As Weyes Blood, Natalie Mering’s music has evolved from medieval psychedelia (2011’s The Outside Room) to disenfranchised Americana (2014’s The Innocents) to doomsday folk (2016’s Front Row Seat to Earth). Her latest and best record yet, Titanic Rising—which she has described as “the Kinks meet WWII or Bob Seger meets Enya”—ruminates on the struggle to find love and meaning in this bizarre moment in history.
On the frantic “Everyday,” Mering channels Carole King as she sings about her fear of being alone in the brutal age of left swipes, while the slide guitar on “Andromeda” makes her sound like an extraterrestrial cowboy navigating the vast and lonely cosmos. (It also includes some magnificent sardonicism, with lines like “Treat me right/I’m still a good man’s daughter.”) Finger-snaps spoil the otherwise brooding “Mirror Forever,” but that’s essentially the record’s only weak moment.
And although Mering perfectly illustrates all the big, lost feelings that can surface when drinking too much coffee sends you into a full-on existential spiral, the album’s standout track, “Something to Believe,” still feels bright and hopeful. Her voice sounds more powerful than ever, reverberating with hair-raising intensity, and her lyrics continue to hit me right in the heart: “Give me something I can see/Something bigger and louder than the voices in me.”
Like the title suggests, Titanic Rising is fantastical and cinematic, but even as she’s forecasting total destruction, Mering is able to find beauty and goodness in herself, others, and this strange planet. “I hope you could have a smile during the apocalypse and be grateful for whatever conditions exist,” she recently told Pitchfork, “because life is a beautiful thing.”