Album Review: Sharon Van Etten—Remind Me Tomorrow

8.5
Album Review: Sharon Van Etten—Remind Me Tomorrow
Artist Name:
Sharon Van Etten
Album Name:
Remind Me Tomorrow
Release Type:
Album
Release Date:
Record Label: Label Location:
Indiana
Review Author: Review Date:
EM Review Rating:
8.5

Sharon Van Etten might be the least pretentious rock star in the world. Four years ago, she released Are We There, an album that was praised for its presentness. With her most recent studio-length album Remind Me Tomorrow, it has become clear that Van Etten has not lost any of the relevance with which she writes and sings, despite the nature of the album's title. 

Remind Me Tomorrow's narrative trajectory is not as clear as Are We There. And why should it be, when the actress, singer, producer, and mother wrote this album in stolen moments and the negative space between her many jobs? Remind Me Tomorrow seems to ask us why we need that narrative trajectory, instead of attempting to present one that wasn't there in the album's conception. In her own words, Van Etten describes Remind Me Tomorrow as "a record about pursuing your passions. I want to be a mom, a singer, an actress, go to school, but yeah, I have a stain on my shirt, oatmeal in my hair and I feel like a mess, but I'm here. Doing it."

This image of Van Etten's "mess" is emblematic of Remind Me Tomorrow. The sound is bolder, franker. Her instrumentation is less structured, hazier, more adventurous. She borrows elements of shoegaze and 80's synth-pop and mashes them into her rock world, somehow fusing multiple genres of music that, in less practiced hands, would give you a square-peg-round-hole result. On "Comeback Kid", Van Etten could be playing to a basement house party. The imagery of the track is cinematic, recalling scenes of garage bands from your favourite coming-of-age films. Van Etten is strangely universal, with a refreshing ability to appeal to the angst of a teenager with the kind of grace and wisdom born from being a grown-ass woman who simply will not take your shit.

The album's production adds a kind of washed out ambience to the still-present, glaring clarity of Are We There. While Remind me Tomorrow appropriately gives no fucks, it is simultaneously conscious and wide-eyed, self-aware in a way that makes Van Etten impossible to dislike. She's too shrewd for you, and her album is allowed to contain multitudes. Don't be fooled by the abrupt instrumentals: these are love songs. Van Etten's wisened lyrics are devastating. She discusses complicated situations like trying to explain the state of our world to her young son, as she all but wails the lyric "acting as if all the pain in the world was my fault" on "No One's Easy to Love." "Seventeen" is anthemic, encompassing all the rage and carefree whimsy burgeoning in youth, admitting she herself is still growing. 

Van Etten doesn't have any interest in Remind Me Tomorrow being pretty. Life is gritty and grating and perhaps the most exciting thing this album succeeds in doing is mimicking life. 

Sharon Van Etten Tour Dates:
Wed. Feb. 6 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club #
Thu. Feb. 7 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer #
Fri. Feb. 8 - Boston, MA @ Royale #
Sat. Feb. 9 - New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre $ #
Mon. Feb. 11 - Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall #
Wed. Feb. 13 - Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theatre #
Thu. Feb. 14 - Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall # -- SOLD OUT
Fri. Feb. 15 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall # -- SOLD OUT
Sat. Feb. 16 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue #
Mon. Feb. 18 - Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theatre #
Tue. Feb 19 - Salt Lake City, UT - Metro Music Hall #
Thu. Feb 21 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom #
Fri. Feb 22 - Vancouver, BC – Imperial #
Sat. Feb 23 - Seattle, WA - Neptune Theatre #
Mon. Feb. 25 – Sonoma, CA @ Historic Red Barn
Tue. Feb. 26 - San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore #
Thu. Feb 28 - San Diego, CA - The Observatory North Park #
Fri. March 1 - Los Angeles, CA - The Theatre at Ace Hotel #
Thu. March 21 - Birmingham, UK @ The Mill
Fri. March 22 - Manchester, UK @ Albert Hall
Sat. March 23 - Dublin, IE @ Vicar Street
Sun. March 24 - Glasgow, UK @ St. Luke's – SOLD OUT
Tue. March 26 - London, UK @ Roundhouse
Wed. March 27 - Bristol, UK @ SWX
Fri. March 29 - Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
Sat. March 30 - Brussels, BE @ Orangerie (at Botanique)
Mon. April 1 - Paris, FR @ La Maroquinerie
Tue. April 2 - Koln, DE @ Luxor
Wed. April 3 - Munich, DE @ Strom
Fri. April 5 - Berlin, DE @ Lido – SOLD OUT
Sat. April 6 - Hamburg, DE @ Grünspan
Sun. April 7 - Copenhagen, DK @ Studio 2 (DR Concert House)
Tue. April 9 - Gothenburg, SE @ Pustervik
Wed. April 10 - Oslo, NO @ Parkteatret
Thu. April 11 - Stockholm, SE @ Kagelbanen
 # = with Nilüfer Yanya
$ = with Fred Armisen

Connect with Sharon Van Etten: Spotify | Facebook | Instagram 

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