- 28 Jan 19
Remind Me Tomorrow proves a phenomenal return from the New Jersey Singer.
According to the sleeve notes accompanying Sharon Van Etten's fifth album, she originally recorded lead single 'Comeback Kid' as a piano ballad. Subsequently, the singer ditched that version in favour of a menacing, bass-heavy approach. She "didn't want it to be pretty".
This is a running theme throughout Remind Me Tomorrow. The album as a whole is glorious, but sounds raw and gritty and off-the-cuff. Apart from opening track 'I Told You Everything' and closer 'Stay' - both piano ballads - this is a record awash with subterranean drones, dark reverb and brooding synths. Pretty, it ain't.
Van Etten makes a point of linking the album's content to her own personal story. The last four years have seen her give birth to her son; star in Netflix drama The OA; and write a score for the movie Strange Weather. These songs acutely register the pain she's been through, alongside the triumph. The lyrics are notably blunt and direct.
Her most recent single 'Seventeen' is the clear highlight. It starts off as a nostalgic, Rickie Lee Jones-tinged ballad, before racing towards a powerful finale. Throughout the tune, deep bass and drums purr away in the background, while a sharp, droning guitar riff provides additional atmosphere.
Easily Van Etten's most experimental and ambitious work to date, we can't help but wonder how Remind Me Tomorrow will sound live. Irish audiences will find out soon when the singer winds her way to Vicar Street in March.