By Ian Bremner
Halfway through Sharon Van Etten’s new album, Remind Me Tomorrow, you are so engulfed in the weight and power of the music, that the Van Etten of old feels like a distant character of the past. It’s amazing how years of musical conditioning can turn on a dime, or in this case, 15 minutes. When 2014’s Are We There? came out, the slight synths and drum machines seemed like a major leap forward in sound at the time. Five years later, the intensity bar is raised to a whole new degree. The songs are a punch in the face. Each of the ten songs possess a pulsing dark underbelly; it’s pop music without the glamour.
On the surface, you wouldn’t think twice comparing Remind Me tomorrow to something you’d hear from Mark Lanegan, Patti Smith or the recent work of Nick Cave. It’s got the grit, passion and droning ambiance of all three. Any fan of Van Etten knows that has not always been the case, however. Like these legends, Van Etten has always drawn her listener into emotional states with great vividness. The amount of raw, dark power is the difference between Remind Me Tomorrow and her records of years past. The new sound comes from age, experience and straight from the heart. It’s a heart that has morphed into a student, actor, and most importantly, a mother since it’s last musical output.
With a piano intro, a slow build and atmospheric sounds, the first track, I Told You Everything, could very well have appeared on a previous Sharon Van Etten record. From there on out, it’s a whole new ballgame. By the time you get to the fourth track, the punchy single Comeback Kid, all preconceived notions are out the window. The album couldn’t be more different than her earlier releases like Tramp or Epic, but Remind Me Tomorrow is every bit as sincere and even more expressive.
It’s clear having a young son, a budding career outside of music has shifted her perspective on life. Art, being the by-product of both happiness and sadness, Sharon Van Etten now provides the soundtrack for both occasions.
Listen to Remind Me Tomorrow via spotify
Watch the video for Seventeen
Watch the video for Comeback Kid
Watch the video for Jupiter 4