Sharon Van Etten is back with a new album, Remind Me Tomorrow.
It is her first in four years. In the meantime she has returned to study, cameoed in Twin Peaks, acted in Netflix hit The OA and given birth to a child.
The album shows off Van Etten’s talent for writing powerful songs.
In standout track Seventeen, she reflects on the perceived freedom of her teenage years. “I used to be free/I used to be seventeen,” she sings, reminiscing about a period without the increasing alienation that adult life brings.
Jupiter 4 is a beautiful and brooding love song, with Van Etten holding up her relationship through soaring vocals, and Malibu is a tender roadtrip track.
The songwriting—although more joyful than her previous work—is still as impressively reflective as ever.
Van Etten has moved away from themes of heartbreak and pain and has instead captured a new sense of contentment.
Van Etten worked with producer John Congleton on Remind Me Tomorrow.
She credits him with helping her develop a new sound, taking her demos and subtly changing them to make them more “energetic-upbeat” than “minimal-meditative”.
She has also moved away from her usual guitar and towards synths, drums and keyboard.
This is in part because of the impact her new projects have had on her schedule for making music.
Remind Me Tomorrow is an album to hold on to.
For fans of Van Etten who love her moving lyrics and powerful vocals, it is a long-awaited return to form.
For newer listeners it is a great introduction to her music.