for the call
From beyond
Waiting for something with meaning
To come through soon

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