Weyes Blood makes her long-awaited musical return with her newest single, “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody,” an ethereal soliloquy dedicated to the lost and lonely.
“It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody” – Weyes Blood
In a world rife with the consequences that have come as a result of insatiable ambition and cutthroat corporate greed, there is little we can do to fend off the omnipresent feeling of impending doom. We are expected to sit and deal with the consequences of others’ actions as they arrive — but even in the midst of all of this chaos, Weyes Blood has found a sense of peace in her newest single, “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody,” released Sept. 12, 2022.
The track is a six-minute glimpse into Weyes Blood’s (AKA Natalie Mering’s) upcoming record, And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow, due Nov. 18, 2022, via Sub Pop. Said record serves as the second installment of a trilogy begun by 2019’s Titanic Rising, marking the start of a brand new chapter for the singer/songwriter.
Sitting at this party
Wondering if anyone knows me
Really sees who I am
Oh, it’s been so long since I felt really known
Fragile in the morning
Can’t hold on to much of anything
With this hole in my hand
I can’t pretend that we always keep what we find
Oh yes, everybody splits apart sometimes
The world might be on fire, but Mering is feeling just fine, thank you very much — at least, that’s what she wants you to think. Instead of idly sitting in her existential dread, she chooses to embrace the hell-fire that is our current social, political and environmental state of affairs with a heart full of love; her optimism shining bright in the face of what seems like an onslaught of unavoidable catastrophe. Mering heavily employs the usage of fiery images and metaphors within And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow; fire and flame are so often associated with destruction and devastation, but for the musician, fire is a source of hope that illuminates the darkest moments. And thus, just like a phoenix, Mering is triumphantly reborn out of the ashes of tragedy, using her discography as a revitalizing message of hope.
As a bona-fide master of deciphering her deeply introspective nature, Mering’s tendency to revel in her own solitude has played an immense role in informing the music that she creates — this is no different within “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody.” The sheer vulnerability and devotion to her authentic expression of emotion reaches out to listeners, carving out a safe space for them to experience the full range of their emotions without shame.
Titanic Rising was the first album of three in the aforementioned trilogy of records, holding explicit commentary on the current state of the world and what emotions those circumstances brought upon the world. The record “was an observation of things to come, the feelings of impending doom,” she shares in a recent press release. And now, Mering is checking back in, evaluating how society is faring after years of turbulence have unfolded after Titanic Rising’s initial prophecy of doom.
And thus, And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow is about entering the phase, the one in which we all find ourselves today — we are literally in the thick of it; feeling around in the dark for meaning in a time of instability and irrevocable change, looking for embers where fire used to be, seeking freedom from algorithms and a destiny of repetitive loops. Information is abundant, and yet so abstract in its use and ability to provoke tangible actions. Our mediums of communication are fraught with caveats — our pains [are] an ironic joke born from a gridlocked panopticon of our own making, swirling into infinity.” In a more astute fashion than ever, Mering observes how one maintains their sanity when doomsday seems to be lurking right around the corner, taking notes on the ways humanity operates in the midst of chaos; conducting a close case study on the subject she knows best: herself.
Living in the wake of overwhelming changes
We’ve all become strangers
Even to ourselves
We just can’t help
We can’t see from far away
To know that every wave might not be the same
But it’s all a part of one big thing
The omnipresent threat of war, climate collapse and political unrest can really keep someone up at night. In a world where it seems as though there is no escape from news of constant hardship, it is easier than ever to feel isolated behind our screens. We desperately search for some form of company to help ease the heavy burden of ruminating within our own thoughts, yet continuously end up feeling even more alone. Mering confronts these experiences, capturing and recognizing this universal plight in “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody,” alluding to the fact that in “living in the wake of overwhelming changes, we’ve all become strangers, even to ourselves.”
Striking the perfect balance between upbeat baroque pop and serene psychedelic folk textures, the track’s underscoring instrumentals — a steady piano pulse and flowing synth arrangements — dutifully chug along, pushing Mering to persevere through every passing moment, no matter how arduous. The soundscape of the track is reminiscent of her earlier works, especially connecting back to leitmotifs on Titanic Rising; but Mering inserts new melodic nuance and textures, signifying that a stark inner change has come into play. A newfound confidence comes with this track — there is not so much philosophical dread of the future as there is a marked assurance of the beauty of her own humanity.
