Throwback indie pop is nothing new. We’ve all heard the nostalgia-dripped echoes of genres such as chillwave, or the anachronistic efforts of bands such as Foxygen, trying to regain some sense of an era that is long gone. This is also what one may think at first of the music of one Natalie Mering.
Her voice, angelical as expected, and the songs’ chord progressions, as pastoral as her Christian upbringing, can cause conflict in some, but rest assured, she is rising above all of it.
Her fourth album and first for big-name indie label Sub Pop Records is called “Titanic Rising” and already has two singles out, both of which show how a bigger budget and a more focused career path can trigger a gigantic musical evolution. Both of these singles tease toward a kind of futuristic homage to the psychedelic music of yore, but also incorporate modern tools, creating new atmospheres that rise above the aesthetic limitations of the music Mering is trying to replicate and into the sensations she’s trying to make you feel.
The album is called “Titanic Rising” due to Mering’s own obsession with one of her favorite comfort movies as a young person, the titular Titanic. Commenting on the story’s fabulous tale and its relativity for a young girl, she uses the story as a metaphor for debunking personal mythologies and coming into focus with the world at hand. First single “Andromeda” is more about making a conscious choice of allowing yourself to fall in love than to just merely fall into the trap as an act of naivety and second single “Everyday” is probably one of the most upbeat songs Mering has ever crafted, and goes to show what production value can entail once a set of goals can ultimately be achieved.
The video for “Everyday” goes to show just how Mering’s vision affects every step and decision in the process, as it was fully directed by her and retains her pitch-perfect recreation of 1970’s aesthetic, adding a horror movie element to a decontextualized, but ultimately blissful song that details the trappings of needing love from another one and not necessarily being able to receive it.
The heart of this story, though, really lies on how Mering could be steps away from becoming one of the most important artists in the genre, should Titanic Rising rise up to expectations, so to speak. Not only her recent guest spots with Father John Misty, Drugdealer, Perfume Genius and Ariel Pink show a glorious starpower that could potentially grow into a blossoming career, but her songwriting focus seems to be on point and her production and aesthetic skills are elevating her above her peers. From the already-iconic and tricky album cover to the spring-evoking sounds of the songs that have been released, “Titanic Rising” is certainly one of the year’s most anticipated records and one that could land on more than a few best-of lists by December.