Sub Pop Records
Karen Carpenter is alive. And well. She’s survived. She has continued to sing with that voice – clear as a bell. She is the modern-day torch singer. She is a soothsayer connecting us to the ugly truths of this age, reminding us of the amazing opportunities in and around the daze. She’s now writing her own material and is pitching – perfectly – between Joni Mitchell and Father John Misty, both musically and more particularly lyrically. She is, in short, all things for all people. She is the greatest thing to happen, and then happen again in music.
That’s obviously not true. But it would be. Or now it can be – just replace the name Karen Carpenter with Weyes Blood.
Weyes Blood is Natalie Mering – she is an American singer/songwriter. She is 30. Titanic Rising is her fourth full length album. All of her releases have been excellent. Compelling. A couple of them brilliant. This is her masterpiece.
On opening track, A Lot’s Gonna Change, she is, as I imagined above, the Karen Carpenter of today. Ageless. Stunning. She is every bit the writer Father John Misty has shown himself to be, minus the smug, pleased-with-itself mugging. She is Joni Mitchell’s equivalent. But it’s less about heart on sleeve, more about soul, spirituality and philosophy being revealed.
To ruin the great one-liners in these songs would be like trying to retell a great comedian’s best moments or to plot-spoil an incredible novel.
But I will say that this is a close-listen album, the rewards are rich – and if it’s sombre in tone that’s the spirit of reflection I guess. I hear nothing but joy in this – in the way it sounds and in the heart and hope offered in these songs and the captured recordings of them. Everyday feels like some beamed-in collaboration between Heather Nova and George Harrison, and on Mirror Forever I feel notes of not only Nova but Annie Lennox and Tracey Thorn also.
Love is the theme that binds. Love in all its ethereality (the song Movies has an Enya-like yearning quality that emanates among the undulations of modular synths). True love, Mering tells us, is making a comeback.
There’s another incredible line about life not having the same shine as the screen – but I already promised to do my best not to spoil such moments. This record is full of them. Discover them or yourself.
I’m pretty sure I’ve just found 2019’s best record. Certainly it’s going to be one of the ones I’ll be listening to more than almost anything else.