In November 2022, Weyes Blood released new album And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow.
This album comes after a nearly four year wait since her breakout project Titanic Rising released in April of 2019. Since the release of Titanic Rising, Ms. Blood (whose birth name is Natalie Mering) has catapulted from a somewhat-lowkey figure in the indie sphere to one of the most celebrated artists to gain popularity within the past decade.
The obvious question after such a monumental release was: How does one follow it up? The anticipation for the follow-up grew exponentially as the years passed, with Instagram livestreams and AMAs taking place on Roblox (don’t ask me why) seeming to fill the gap of new music, at least temporarily. However, after many a tease of new material, Mering finally dropped the follow-up to Titanic Rising last year. With such intense and built-up anticipation, the expectations were set tremendously high for And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow … and somehow they were surpassed.
On the first listen, one immediately notices the similarities between this project and the previous album. The lush string arrangements and warm analog synthesizers of Titanic Rising seem to carry over to Hearts Aglow. The first song and lead single, “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody,” starts off soft, with quiet, yet driving drums and a minimal piano arrangement. Throughout its six-minute runtime, the track gradually builds until its explosive conclusion, with a grand string arrangement and hints of harps and flutes peppered throughout the song's outro.
However, on a track like “God Turn Me Into a Flower," Mering experiments with a more ambient approach to her songwriting. She enlisted the help of experimental electronic legend Daniel Lopatin (aka Oneohtrix Point Never) to turn the track into one of her most soaring and climactic pieces to date.
Mering provides the perfect balance between the familiar and unfamiliar on her latest project. She can still create melancholic anthems, shown in the song “Grapevine", but she’s also very willing to experiment and change up her sound. This is seen on the almost synthpop-adjacent sound of the song “Twin Flame."
Overall, And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow is a perfect reminder of why we should keep paying attention to the work of Natalie Mering. She knows how to craft the perfect pop song, but she also knows how to augment that formula to create something entirely new and unique.