Plugging into the Music that Matters

Review: Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow

One of the first big releases of 2019, Declan O’Dwyer dissects Sharon Van Etten’s Remind Me Tomorrow.

Sharon Van Etten
Sharon Van Etten is back with her first new album in five years, Remind Me Tomorrow.

Remind Me Tomorrow is the fifth studio album by Brooklyn resident, Sharon Van Etten. It’s been five years since Are we There, her last record. That’s not to say she has been inactive in that period. In 2016 she scored the movie Strange Weather which starred Holly Hunter.

She also has a budding acting career, featuring on the OA an original Netflix series, as well as appearing on an episode of Twin Peaks, albeit in a cameo role performing a song on a stage. On top of all of this, she gave birth to her first child in 2017.

She has built her reputation steadily after each subsequent release, to an extent where it is fair to say that this is her most anticipated release to date.

Sharon Van Etten on Netflix original, The OA.
Sharon Van Etten featured “on the OA an original Netflix series, as well as appearing on an episode of Twin Peaks…

The intro to the opening track ‘I Told You Everything’ is piano led as the one single key repeats itself, creating a dark mood that accompanies the lyrics:

Sitting at the bar, I told you everything…you said, “holy shit, you almost died”… sharing a shot, you held my hand… knowing everything, knowing everything, we cried… I told you everything about everything…

This builds a tension as one is left to wonder what did she tell that person? The tempo of the music changes for the second verse as a drum sound is introduced and the music has a lighter tone, although the lyrics continue in a similar vein while actually revealing nothing about what her secret is. To be fair if she told him or her everything, that would be hard to fit in to the lyrics of a single song. In the final verse the music returns to its original piano let sound and the lyrics inform us that we will be none the wiser to her predicament.

On the next track ‘No One’s Easy To Love’, there is a definite change tonally as electronica is used throughout while lyrically she sings of a couples failed relationship and the failure of one person to move on.

More sonic landscapes are to the fore on ‘Memorial Day’. ‘Comeback Kid’ was released as a single last December with a good reason, as it is one of the catchier numbers on the album and the one most likely to be heard in a club.

Like ‘Comeback Kid’, the track ‘Seventeen’ has already been released as a single and like the aforementioned track, is more of a pop song in the traditional sense. Vocally, it showcases Van Etten at her strongest and most varied. Another one that could challenge the first single of the record as her best chance of a huge international hit. ‘Your Shadow’ could be a nasty put down song of someone refusing to get the hint, or maybe it’s a song about self-doubt?

You ain’t nothing, you never won… you ain’t nothing, you never done… nothing, no… you don’t do nothing I don’t do, you shadow…

The closing track stay is obviously an ode to her first born child:

Have you all my lifetime… kinda hard to make light… imagining when you were inside… when you made those kicks at night…

This is another strong piece of work by Sharon Van Etten. It has two tracks that will probably join ‘Every Time the Sun Comes Up’ as festival favourites.

The fact that she embraces electronica on this record in comparison to her acoustic-dominated work in the past was a brave move that has paid off.

Although it is an enjoyable album with no real weak tracks. I still won’t be giving it a modern day classic rating. I feel it is a couple strong tracks short of that.

Remind Me Tomorrow, the new album from Sharon Van Etten is out now.
Remind Me Tomorrow, the new album from Sharon Van Etten is out now.

Tracks worth putting on repeat: ‘Seventeen’, ‘Comeback Kid’ and ‘No One’s Easy to Love

Verdict: 7/10

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