Sharon Van Etten

Remind Me Tomorrow

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Remind Me Tomorrow Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

For a decade, Sharon Van Etten specialized in understatement. From her 2009 debut Because I Was in Love through 2014's Are We There, she mined the tension generated by murmuring instrumentation clashing with her passionate delivery, a balance that proved quietly compelling. Van Etten maintains that sense of drama on Remind Me Tomorrow, her fifth full-length album, but she's radically shifted her presentation. Working with producer John Congleton, she's expanded her sonic palette, incorporating vintage synthesizers and drum loops while occasionally cranking up her amplifiers. Some of the sounds are conscious throwbacks, but they don't play like retro nostalgia, not in the context of Remind Me Tomorrow, which juxtaposes fearless aural adventure with keenly observed observations of easing into a satisfied life. This contrast generates a similar emotional pull to the quieter Tramp, yet the effect is more enveloping since Remind Me Tomorrow constantly changes its tone and perspective. The stately "I Told You Everything" gives way to the coiled nocturnal throb of "No One's Easy to Love," "Comeback Kid" shimmers with dark New Wave sensuality, and "Seventeen" uncovers the melancholy that lies in boundless freedom. Each song is constructed like a short story and is given a distinct feel, but they're held together by Van Etten's subdued fearlessness. Throughout Remind Me Tomorrow, she plumbs the depths of contentedness, setting her satisfaction to a sound that's nominally dark yet strangely comforting and nourishing. Even if this album doesn't speak to your specific life, it will nevertheless enrich it.

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