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Jagjaguwar

Are We There (10th Anniversary Edition) Sharon Van Etten

£28.99 Pre-Order
Condition: Brand New
Release date: Jun 28, 2024
Catalogue number: JAG255lp-C4
Barcode: 0674012926445
Format: Black, Grey, and Silver Tri-Color Split LP

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For all the attention that was paid to her 2012 break-through album Tramp, Sharon Van Etten returned to the studio ready and eager to turn another corner, delve deeper, and write with more honesty and vulnerability than ever. It’s a unique power of Van Etten’s; she creates a bond with the listener that few contemporary musicians can match. The result of that effort was Are We There, a self-produced album of exceptional intimacy, sublime generosity, and immense breadth.


Are We There turns ten this year and reasserts itself as a one of her most powerful and timeless collections. It is clear from the opening chords in the first song, “Afraid of Nothing”, that we are witnessing a new awareness, a sign of Van Etten in full stride, writing, producing, and performing from a place that seems almost mythical, were it not so touchable and real. Always direct, and never shying away even from the most personally painful narratives, many of the songs deal with seemingly impossible decisions, anticipation, and then resolution. She sings of the nature of desire, memory, of being lost, emptiness, of promises and loyalty, fear and change, of healing and the true self, violence and sanctuary, waiting, of silence. Amidst all that truly brutal honestly, Van Etten finds moments of levity, as she always does. “Every Time the Sun Comes Up” started out as a lark but lifts the album at its close, completes the world she’s let us into, and resets us gently for whatever might follow. It has, since then, become an indelible staple of Van Etten’s live shows.

It's enough to live your music without taking on the role of producer as well, but Van Etten knew it was time to make a record entirely on her terms. At the same time, Van Etten did recognize this didn’t mean having to go it alone, and she assembled a beloved, now-celebrated community to bring her vision to life. To record, Van Etten found a kindred spirit in veteran music producer Stewart Lerman. Originally working together on Boardwalk Empire, they gently moved into new roles, rallying around the idea of making a record together in Lerman's studio in New Jersey. Lerman's studio expertise gave Van Etten the freedom to make Are We There the way she imagined. Van Etten also enlisted the individual talents of her band, consisting of Heather Woods Broderick, Doug Keith and Zeke Hutchins, and brought in friends Dave Hartley and Adam Granduciel from The War on Drugs, Jonathan Meiberg (Shearwater), Jana Hunter (Lower Dens), Peter Broderick, Mackenzie Scott (Torres), Stuart Bogie, Jacob C. Morris and Mickey Freeze. The incomparable Richard Swift brought it all home, working with Van Etten on the final mix.


The artist who speaks in such a voice is urging us to do something, to take hold and to go deeper. Living in this way, the questions of life remain alive, as close and steady as breathing. Many of the ballads of old are as dark as pitch, and people for whom the issues of life and death were as vivid as flame wrote them. You could turn off the electricity, remove all the instruments and Sharon's voice and words would remain. They connect her to the mystic stratum which flows just beneath the everyday, they are as powerful today as ten years ago, and they’re sure to endure for years to come.

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Format: Black, Grey, and Silver Tri-Color Split LP