And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow Weyes Blood
Label: Sub Pop Records
Subgenre: Folk Rock
Artist: Weyes Blood
Album including Album cover
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- 1It's Not Just Me, It's Everybody06:16
- 2Children of the Empire06:03
- 4God Turn Me Into a Flower06:25
- 5Hearts Aglow05:49
- 6And in the Darkness00:14
- 7Twin Flame04:22
- 8In Holy Flux01:47
- 9The Worst Is Done06:00
- 10A Given Thing04:01
Info for And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow
Well, here we are! Still making it all happen in our very own, fully functional shit show. My heart, like a glow stick that’s been cracked, lights up my chest in a little explosion of earnestness. And when your heart's on fire, smoke gets in your eyes.
Titanic Rising was the first album of three in a special trilogy. It was an observation of things to come, the feelings of impending doom. And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow is about entering the next phase, the one in which we all find ourselves today — we are literally in the thick of it. Feeling around in the dark for meaning in a time of instability and irrevocable change. Looking for embers where fire used to be. Seeking freedom from algorithms and a destiny of repetitive loops. Information is abundant, and yet so abstract in its use and ability to provoke tangible actions. Our mediums of communication are fraught with caveats. Our pain, an ironic joke born from a gridlocked panopticon of our own making, swirling on into infinity.
I was asking a lot of questions while writing these songs, and hyper isolation kept coming up for me. “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody” is a Buddhist anthem, ensconced in the interconnectivity of all beings, and the fraying of our social fabric. Our culture relies less and less on people. This breeds a new, unprecedented level of isolation. The promise we can buy our way out of that emptiness offers little comfort in the face of fear we all now live with – the fear of becoming obsolete. Something is off, and even though the feeling appears differently for each individual, it is universal.
Technology is harvesting our attention away from each other. We all have a “Grapevine” entwined around our past with unresolved wounds and pain. Being in love doesn’t necessarily mean being together. Why else do so many love songs yearn for a connection?
Could it be narcissism? We encourage each other to aspire – to reach for the external to quell our desires, thinking goals of wellness and bliss will alleviate the baseline anxiety of living in a time like ours. We think the answer is outside ourselves, through technology, imaginary frontiers that will magically absolve us of all our problems. We look everywhere but in ourselves for a salve. In “God Turn Me into a Flower,” I relay the myth of Narcissus, whose obsession with a reflection in a pool leads him to starve and lose all perception outside his infatuation. In a state of great hubris, he doesn’t recognize that the thing he so passionately desired was ultimately just himself. God turns him into a pliable flower who sways with the universe.
The pliable softness of a flower has become my mantra as we barrel on towards an uncertain fate. I see the heart as a guide, with an emanation of hope, shining through in this dark age. Somewhere along the line, we lost the plot on who we are. Chaos is natural. But so is negentropy, or the tendency for things to fall into order. These songs may not be manifestos or solutions, but I know they shed light on the meaning of our contemporary disillusionment. And maybe that’s the beginning of the nuanced journey towards understanding the natural cycles of life and death, all over again.
Natalie Mering (aka Weyes Blood)
The phantom zone, the parallax, the upside down—there is a rich cultural history of exploring in-between places. Through her latest, Titanic Rising (out April 5, 2019 on Sub Pop Records), 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.”
This album contains no booklet.