It has been a month since we were gifted with Sharon Van Etten’s fifth album, Remind Me Tomorrow. Having released singles “Comeback Kid” and “Seventeen” prior to the album’s release, Remind Me Tomorrow in its entirety does not disappoint.
Throughout her musical career, Van Etten has been known for her powerful narrative in her lyrics and her impeccable singer-songwriter capabilities. Her previous albums: Because I Was in Love (2009), Epic (2010), Tramp (2012), and Are We There (2014), all seem to be centered on themes of love, relationship complications, and abuse. As an artist she has never been shy speaking about a past abusive relationship. While Remind Me Tomorrow carries these prior themes, she presents us with a new concept: healing.
The album begins with “I Told You Everything,” giving us an intimate look into an instance that many are familiar with – meeting up with an old friend or a new potential lover, exposing details of things we may not be comfortable disclosing to just anyone. Van Etten reels us into the album with minimalistic piano chords and echoing vocals. With lyrics such as: “Knowing everything, knowing everything, we cried / I told you everything about everything,” Van Etten paints the picture of a moment of exposure and trust with this anonymous person.
The album takes a turn with its second song “No One’s Easy to Love” – its synthier sounding guitar comparable to St. Vincent’s shift in sound on her 2014 self-titled album St. Vincent (probably because the album was produced by the same guy – John Congleton). Van Etten seems to almost be talking to herself here, with a lyric before the chorus stating “Acting as if all the pain in the world was my fault / Leave me here, my love, don’t say goodbye”. In the chorus Van Etten cries: “No one’s easy to love / Don’t look down, my dear, don’t be surprised”: a comforting, relatable concept that almost details her healing process. It's easy to find solace in “No One’s Easy to Love.” It's an anthem for the human condition of feeling unlovable.
The fifth song of the album, “Jupiter 4”, takes a darker sounding approach, drone-y and almost goth-like, with its hypnotic drum machine beat and haunting vocals. Taking on the name of the Roland synthesizer used in this song, Van Etten encompasses us in her voice like a warm blanket, cooing through the chorus: “Baby, baby, baby / I’ve been searching for you / I want to be in love” in a plea of desperation, her vocals sounding similar to Angel Olsen. The theme of healing and restoration is prevalent in this song. It feels as though she is discovering that through the heartbreak, she still wants to believe in love. The music video for “Jupiter 4” is equally as haunting – reminiscent of the works of David Lynch.
Remind Me Tomorrow, Sharon Van Etten’s fifth studio album released on January 18th, 2019, is nothing short of brilliant, creating a space for her, and all of us, to heal.
Other notable songs to look for from this album: “Memorial Day”, “You Shadow” and “Stay”.
Isabella Bairnsfather, age 22, is a junior pursuing her degree in English with a minor in Communication at Southeastern Louisiana University. A music lover and enthusiast, she hosts Retro Reality on Mondays and Wednesdays (11AM-12PM).