The RX is Uproxx Music’s stamp of approval for the best albums, songs, and music stories throughout the year. Inclusion in this category is the highest distinction we can bestow, and signals the most important music being released throughout the year. The RX is the music you need, right now.
The singer-songwriter Natalie Mering, who records and performs as Weyes Blood, presents herself on her album covers as a person from nowhere. On 2016’s Front Row Seat To Earth, her critical breakthrough and third album overall, she lays on what appears to be a beach set against a body of water and a mountain range that looks thoroughly alien, as if it were the planet that David Bowie escaped in The Man Who Fell To Earth. (It’s actually California’s eerie Salton Sea.) Mering’s latest effort, the stunning and career-best Titanic Rising, shows her floating ethereally in a childhood bedroom that has been completely submerged in water, sending her long, brown hair flowing upward like a character from Greek mythology, a figure perpetually stuck out of time.
But Mering is not from nowhere. She was born in Southern California, and then bounced around the country during her youth, settling for a time outside of Philadelphia, where she started writing songs as a teenager. Her parents were former musicians who found God and became born-again Christians, though Mering rebelled by watching The Kids In The Hall. This mix of religious fervor and absurdist surrealism subsequently informed her music.
As a songwriter, Mering’s specialty is writing classic ’70s AM pop melodies — the sort that Paul Williams or Burt Bacharach once composed for the Carpenters — and setting them to songs that ruminate on how technology has destroyed nearly everything essential to human life in the 21st century, from romantic love to the climate. The result is millennial-themed, new age-accented soft rock, in which the stoicism of Mering’s stirring voice plays against the conversational nature of the lyrics. In contrast with the exotic figure on her album covers, Mering is dryly funny in her songs, like the part in “Everyday,” a highlight from Titanic Rising, where she sings, “The other night I was at a party / someone sincerely looked at me / and said this is the end of monogamy / and I said not today.” It’s akin to Enya singing Tumblr posts.