Sharon Van Etten’s Anguished Territory


Sharon Van Etten
I Don’t Want to Let You Down
Jagjaguwar

When it comes to harrowing beauty, Sharon Van Etten’s music has no peer. Following last year’s dazzling album Are We There, this stunning five-song EP of gorgeous chamber pop returns to the same anguished territory, plumbing the depths of damaged relationships and massive self-doubt with unsparing candor. The desperate sentiments of the title track or “I Always Fall Apart” might veer into melodramatic excess if not for Van Etten’s understated but wonderfully expressive singing, which lends a ring of plainspoken truth to the darkest scenarios. Despite the mournful vibes, I Don’t Want to Let You Down is ultimately exhilarating, simply because it’s thrilling to see a gifted artist in full command of her substantial powers.

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