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Sharon Van Etten | Remind Me Tomorrow | Album Review

Jagjaguwar
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

In the past five years, Sharon Van Etten’s life has changed. She became a mom, wrote the score for a feature film, landed an acting role in The OA, and even went to college to study psychology. Returning from her hiatus with a new take on life, her music has a new take, too, with Remind Me Tomorrow.

Van Etten’s sound has taken a shift from the easy listening range of the musical spectrum with folk-inspired love songs, diving synth-first into the experimental zone. The album cover depicts her children’s room trashed with toys as a small picture of Van Etten is hidden in the normalized wreckage. Van Etten bares it all, discussing the realities of surviving an abusive relationship and the reckless abandonment of youth in both “Seventeen” and “The Comeback Kid.”

However, beyond her poignant words, the album is drowning in synthesizer. She even named one of her songs, “Jupiter 4,” after the synthesizer she used for the record. From ambient static to radar-like wavy sounds, all combined with piercing electric guitar riffs, it sounds almost as though Van Etten set the synth in front of her child and said, “Do whatever you want.” It’s pure chaos.

Behind the overwhelming sounds is a cathartic experience. She opens the record with “I Told You Everything” and the line, “You said, ‘Holy shit, you almost died,’” explaining her abusive relationship.

This album is undeniably beautiful, but that beauty is muddled and hidden behind the synth. Van Etten’s goal for the album was to create that effect, but listening through an album with such heavy experimental and ambient influences feels more like a task than an outright joy.

Remind Me Tomorrow delves into the reality that life can be chaotic and overwhelming, hiding the beauty beneath. This album signals a new era for Van Etten. Remind Me Tomorrow is a slice of her new reality.

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