by Weyes Blood
Released November 18, 2022 via Sub Pop
Reviewed December 6, 2022
Top tracks (based on community voting)
God turn Me Into a Flower (48%), It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody (45%), Grapevine (41%)
As a sequel to 2019’s Titanic Rising—and the second of a yet-to-be-finished trilogy—Weyes Blood (Natalie Mering) gets just about everything right on And In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow. Titanic Rising was ambitious in its own right, illustrating beauty and creating serenity while staring down the face of doom.
As we move into the second chapter, Weyes Blood continues down a similar path and celebrates newfound optimism inside a collection of beautiful, sprawling baroque pop songs. The production is lush, soothing, and simply astounding throughout. Dreamy ambience, soft but powerful piano work, and beautiful string sections make for some of the most beautiful arrangements of 2022. These instrumentals come with a touch of melancholy, but Mering’s voice lends an almost mother-like comfort as she takes the role of our guide.
Confronting the darkness and embracing it, Mering’s path never leads you astray from the light. Ruminating on self-doubt, shame, and inner turmoil while simultaneously grappling with what feels like looming societal collapse can envelope even the strongest of us into a cycle of hopelessness.
The day-to-day struggle can feel so insignificant in the grand scheme of things. And yet, the same struggles can mean everything to us. The light lies beyond the struggle, but the darkness is much more within reach. Isolation can offer the comfort we seek, but it often pushes us further down. As Mering’s first post-pandemic record, it’s clear that periods of forced isolation have exacerbated her own fear of loneliness—a fear that almost everyone shares.
Within darkness, within isolation, and within yourself is where you will find the way out. And In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow finds beauty within the pain. Mering has such amazing talent as a songwriter and a vocalist, drawing upon her own experiences and her own self-reflection to create a magnificent collection of songs that have the capability to resonate with nearly anyone. Yet, these songs feel deeply personal and intimate, as if they were made specifically for the listener to call upon in their time of need.
It’s the light that shines when you need it most. And it is another masterpiece put forth by Weyes Blood. – Dominick (9/10)
DeVán: 9/10 | Dominick: 9/10 | Jared: 8.5/10 | Cam: 8.3/10
It's like Weyes Blood can only make beautiful music – @andresb651 (9/10)
Not quite as stunning as Titanic Rising, but Hearts Aglow is admirable as Weyes Blood manages to take on new sounds whilst keeping her extraordinary songwriting and cohesive attention to detail. – @andre_vital_pardue (8.7/10)