Martha Wainwright’s lyrical mastery shines in new album
Being the daughter of two musicians and the sister of the incredible artist Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright has taken these roots and created her own trail. A household in Canada has allowed her to broadened her ideas while being surrounded by those who love to create. This combination has allowed her to be the wildly talented artist that she is today. In her newest album, Love Will Be Reborn, Wainwright teams up with producer Pierre Marchand. Her powerful quiver sings the tunes of lost love and hope.
“I was never alone in the middle of the lake. I was always outside of my mind,” mysteriously leads people into the project on Wainwright’s first track, “Middle of the Lake.” The haunting words match dreary sounds coming from electric guitars and bass. As the song ages, a heavier rock atmosphere comes to the surface and continues with a full drum kit and multiple guitar sections. However, the harder, more mainstream feeling is never overpowered by the peculiar melodies Wainwright produces.
Beautifully whiny notes are paired with a honkytonk guitar for the intro of “Getting Older.” As the intro subsides, bass and percussion enter the scene to add a steadiness that contrasts Wainwright’s uninhibited vocal pirouettes. “Love Will Be Reborn” marks the title track, the lead single and the most beautiful song on the album. A heartbreaking harbor of smooth seas, Wainwright’s voice dances above the deadened waves that are the instruments. Though, this solemn hope is taken up a notch about a minute into the song when an alternative-sounding drum beat kicks in. What was a stunning melody has now been accompanied and adds a level of hope to lyrics reflecting the same idea.
Synth sounds that could belong to an alien dialect or a Michael Jackson intro catch the ear first in “Hole in My Heart.” The next thing is the dialogue subtly said by Wainwright: “My eyes were in the dark when I saw you.” Completely unexpectedly, electric guitars, a bass guitar and drums enter to provide a punky, poppy mashup of genres that accumulate to form a chart-ready jam.
Just like every other song on the album, “Sometimes” makes one think. “Sometimes, every once in a while, there’s a vision I want to appear.” Playful, light snares guide the questioning lyrics: “How long does this go on?” But, playing into the often-wishy-washy environment that heartbreak thrusts people into, Wainwright comes back around to say that “sometimes, every once in a while, I get the feeling that I just don’t care.” This particular track, lyrically, is a good way to get the message of the album in one song—post-love emotions are momentary but powerful.
“Rainbow” feels almost like watching a thriller movie. Twists come, and environments change; people, as the audience, can only sit there and pay attention. It begins with a haunting synth, a single guitar note played in succession and notes that hardly ever appear in classically Western music. A piano waits at the other side of 30 seconds filling in some of the gaps. Guitars and synths slip in and out, creating an uneasiness. But, after the tension and chaos of the intro, “Rainbow” graduates onto a groovy rock song that relieves whatever stress had been felt earlier in the song. The last track on the album is “Falaise de Malaise.” Entirely in French, it features only the piano with background strings every once in a while. While it won’t be the most popular song on the project, it does close the album out nicely.
Lyrically, Love Will Be Reborn is an absolute masterpiece. That’s not to say that production and writing were anything but terrific; however, the way that Wainwright can morph phrases and metaphors is unlike the vast majority of artists anywhere. Not only this, but turns in the lyrics themselves are often paired with turns in the instrumental. Wainwright, with the help of Marchand, put together a wonderfully introspective project.