Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #59 - Sharon van Etten, "Tramp"

I read a headline of Everett True's a few weeks ago that had stuck with me: that all the interesting, good pop music (or rock music, I'm not sure) was being made by women. Or rather, that none of it was being made by men. This may be why I've been quite aware of how many people that happen to be women have been responsible for the last 59 albums I've been listening to.

I don't really have any conclusion to draw from that. I wonder if there's any influence over how I listen, react or report? I might take a look back over previous thoughts to check.

So this is a fairly straightforward rock album, right? There's a back story that I've read about - the abusive boyfriend who told her that her music was shit because there was no distance. And some music people that heard her CD-Rs and stole her away from that monstrous life. Now, I quite like an ironic distance in a composer and even more so in a lyricist. So what might I make of this? I will be listening out of course for how much of this back story can be inferred from the songs within.

"Leonard" sounds familiar. There's a flutter to the vocal that matches the sweet tension in the music. "In Line" has the shuffling desert feel of slow motion dawns and cavernous hums and mournful, coyote cries. It gets to sound monochromatic after a while and I suppose how far you plunge into this musical world would depend on how closely your mood might run with hers. Sounds a cool route to run alongside her though. "All I Can" builds on the confidence, voice growing in power and a laid-back strut to the backing band. Only the words suggest the confidence is built on uncertainties.

"But my memory steals every moment I can feel./What will it take?/We all make mistakes."

"Tell me I'm wrong/Tell me it's not been that long" suggests another look back over theback story. There are magic, twinkling, uplifting noises swelling up behind "I'm Wrong" in a sliding, brassy fashion. This tune might best sum up her movement to where she is now; I suppose that's for her to know and me to guess at. Belief and trust are big lyrical themes right up until the last track, "Joke or a Lie" ("Put your coat on/Then believe me/I tried" are the closing words).

Rating: Desert Blooming out of Cellar Glooming

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