Favorite

Sharon Van Etten: Tramp (Jagjaguwar) 

Sharon Van Etten's in-your-face songwriting has severed all ties with folk music on her third album, an edgy and moody burst of guitar rock.

The shift is evident right from the album cover, a close-up photograph of Van Etten in starkly contrasting black and white. Compare that to the wispy orange and yellow lines that made up the portrait on her previous album, 2010's Epic.

Though Van Etten's lyrics are again intimate, detailed and direct, the music has grown into a taut and muscular beast, not unrecognizable from her previous work, but clearly the mature version. The National guitarist Aaron Dessner shares Tramp's production with Van Etten, adding colors and textures that provide a whole other level of emotional support for her lyrics and voice.

First single "Serpents" is a sharply strummed song about failings, temptations and betrayal, with haunting lines of guitar feedback slicing through Van Etten's wailing vocals: "Serpents in my mind / Looking for your crimes / Everything changes / I don't want mine to this time."

"Give Out" is a tense meditation on self-reliance and reinvention, about what to do and where to move after the heartache. It's about moving forward, whether out of desperation or confidence.

Though that familiar sense of vulnerability isn't entirely absent from this batch of songs, Tramp has a much more prevalent confidence—sometimes angry, sometimes fearless, sometimes reckless. It's that sort of swagger that most exemplifies the artistic progress on Tramp. For the first time, Van Etten's voice sounds like it can sling bruises as effectively as it chronicles them.

More by Eric Swedlund

  • Out on Top

    Big Meridox reflects on 20 years in Tucson hip-hop as he preps final shows
    • Aug 17, 2017
  • Know Your Product

    Stars Pick Their Top Five! This Week: Lucy Dacus
    • Aug 10, 2017
  • Light the Match

    Sedona’s own decker. kicks out a fiery new album
    • Jul 6, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Out on Top

    Big Meridox reflects on 20 years in Tucson hip-hop as he preps final shows
    • Aug 17, 2017
  • Know Your Product

    Stars Pick Their Top Five! This Week: Dead Cross
    • Aug 17, 2017
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2017 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation