This year I’ve started digging through those solo artists you keep hearing about but just never seem to hear. Sharon Van Etten was one of these and her recent album Are We There was a folk treat to hear.
“Taking Chances” seems a light minimalist song tinged with keys and light percussion, with a mystical quality floating throughout. But it’s chorus opens up the magical pit with echo and distortion making the song hypnotic and allowing Etten to put you in a trance. “Our Love” is the lyrically depressing tale of a bad relationship that despite all it’s fault is all they’ve got. The song pulls of the minimalist feel again and has some really interestingly toned guitars and great percussion.
“Every Time The Sun Comes Up” is the tired tale of someone who just can’t get it right but the song is beautifully sad to match. The vocals feel pained and tired and the instrumentation is bright yet final feeling, matching this tired feel. The group shouting of the chorus line gives it anthemic feel to score the lives of the lost.
Lastly is “Warsaw” from her third album Tramp, to give you a retrospective taste. It’s a powerful and driving song, with thumping drums, a chugging tambourine (emulating a train with the guitar), and a guitar that sounds like it’s crying in pain.