“I’m not a God person, but I’m never not searching,” Madi Diaz sings in ‘God Person’, subtly revealing the M.O. of her sixth album, ‘Weird Faith’. It’s a record that finds her exploring themes of love and trust, her penetrative lyrics looking for new layers of connection both with others and within herself.
‘Weird Faith’ arrives three years after the Nashville-based artist scored her big breakthrough with ‘History Of A Feeling’. For the 14 years prior to that album, she’d been crafting brilliant but under-celebrated records. Finally, though, her moment arrived, and since she’s only gathered momentum – last year, she opened for Harry Styles on his European tour, shining a stadium-sized spotlight on her talent.
Thank god that overdue recognition arrived when it did because ‘Weird Faith’ is too good an album to fly under the radar. On it, Diaz shares stunning examples of what she does best – songwriting that makes you feel like you’re right in the middle of the scenes she creates with her pen. When she sings, “On the 9th of May I wrote it down / I found the journal when I was moving into your house / Big love, big love / Those are the words, it was gonna be big love,” on the sunny ‘Everything Almost’, you’re right there between half-unpacked moving boxes, getting distracted by leafing through old notebooks, heart full of hope.
On ‘God Person’ – heavenly in its minimalism – she sits in the back pew of a church, watching the congregation singing hymns with their eyes closed. “How does that happen? / Why is it beautiful?” she wonders. “Why is it magic and tragic? I don’t know.” As she sings, it feels like you’re sitting next to her, leaning in to hear whispered observations.
More than just an expert at writing visceral imagery, Diaz is overflowing with the ability to bottle all angles of experience. ‘Weird Faith’ centres around relationships and new beginnings, but rather than just capturing the giddy rush that comes in the early days of something fresh, she fills these songs with fears and trepidations, insecurities and overthinking. ‘Girlfriend’, which is formed around a handful of notes and Diaz’s voice, reaches out to her new boyfriend’s ex, simultaneously solid in her relationship and questioning where she stands. “He’s showing up; he puts me first,” she brags. “Not to fuck you up, but we’re so in love.” Moments later, she’s on shakier ground: “I wanna know exactly what the two of you had […] I wanna know if he still thinks of you like that.”
As the album progresses, so too does this relationship. On the shattering duet with Kacey Musgraves, she reckons with the feeling that, actually, this partnership isn’t serving her what she needs. One song later, on the melancholy twang and epic build of ‘For Months Now’, she’s slowly backing out of the door. “I’ve been leaving you for months now / I just haven’t found a way out,” she confesses. “I don’t love you like I used to / I just don’t know how to tell you.” Whether Diaz is writing about positive or negative feelings, she makes them all feel valuable, holding reverence for what each can teach us about ourselves, life and the world.
On the title track, she shares some of that wisdom she’s picked up along the way. “Every love brings a lesson, and you’re gonna be tested,” she sings. “So try to have a heart of gold and try to have weird faith.” With this album in the world, following that path just got a little bit easier.