tue 14/07/2020

Albums of the Year 2019: Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow | reviews, news & interviews

Albums of the Year 2019: Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow

Albums of the Year 2019: Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow

A sound reminiscent of days gone by but with a shoegazy sway that keeps it relevant

2019 has been quite the year. Amongst other difficulties being a grown-up hurls at you on the reg, I lost my guiding light (may her adventures on the other side of this universe be everything and more). And the testing times that ensued sees me now, not only into the new decade but into a big fat birthday that ends with a "0". So I am looking back while trying to move forwards, doing things like wondering what advice I might have given to my younger self to prepare for the future – which means Sharon Van Etten’s Remind Me Tomorrow is hugely relevant; often giving hope, occasionally terrifying – always affecting.

Van Etten has mostly left her traumatic meta-confession days behind, to Are We There (2014) – a move the New Jersey singer-songwriter references in “I Told You Everything”. In Remind Me Tomorrow, there seems to be a song for everything if you’re feeling reflective and introspective: one to listen to in the bath with a glass of red wine (“You Shadow”) that teases “follow me until you don't know where you are”; one (“No One's Easy to Love”) that could be about the aforementioned birthday, with its strong opening line: “Yes there were japes recalling the years of lost paths” but the overarching sentiment being one of “don’t look back my dear, just say you tried”.

“Memorial Day”, a swirl of retro Americana, is a soundtrack for wondering around the city in existential crisis, and “Comeback Kid” is the banging electro-pop one you will know, with its smacking drums and punky pulse that you swish your hair around to. “Seventeen” is definitely and very much the best one. The lyrics “I used to be free, I used to be 17” house my mid-life weltschmerz so comfortably I could weep. The bit where her voice breaks and she sing-shouts, “I know that you're gonna be; you're crumbling up just to see; afraid that you'll be just like me", gets me every time.

Whether dark, mellow or emotive, this album has enough evocative lyricism to keep me alert and analytic, plus enough nostalgic synth to make me smile. And if, after five years Van Etten can make a bold musical move from acoustic guitar to piano with such aplomb, then who knows what vigour the next decade will bring?

Two more essential albums

Aldous Harding, Designer

Rosie Carney, Bare

Gig of the Year

Charlie Cunningham, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

Track of the Year

"People's Faces" (Kate Tempest)

Whether dark, mellow or emotive, this album has enough evocative lyricism to keep me alert and analytic, plus enough nostalgic synth to make me smile

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters