An Exploration of Life and Love
When Front Row Seat to Earth begins, the listener might think that Carly Simon has released a new record and is performing under a new name. That voice, does not in fact belong to Simon, but instead is a product of Natalie Mering of the band Weyes Blood. On their fourth record, Mering explores topics of love, being an outsider and the question that never really goes away in anyone’s life: what is my purpose?
The start of the record catapults the listener into Mering’s uncertain world. The song “Diary” begins with Mering singing “I stand apart from the rest” before she questions “Where does my life go/Those close to me may know/I squandered my time.” Other tracks like “Do You Need My Love” and “Away Above” address topics of love. Lyrics like “I know that your love stings/Passion is the only thing/Passion must mean everything/I felt your body scream to be set free” on “Do You Need My Love” reveal unlikable qualities in Mering, but instead of shying away from them, she embraces her flaws. On “Above Away” she sings about her vulnerabilities, “Won’t you come meet me at night/I’ll bring your worst fears if you bring mine.” On “Generation Why” the listener hears her insecurities disappearing, before gently percolating back up on the song “Seven Words.”
A major strength of this record comes from the quietness of Mering’s voice. She sings about heart wrenching, relatable topics, but her delivery of the lyrics and the themes that she covers all while almost whispering prove to be the most haunting aspect of this album.
What Weyes Blood has created on this record is a genre of music that has not been heard in a few decades. Many have tried to reproduce it, but few have succeeded. Weyes Blood channels their best 1970s aesthetic, spearheaded by Mering’s vocals, and have created a record that is both timeless and powerful.