Indie Scene: Sharon Van Etten

by Gary Smith

Sharon Van Etten has only been on the indie radar since 2009 when she released her debut album, “Because I Was in Love.” Since then she has  become more and more popular, especially in the independent music community.

            Her third album was just released on Jagjaguwar records, and it was produced by Aaron Dessner of The National. It is a phenomenal album. The album is crafted so that it is reminiscent of reading entries in a diary, very personal and very emotional. Her songs are about love and heartbreak, something everyone is familiar with.

            When she sings, “You’re the reason why I’ll move to the city, you’re why I’ll need to leave,” on “Give Out” you can just feel the emotion running through the words, you feel for her.

            “Tramp” is full of lyrics like that. With songs like “Serpents” and “Leonard” you can tell she has gone through something that hurt her, and that is why I think this album is so good; anyone can relate to these songs, whether you have gone through heart break or not.

            What is especially refreshing about “Tramp” is that while the songs are sad, the instrumentation accompanying the lyrics really aren’t.

            The album features a duet with Zach Condon from Beirut, “We are Fine.” It is the highlight of the album for me. It also features contributions from members of the Walkmen, Wye Oak and Jullianna Barwick.

            The only fault on the album, for me, is the song “ Magic Chords,” but how many albums don’t have a few less than great tracks?


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