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I Don't Want to Let You Down - EP

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Album Review

Like an unreleased side C of the musically mature, thematically searching Are We There, Sharon Van Etten enacts the same tone with repeat co-producer Stewart Lerman, and is lyrically still struggling, coping, and navigating trying relationships on I Don't Want to Let You Down. Some of those relationship problems were caused, she has admitted, by being absent in the pursuit of her music career, a dilemma of self-awareness that provides fodder for much of the five-track EP. In "I Always Fall Apart," accompanied only by wistful piano and strings, she tenderly repeats "It's not my fault/It's just my flaw/It's who I am." The remaining tracks all feature a full band, including rotating guest appearances by her vocal-harmony shadow aka multi-instrumentalist Heather Woods Broderick, guitarist Adam Granduciel and bassist Dave Hartley of the War on Drugs, bassist Brad Cook of Megafaun, and drummer Darren Jessee of Ben Folds Five, among others, all directing the spotlight toward Van Etten's rock-tender vocals. The self-titled opener has the quickest tempo, most pronounced guitars, and catchiest chorus, but still wails with yearning. The album closes with a seductively imperfect live performance of "Tell Me," an impactful, spaciously arranged rock lament with a far-reaching melody ("I believed you when you shut your eyes and dreamed a dream without me"). Comparisons to Brandi Carlile will continue as Van Etten pushes her vocals here with mourning yodels and sturdy grit over her ever poignant tone. Both strong and vulnerable, I Don't Want to Let You Down is a concise and angst-packed set delivered with emphasis in all the right places. [I Don't Want to Let You Down was also released on LP.]

Customer Reviews

Had this since it came out

And must say this ep is lovely. As well as, (I believe) the best SVE has come out with; to date.

Biography

Born: February 26, 1981 in Clinton, NJ

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Although she was born and raised in suburban New Jersey, Sharon Van Etten's folk music evokes the open landscapes of a more expansive America. A dedicated choir student during her childhood, she studied clarinet, violin, and piano before moving on to guitar. She began writing songs as high school student and sang in a choir group, the Madrigals. She credits her choral experiences as indispensable in learning to musically notate, as well as to sing harmonies. Upon graduation, Van Etten moved to Murfreesboro,...
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I Don't Want to Let You Down - EP, Sharon Van Etten
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