Sharon Van Etten: epic Ten (Ba Da Bing) | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, November 30th, 2021  

Sharon Van Etten

epic Ten

Ba Da Bing

Apr 19, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Before she starred in the Netflix show The OA and became known as a jill of all trades, balancing a successful music career with acting, going to school for psychology, and starting a family, Sharon Van Etten was a Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter on the cusp of becoming an indie star but still years away from wider recognition.

For the 10th anniversary reissue of her breakthrough second LP epic (purposely stylized in lowercase), the original release is combined with interpretations by a diverse cavalcade of artists ranging from veterans like Lucinda Williams and Fiona Apple (who does an excellent version of album closer “Love More”) to younger artists like Courtney Barnett and Shamir, whose angelic version of “Dsharpg” is an absolute stunner and the highlight of the entire set.

British post-punk ragers IDLES’ aggro take on “Peace Signs” works surprisingly well as it’s the furthest away from the style of the original whereas most of the other covers don’t deviate quite as far afield. Still, they are, like most of the best covers albums, representative of each artist’s individual styles and not just copies of the original, giving fresh new takes on familiar, well-loved material.

As for the original release, it sounds as great now as it does back in 2011, the sound of a singer/songwriter honing her craft with a big voice, sharp pen, and an ear for instantly memorable tunes, one of which (“Don’t Do It”) was a minor hit on AAA radio at the time. Her first album to be recorded with a band, it also helped move her towards her current sound and away from her (albeit also terrific) spare, confessional, acoustic beginnings.

The reissue also features wonderful liner notes from Adrienne Lenker of Big Thief, who while not on this release, is yet another younger artist who was profoundly not only influenced but helped personally by Van Etten, known well for her kindness to fellow musicians, journalists, and just about anyone else she’s ever encountered. (www.sharonvanetten.com)

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