Album covers convey a story. Take a moment and search Weyes Blood’s forthcoming release Titanic Rising. The cover depicts Weyes Blood’s Natalie Mering submerged underwater in what looks to be her childhood bedroom complete with the teddy bear, a retro laptop, and a wall covered in posters. The theme isn’t the most subtle, but Weyes Blood isn’t interested in subtlety, she wants her music to pack a punch: the albums main theme is climate change and the depletion of natural resources we’re all complicit in. Leave it to Weyes Blood to create such lush, vivid, and beautiful songs out of a despairing central theme.
The latest single, “Movies” was released a few days ago. It’s nearly six minutes. The song is a masterclass in delayed gratification: it shows how a song can build and build until it nearly explodes—that is, comes undone. After building for three and a half minutes with synths and Mering’s surging vocals, we get an eruption of cellos. The song expands as Mering belts “I wanna be in my own movie/I wanna be the star of mine.” The song is a complex study of Mering’s love/hate relationship with movies, how they are manipulative yet so influential to her personally.
In an interview with Stereogum, Mering said of the song: “We are enamored with Movies. Our generation is the most cinematically saturated of all time. Videotapes, DVD’s, streaming, Spielberg, all of it has thrust us into an endless loop of consumption. They provide formative experiences as children, standing larger than life before our fragile adolescent minds. I wanted to take a look into the emotionally manipulative powers of Movies – how have Movies succeeded in telling the myths of our time? How have they failed (miserably)? What is the consequent effect on a society of beings looking for themselves in the myths on the screen? It’s safe to say that they have failed us, but I can’t help it, I love Movies.” Mering’s song perfectly captures this contradiction of feelings.
With this single, along with “Everyday” and “Andromeda” the earlier singles from the album, Mering shows a lot of maturation from her 2016 release Front Row Seat to Earth. The melodies hit harder here, the chord changes are more ambitious, and the harmonies are always surprising, never stale.
The forthcoming album Titanic Rising is out April 5th on Sub Pop.
*Header photo by Kristyna Archer.