1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 80

Remind Me Tomorrow, by Sharon Van Etten
Suggested by Roy Williams

“Give it another listen, mate. It’ll grow on you.”

There have been a few albums in the eighty thus far that I’ve judged harshly, in the eyes of their suggester. I’m not talking about the obvious clunkers, the threes and fours or less, but more the fives and low sixes, the ones I consume through lidded eyes with a noncommittal shrug.

“I didn’t think much of it at first either, but once I’d sat through ten listens back-to-back, I gained the ability to smell colours, saw the face of God, and concluded that this album was a work of divine genius.”

I’m committed to devouring three fresh albums daily, and penning a short review on each. I’m very sorry, but the realities of life mean I can’t devote a week of my life to indulge in musical Couples Therapy at a bongo retreat in Dundee with a CD copy of Ultimate Twiddletoss 2: The Best of Prog Tomfoolery.

So I’m glad thay Remind Me Tomorrow, by Sharon Van Etten, condenses that process into a single release.

At first, there’s something impenetrable about these songs, something that surrounds the lightness of touch and echoing sparseness like a bulky coat, as if the whole thing is being played from inside a Zorb. The vocals, which are indistinct and echoed, do little to unlock the mystery of the music. Although it’s undoubtedly beautiful, it feels unfulfilled, at least initially.

But as the album progresses… it grows on me.

The sound gets bigger, somehow. This is in part due to the swelling bass, but also in part to the timbre of the vocal merging more seamlessly with the songs. The lyrical themes seem stronger too, from the excellent Comeback Kid to my personal favourite, Seventeen. There’s also a warmth to the expanding sound, an exotic comfort emerging from something darker.

It’s disquieting in places, but it becomes genuinely likeable by the end. Sharon Van Etten has a nuanced voice and a strident sound, one which I genuinely think would be best served by further listening. As such, I give Remind Me Tomorrow a worthy 6/10, with a note to take it up again in September 2021.

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