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Front Row Seat to Earth

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Album Review

Front Row Seat to Earth is Weyes Blood's second full-length album for Mexican Summer, following 2014's brilliant The Innocents. As with that album, here singer/songwriter Natalie Mering continues to refine her psychedelic folk-pop sound, placing less of an emphasis on experimentation and spotlighting her stunning voice and introspective, poetic lyrics. The album was co-produced by Mering and Chris Cohen, and like his solo albums on Captured Tracks, it nods toward vintage soft rock production, managing to sound highly detailed and sophisticated yet relaxed. This is Mering's most direct-sounding album by far — the grandiose, billowing arrangements and echo-drenched tape manipulations present on previous Weyes Blood albums are largely absent here. It's still somewhat spacy and ethereal, but it sounds significantly less trippy. It's not stripped-down or minimalist, however; the songs slowly unfold and bloom with lush keyboards and horns, and they often flow past the five-minute mark. The songs all keep to a calm, unhurried pace, but stand-out "Do You Need My Love" has a slightly busier rhythm, driven into a hypnotic midsection by impressive drumming and Lennon-esque pianos. Mering's singing has never sounded lovelier or more pristine than it does here, and her yearning lyrics are at the forefront of these elegant compositions. The lyrics are generally about the uneasiness of change and facing one's fears — "Away Above" contains the lyric "I'll bring your worst fears if you bring mine." Mering laments heartbreak and hesitantly looks toward the future — on another of the album's highlights, "Generation Why," she sings "It's not the past that scares me/Now what a great future this is gonna be." The album concludes with "Front Row Seat," a brief collage of distant pianos, eerie strings, and operatic vocals which hearkens back to Mering's more abstract earlier work.

Customer Reviews

Tough to Review

On the one hand her voice is totally beautiful, so great in fact, that it pulls you out to make you realize that this is what a real “woman’s” voice sings like, while all the feminine voices on the radio are just little girls singing obnoxiously with angst, or trying too hard to force a low sultry Lana Del Ray voice. This is the real deal. So pure and clean and powerful. Sounds like effortless perfect singing, in the style of Joni Mitchell at her best.

On the Other hand, the sound is very well mixed, BUT, the notes and chords are so basic and generic that it becomes distracting how simple the music accompaniments are. Most instrumentals on the songs are just the most basic scales and arpeggios that hundreds of other songs have used. There’s no reason the instrumentation should be so lazy and simplistic for an artist this talented. She needs to get real musicians orchestrating the sound to play to her voice to give her songs a vibe more authentic and original.

Hard to review, because she’s an AMAZING singer, with very mediocre music backing her


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Multi-instrumentalist Natalie Mering cut her teeth in the world of noise and experimental rock, playing bass in Portland-based freak rock collective Jackie-O Motherfucker for a time before venturing out solo around 2006. Originally billing herself as Weyes Bluhd, Mering's earliest releases arrived in the form of limited-edition cassettes, a great testing ground for her darkly folky songs that twisted around noisy, electronic undercurrents. Weyes Bluhd embarked on several tours, including a European...
Full Bio
Front Row Seat to Earth, Weyes Blood
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Customer Ratings