Ah yes. Sharon Van Etten is back on the airwaves, I’m going to see her live in 2 months and that rash I thought I had turned out to be just smeared jam. Ah, life is good again.
Today’s album up for review is Van Etten’s latest record, Remind Me Tomorrow. For me, and many others whose reviews I’ve read, it’s the latest in what is a move towards a more upbeat sound with splashes of electropop. When you hear something like that, that an artist is making a move, the connotation is that the artist is progressing. I don’t know if that’s always the case though because at the end of the day, it depends on the listener. Van Etten’s debut studio album for example, Because I Was In Love, is a beautifully written and minimal in sound record. If she continued in that vain up until this point, most of us would be happy! Luckily for us Van Etten fans however, she has the ability to mix it up and continue to knock it out of the park with every release.
Listening to Remind Me Tomorrow, you get the feeling that you’re listening to an artist brimming with confidence. That wasn’t always the case however as Van Etten had come close to hanging up her proverbial dancing boots, taking up acting for a period and feeling as though she had fallen out of love with music. Thankfully however she has turned any doubts into an emotional, expansive album and possibly, depending who you ask, her best.
Prior to the album’s release 4 tracks were released, “Comeback Kid”, “Jupiter 4”, “Seventeen” and “You Shadow”. Admittedly, these are the 4 tracks that you might say immediately stand out. However, the rest of the album certainly shouldn’t be considered “filler”. With tracks like “Memorial Day”, “Malibu” and “Hands” Van Etten fuses the old with the new. With her writing ability never in doubt, she has managed to effortlessly adapt to a new direction, backing up her lyricism with electropop bangers (yes bangers!). What you might take away from this album is a subtle similarity between the sound of Van Etten and St. Vincent, but it’s nothing to fret about. John Congleton, a producer who has worked with St. Vincent produced Remind Me Tomorrow, giving it its electro edge in the process.
For me the standout track here is “Jupiter 4”. It’s got some late 70’s, early 80’s vibe to it, coasting along without collapsing into itself in a flurry of noise. Saying that I highly recommend this record is a little obvious, but why slate something great? If this is going to be your first Van Etten experience, don’t let it be your last.
Have a listen to “Seventeen” below.