Sharon Van Etten

Remind Me Tomorrow

Jagjaguwar

Jan 18, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


It's been five long, eventful years since Sharon Van Etten put out her magnificent, troubling, infinitely gorgeous Are We There, during which time the Brooklyn troubadour has ventured into both motherhood and television acting, while we've patiently waited for album number five from one of the more important songwriters and performers of the 21st century.

Remind Me Tomorrow was trailed by a magnificent, crazy-sad single "Comeback Kid" and it is around this stunning track that the album revolves. A strident stadium-ready anthem that shirks any pretence of Indie Guitar Rock(c), the darkness engendered by Van Etten's low-slung vocals and the arrangements of John Congleton (St. Vincent, Angel Olsen) conjures a pop presence previously lacking.

These are ballads, laments, tweaked into atmospheric, accessible and pitch-black pop music. Opener "I Told You Everything" sets the scene-a stark piano stab gives way to a bold vocal: "Sitting at the bar I told you everything/You said holy shit/You almost died." The electronica buzz and strict, sparking beats add yet another dimension to Van Etten's offering.

At times it's as ornate as a (recent) Bon Iver record (check the galactic "Jupiter 4" for evidence), while often it settles for simply being straight-out excellent, as on "Seventeen," which gives Springsteen a run for his money in terms of nostalgic beauty. It might be the best thing to which Van Etten has ever committed her name. The simplicity of "I used to be free/I used to be seventeen" is notable-one is tempted to dare anyone to write a more bold, perfect lyric this year.

"Your Shadow" rides a facsimile-organ wave and mesmeric lyric-"Follow me 'til you don't know where you are"-into electronic psych territory, showing yet another side to a truly multi-faceted record.

Remind Me Tomorrow stands comfortably alongside Van Etten's finest work but also, excitingly, quite aside from it. Van Etten continues to amaze, move and impress with every move. (www.sharonvanetten.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10



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