Style: Spacious, moody folk-rock; compare to Cat Power, Julianna Barwick, Laura Gibson
Top tracks: "All I Can," "Serpents," "We Are Fine"
Van Etten sounded triumphant at the end of 2010's Epic, concluding that all the emotional abuse and junk in her life only "made me love more." On Tramp's final tune she confesses, "What should I do? I am lost." Produced by the National's Aaron Dessner, it's a beautiful yet ponderous record with nary a lighthearted tune ("It hurts too much to laugh about it," she sings). Part of that is due to Van Etten's hypnotic, droning voice that's reminiscent of Julianna Barwick, who guests on one track. Like the Preacher in Ecclesiastes, Van Etten desperately searches for meaning in a vaporous world, singing, "Let's find something that can last."1
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