Sharon Van Etten | Just Like Blood

Here’s an early candidate for song of the year. Sharon Van Etten has been coming into her own as a songwriter. I could hear the clear progress from her more modest 2009 LP, Because I Was In Love, to epic tracks like “Love More” from Epic just a year later, to “We Are Fine” and “Magic Chords” off Tramp and last year’s ballad “Your Love Is Killing Me”. Van Etten is releasing the I Don’t Want to Let You Down EP on June 9 via Jagjaguwar, and she’s streaming a song off it called, “Just Like Blood”. I’d been listening to the song so much since it first began streaming, that I thought it deserved some words about what makes it such a fantastic single. I’ve learned, after years of listening to SVE, that her lyrics have grown stronger, and you can hear her confidence (note her upper-register singing too) in the way she’s willing to let verses sit, nearly non-sequitur, to paint a picture rather than explicate one. The mid-tempo “Just Like Blood” is no different. Between the gorgeously dripping piano work, forbidding organ and intermittent strings, sit these smoldering lyrics with their fragmented syntax broken like shards of glass — memory and recollection the scraps of the song’s seduction: “Disappear / When the sun goes down / I sit still / As you breath / Turn around … / You set me off / Just like a gun / Then you run / Just like blood.” But most impressive is when SVE elongates the word “blood”, mimicking it’s visual flow phonetically, the sound of the word then blending gracefully into a wave of orchestral unanimity. . — David D. Robbins Jr.

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