After two years of quarantine, life is quickly reassuming the normalcy that we knew pre-COVID. And while the pandemic created much pain and suffering, it simultaneously served as a time of unity. “Has a time ever been more revealing / That the people are hurting / Oh, it’s not just me / I guess it’s everybody / Yes, we all bleed the same way,” Mering points out. There is some comfort in knowing that you are not the only one suffering; during the pandemic it was more than apparent that we were all in the same boat, forced to struggle through this gargantuan obstacle together. Though, even after the world has opened back up, Mering is somewhat hesitant to jump right back into the fray of life — she instead takes the time to pause, asking herself: after two years of isolation, what does the world actually need to hear?
Mering asserts that the entire world is operating under the guise of a “fully functional shit show”; we might seem put together — and furthermore be required by society to have to seem put together — it is all a façade hiding the massive sense of unknowing the majority of us feel in our day-to-day lives. Luckily, Mering has formulated a surefire way to combat our inner unrest in “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody,” a vessel for meditative contemplation, and an unwavering repetition of the affirmation that while one might feel lonely, they are by no means alone.
In this life, there are no unique feelings; someone somewhere has felt the same way before — and sure enough, they have gotten through it. While these feelings are isolating by nature, Mering sees through all of the lies that her mind tells her, consoled by the fact that someone else out there has to be feeling the same way. She employs the use of a singular phrase to help remind her of this community connected by solitude: “Oh, it’s not just me, it’s not just me / It’s not just me, it’s everybody (Everybody)” — and makes sure to repeat this truth however many times it takes for it to be instilled within her mind. Mering is firm in her stance, but even so, whispers of uncertainty ruminate under the surface as she flip flops between acknowledging the outright pain of her feelings and rationalizing them. “I can’t pretend that we always keep what we find,” she notes, before continuing on with this addendum: “Oh yes, everybody splits apart sometimes.” Mering repeatedly catches herself right before she spirals into an abyss of self-consternation, choosing to accept, and furthermore, savor the lessons learned in this time of uncertainty.
Instead of staging a grand attempt to run from these feelings of dread, Mering sits in her anxieties with a marked relaxation. Chaos is, after all, just another part of the world’s natural order. Even though the present moment might seem like the end, she stresses: “We can’t see from far away to know that every wave might not be the same, but it’s all a part of one big thing.” The universe has a divine plan and, as cliche as it might sound, Mering insists that sometimes, all that there is left to do is trust in the process and let things naturally fall into order.
Mercy is the only
Cure for being so lonely
Has a time ever been more revealing
That the people are hurting
Oh, it’s not just me
I guess it’s everybody
Yes, we all bleed the same way
Mering has always had an affinity for infusing her deep melancholy with hints of optimism — a tendency that is ubiquitous within this track. Mering easily taps into the idea of the universality of these human emotions, asserting that we are all connected by one thing: our hearts. She affirms: “I see the heart as a guide, with an emanation of hope, shining through in this dark age”; instead of choosing to accept defeat with a broken will to continue on, Mering pushes forward, guided by the sheer strength within her soul. And while Mering remains hopeful, her positive outlook is firmly rooted in reality — cautious optimism is the name of the game, and Mering has learned to keep her cards close to her chest, playing them wisely by listening to her instincts and taking whatever time she feels is needed to properly recuperate. In this case, whimsical escapism is the worst enemy — hours spent dwelling in a place of hypotheticals and ‘what-ifs’ cause us to lose sight of the truth. One must instead ground themselves in reality, recognizing that there is temple truth in the saying that the answer lies within.
Humanity is so drawn to searching the external world for answers, that we often lose sight of the fact that we ourselves can provide answers to our own queries. “We encourage each other to aspire — to reach for the external to quell our desires, thinking goals of wellness and bliss will alleviate the baseline anxiety of living in a time like ours,” she describes. “We think the answer is outside ourselves, through technology, imaginary frontiers that will magically absolve us of all our problems. We look everywhere but in ourselves for a salve.” We become so stuck in our bubbles of deep introspection that we lose sight of those around us, surrendering our knowledge of the fact that our shared experiences are what make all of us human.
Mering’s will is “forged in fire,” burning brighter with every passing moment.
“It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody” is a testament to the sheer strength of the human psyche, a homing beacon that reaches out to guide all of those who are lost back home. And thus, maybe — just maybe — Mering is right: it’s finally time to embrace the fire and simply let ourselves burn.
“It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody” – Weyes Blood
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📸 © Neil Krug
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