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FUV's New Dig: Sharon Van Etten

by Darren DeVivo
A A

Are We There
Sharon Van Etten
Jagjaguwar Records


Sharon Van Etten is one of those artists who can both express her deepest personal feelings and use her musical gifts to transform those intimacies into powerful songs. On her new album, Are We There, she guides us on a journey through debilitating love.

Sharon Van Etten was born and raised in New Jersey and today calls New York City home. (She got encouragement to pursue a career in music from fellow resident Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio.) After self-issuing her early songs, Sharon released her first official album in 2009. Now, five years later, she's ready to unveil her fourth work, and it's an emotionally drenched opus.

Are We There slowly draws you into the turmoil of a long and claustrophobic relationship. She's broken free, but the emotional scars that remain are deep and slow to heal. As Sharon addresses these wounds in song and strives to repair herself, we find parallels to our own experiences.

That's not to say that Are We There is a musical therapy session. It's a solemn confrontation of the dark side of human emotions, and a realization that we have the ability to defeat this dark side. There is a sense of release and encouragement that comes through, and this optimism keeps us going with her through the journey.

On the first song, "Afraid Of Nothing," the listener is immediately immersed in the emotional theater. The intensity, already at a slow boil, is turned up a notch on "Your Love Is Killing Me." "I Love You But I'm Lost" is a rumination on a bond that is causing more harm than good. "Every Time The Sun Comes Up" closes this intensely passionate sojourn by revealing a defiant inner strength and determination.

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