Weyes Blood - And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow Music Album Reviews

Weyes Blood - And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow Music Album Reviews
Natalie Mering’s majestic fifth record is a dispatch from the center of catastrophe—an idiosyncratic set of love songs and secular hymns with lushly orchestral arrangements.

“It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody” starts small: just Natalie Mering’s voice and piano, and a line about feeling alone at a party. Within a verse or so, its scope has widened to encompass something like the human condition itself. Mering’s narrator wonders whether any of her fellow partygoers really know her, whether they can see her for who she truly is. As the arrangement slowly gathers layers of woodwinds and strings, she realizes that her very isolation may hold the key to the connection she seeks. Perhaps everyone feels just as alone and unseen as she does; if so, they can at least be together in their aloneness. “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody,” like the album it opens, isn’t coy about what it’s trying to convey. When Mering reaches the crux of her revelation, she doesn’t dress it up with figurative language: “Mercy is the only cure for being so lonely.”

Mering has said that And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow, her fifth album as Weyes Blood, is the second chapter in a trilogy that began with 2019’s spectacular Titanic Rising. In her telling, that album was a foretelling of catastrophe, and its follow-up is a dispatch from the center of it. Titanic Rising, for all its thematic weight, had the snappy exuberance of classic pop; And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow is more like a collection of secular hymns. The rhythms are stately and unsyncopated. The arrangements are lushly orchestral. The songs are mostly around six minutes long, proceeding at the unhurried pace of guided meditations. And, perhaps owing to the sense of communion-via-solitude espoused in the first track, the lyrics are concerned with “we” nearly as often as they are with “I”: “We’re all lost,” “We don’t have time anymore to be afraid,” “We are more than our disguises/We are more than just the pain.”

The album is at its best when Mering roots these universal observations in her perspective as an individual, whether via an unusual chord change or a finely textured image, like the lamplit campsite that appears in the chorus of “Grapevine,” or the boardwalk Ferris wheel that provides the setting for “Hearts Aglow.” Those are both love songs: not love in the sense of a benevolent force that binds together all living things, but love in the sense of a burning connection between two people. And though And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow more overtly concerns itself with the former kind of love, it is frank and perceptive about the latter, both its power and its limits.

In “Grapevine,” a fraught romance makes Mering distant from herself, furthering the sort of alienation she seems determined to transcend. In “Hearts Aglow,” a night out with a beloved is enough to stave off the creeping dread of a world in collapse, at least temporarily. “Might be the moon or the cotton candy/Or he might be a man who actually understands me,” she sings over a Phil Spector-ish slow-dance pulse as backing vocalists swirl behind her. But even in her bliss, she submits to uncertainty: “Rising over the tide/Oh hold me tight/But I’m scared I might fall/Just like the water below/You don’t get to know/If your love has all/It’s gonna take.”

Even when Mering is addressing humanity more broadly, her idiosyncrasies as a writer and a performer keep the music personal and alive. There is her extraordinary voice, so poised and precise that small deviations—an unexpected blue note, or a measured break into a slightly higher register—convey depths of feeling that would require much more demonstrative emoting from other singers. And there is her way of letting the shape of a composition flow from its subject matter, rather than relying on established forms to dictate what goes inside them. The album’s most striking song in this regard is “God Turn Me Into a Flower,” which extolls softness and pliability as strengths rather than weaknesses in a way that reminds me both of Sheila Heti’s novel Pure Colour, whose narrator deals with grief over her father’s death by turning into a leaf, and of Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker, whose protagonist asserts that “Hardness and strength are death’s companions. Flexibility and softness are the embodiment of life.” The music itself resists rigid structure, with synthesizer arpeggios, choral harmonies, and sampled birdsong all blooming along the arc of Mering’s intuition.

If a lesser artist were to attempt an album like And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow, they might come up with pablum. Its central theme—the search for connection among humans in an increasingly fractured world—is extremely pressing, so much so that it’s also sort of obvious. How do you say anything new or interesting about the water that all of us are swimming in every day? Like Sheila Heti, Mering does so by looking inward and outward at once: having faith that their own perspectives, rendered vividly and honestly enough, can reveal truths that extend far beyond themselves. And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow may aspire at times to address the whole world, but it begins with one woman alone at a party.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Weyes Blood - And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow Music Album Reviews Weyes Blood - And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on November 26, 2022 Rating: 5


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