If you assume from the title of Meg Myers' new album that she's taken a fun and frivolous turn, you'll be sorely mistaken. Thrilled, but very mistaken.
The superb "Take Me to the Disco" finds Myers angry, anguished, raw and obsessed with mortality. Take just three song titles from the rocker's sophomore album — "The Death of Me," ''Little Black Death" and "Funeral." Oblivion is never very far on the 12-track album. In "Tear Me to Pieces," she notes: "The rapture's trying to kill me." On "Done" she vows to "rip right through your beating heart."
As the Talking Heads might say, "This ain't no party, this ain't no disco/This ain't no fooling around."
Myers definitely isn't fooling around and there's no denying the woman's sheer talent, both as a songwriter and as a singer who can go from kittenish to face-melting in the same song.
"Take Me to the Disco" is Myers' first album since she left a major label to go independent following her excellent 2015 debut "Sorry," which drew comparisons to Alanis Morissette.
The corporate breakup inspired the independence anthem, "Numb," a grungy masterpiece. "You think you want the best for me," she sings. "But nothing really matters/If you force it, it won't come/I guess I'm feeling numb." It's the best kiss-off to a record company since Sara Bareilles' "Love Song."
Myers has turned to Christian "Leggy" Langdon to co-write nine of the songs and produce the album. He also adds vocals to "The Death of Me," which may remind some of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know." They've added a string section for six songs, which nicely add texture, especially on the dark Nine Inch Nails-like "Jealous Sea."
If Myers reminded some of Morissette on the last album, this one will recall Kate Bush, especially the standout "Tourniquet" and the moody "Some People," which conjures up a smoke-filled lake at night. Every song shows off an exciting artist, like on "Done," where you breathlessly wait for her to build to her roar.
"Little Black Death" might be the closest to a disco song Myers has on the new album — a techno banger with lyrics in the grave — but we didn't come to dance. We came to bow before a genuine rock goddess.