Feature

Sharon Van Etten: Tramp

Tramp is an album that “rewards repeat listens.”

Sharon Van Etten’s latest “feels like a private conversation between artist and listener,” said Ryan Reed in PasteMagazine.com. The title refers to a recent rough patch in Van Etten’s life: After a bad breakup, the Brooklyn-based songwriter mostly slept on friends’ couches when she wasn’t touring. Aside from “Serpents,” the album’s rock single, “it’s shocking how fragile these songs are.” Often, we get just spare guitar above distant rumblings, plus Van Etten “whispering her tortured lullabies” in our ears “in the most intimate way possible.” Van Etten’s voice is “tremendously expressive, by turns powerful and breathy,” said Alyssa Battistoni in Mother Jones. Fortunately, she and her producer, Aaron Dessner of the band The National, “know better than to overwhelm it” with too much instrumentation. Tramp is an album that “rewards repeat listens.” The more you hear it, “the more the subtleties of Van Etten’s phrasing and tone come out.”

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