Weyes Blood — Titanic Rising ANALYSIS & REVIEW
This is an absolutely gorgeous work, through and through. I’m noticing that most modern day successes seem to have something in common: taking past songwriting styles that have had popularity and putting it through the lens of the present, be it in technical production, lyrical themes, or intended audience. This work does it very well, combining the melodious flow and harmonic flexibility found in the successes of a past generation with a timbral gaudiness and elegance that could’ve only been done today. All phases clicked without any noticeable holes to create one of the best albums of the year.
This album has lots of exquisite charm to it, starting with a melodic layer that was most always active, lively, fluid, and engaged with everything around it. Perhaps it may come across as a bit off-putting at first, given its immense freedom within the texture and the seemingly wayward directions, however over time it becomes clear that the melodic lines are really providing the perfect character of the sound. The moments of individual wandering are both charmingly appropriate (as it always stayed within the key) and met with crucial moments of converging with the underlying harmony, giving those points even more importance and beauty. The songs “Everyday” and “Something to Believe” are great examples of this.
Another great song is “Andromeda”, highlighted by its seemingly endless harmonic chain of closely related chords that tease and continually evade resolution, going through nearly every triad possible until finally a V-I at the downbeat of the chorus. While using consonant chords, it seems to follow a strict emotional pattern rather than a prescribed tonal one, which is a good goal to have for any songwriter. And then the song “Movies” just keeps your jaw dropped, pulling the listener through a gorgeous dark, soft, moving soundscape, expertly countering fast background arpeggios with the slow, stretched out vocal melody. Lots of great songwriting ideas here throughout the album that continuously work to shape this expansive, unique, yet familiar atmosphere. So gorgeous.
If I have one critique, it’s that the tempos were a little too homogenous throughout, and by the end it did feel a little slow. Lots of the music found beautiful expressivity and life in its presentation through the slow, graceful tempos, but that may have not been true all the way around, especially by the last couple of tracks. Of course, you don’t just speed up music for variety’s sake alone, however I feel as though the whole album didn’t quite need to be at such a leisurely pace, as there was perhaps some room to highlight some sort of growth or transition through tempo changes. One blip on an otherwise soothing, superb piece of music. Easily a top album of 2019.