Review Summary: I just want to be alone today and do whatever the fuck I feel like.
Let’s get this out of the way right now. You don’t go from a cute little fashion model making quirky indie pop to a mainstream media darling to an independent artist with a snow-white mohawk emerging from a crystal cocoon without some bad shit happening along the way. Throughout the press release (and TZIA
itself) this transformation is discussed repeatedly through tales of empowerment, forgiveness, anger, self-doubt, and re-birth. If TZIA
is any indication, though, this transition from indie-pop fashion model to self-proclaimed ethereal 5-D rock goddess was not a smooth one. TZIA
is a hectic collection of ideas and sounds that lurches from one element to the next with only the slightest hint of focus. It’s an eccentric collection of alternative, indie, pop, and electronic over which Meg Myers approaches each song with an unfettered enthusiasm and ‘anything goes’ attitude. For fans of radio-friendly pop, and even of Meg Myers’ previous releases, TZIA
will be rough at first as the many sounds, styles, themes and emotions often hit jarringly — but there is enjoyment to be found throughout TZIA
for those willing to stick with it.
For better or worse, TZIA
is the sound of a free Meg Myers performing however she wants over whatever she wants about whatever she wants without fear or interference. Basically, TZIA
is an album of dichotomies both musically and lyrically. She’s abrasive in her vulnerability, she’s quirky and off-kilter yet completely serious about the subject matter, she’s angry yet optimistic, and while she doesn’t seem to trust people, she does want to help them. Musically, most the songs never allow any significant level of comfort and they’re rarely predictable. Instead, they engage in a lurching start/stop style with abrasive electronics, pop melodies, random sounds and tempo shifts, and an alternative rock undercurrent. Even at its poppiest, the music rarely settles down long enough to ever catch a groove; and neither does Meg Myers. Meg delivers a schizophrenic array of vocal techniques, from a compressed higher pitched delivery, to jarring blink-and-you-miss-them shouts, to an awkward deeper style, and even a warbling style that almost sounds like a half-hearted yodel (in addition to her more traditional vocal styles).
All these elements are used to expound upon her four-year journey of, “healing, existential awakening, transformation, and rebirth,” and it clearly wasn’t a smooth process. Instead of the easily consumable themes found on her previous releases, she hits upon some of the major events leading up to her life-change in a very blunt and direct manner without grace or nuance. The electronic rock of “Ovaries Speak” hits upon her being expected to diminish herself for her relationships, “His kiss was poor, but I felt forced to calm him down, never mind me, just calm down, I’m making myself weak, I must confess I felt it coming, the smell of sex, just give a little to help him out, don’t mind me.” Elsewhere, she hits on the state of our society singing, “Abusing our freewill, ruling with prejudice beliefs, peaceful protests, instigated rioting, this system must evolve for god’s sake…and there will be no violence or fear of the police, No one will be silenced, a new society.” Fitting in perfectly with her theme, she also covers Linkin Park’s “Numb”. Instead of the energy of the original, Meg’s version is super chill using deep breaths and exhaled sighs to augment the electronic beat (seriously), and just as it sounds like it might pick up it simply ends abruptly.
I asked my wife to take a listen to this since she’s the actual pop connoisseur (and a fan of Meg Myers’ first two releases) just to see what a casual fan might think. Her issue with TZIA
is that it wasn’t ‘smooth’. The music doesn’t grab you like it ‘should’ because it can’t seem to pick a direction, often dropping a myriad of sounds and styles virtually ensuring you can never fully zone out to the beat, and Meg’s new penchant for awkward vocal experimentation makes it tough to easily feel the hook. While this is all true, and it often feels like she might just be throwing ideas at the wall to see what sticks, fortunately most of it does. She hits everything from lo-fi ballads backed almost entirely by stringed instruments to straight-forward guitar-driven indie rock. In between, Meg Myers delivers a collection of visceral pop where she keeps the listener on edge with her lyrics as well as the varied vocal styles she fits into each song… and her more abrasive eccentricities do seem to temper themselves for the final third of the album.
is a mess. It’s a hodgepodge of ideas, sounds, and styles that seems to lack much cohesion, even within individual tracks. It’s the chaotic soundtrack of someone in the middle of finding themselves, left alone to document that experience however they see fit. In hindsight, it shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that someone doesn’t simply go from a quirky indie pop artist to a mainstream icon to an independent ethereal 5-D rock goddess TZIA
gracefully – and this is the auditory story of that transition. TZIA
is an eclectic collection of ideas and sounds, seeming to move from one element to the next with only the slightest indications of an actual plan. It’s an eccentric collection of alternative, indie, pop, and electronic over which Meg Myers approaches each song with an unfettered enthusiasm and ‘anything goes’ attitude. Like standing next to a dumpster fire of potpourri, incense, and hallucinogens; listening to TZIA
is going to be an experience that isn’t 100% pleasant, and things are definitely bound to get a little strange, but if you stick with it, you may just find yourself enjoying the experience.