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Albums Of The Week: Weyes Blood | And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow

The singer-songwriter seeks meaning in the chaos on the followup to Titanic Rising.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Technological agitation. Narcissism fatigue. A galaxy of isolation. These are the new norms keeping Weyes Blood (aka Natalie Mering) up at night and the themes at the heart of her latest release, And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow.

The celestial-influenced folk album is her followup to the acclaimed Titanic Rising. While its predecessor was an observation of doom to come, And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow is about being in the thick of it: A search for an escape hatch to liberate us from algorithms and ideological chaos.

Says Mering: “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.”