Sharon Van Etten, an American indie-rock singer-songwriter with five studio albums under her belt, successfully melds a unique style that incorporates rock, folk, and vintage elements into her sound. Her almost western-sounding voice pairs with clear guitar tones and distinct melodies to create a finished project that’s completely her own.
‘Seventeen’, ‘Every Time the Sun Comes Up’, and ‘Like I Used To’ are just a few of Van Etten’s highly recognisable songs. Her last album, Epic Ten, came out just last year in 2021. However, she’s been putting out music consistently for years, including a certain iconic cover back in 2013.
It’s no surprise that Van Etten would have a soft spot for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. His unique style, while varying from Van Etten’s more grounded, rooted sound, goes well in pairing with her music, and it seems that their teams thought so, too, as the pair toured together in 2013 in the United States. And shortly before this tour, Sharon Van Etten went on Triple J’s Like a Version series and played her stripped-down cover of the Bad Seeds song ‘People Ain’t No Good’.
The rendition is absolutely one of those efforts that stands on its own, existing as a great song both alongside the original and apart from it. Van Etten’s voice has a clear quality that sits perfectly with her simple guitar backing. Even though the performance is live in the studio, the song is solid and polished, and Van Etten owns the material as if it is her own,
It’s almost odd to place the song in 2013, or anywhere for that matter. The track is timeless, and it has an ethereal quality that makes you want to put it on loop and listen for hours.
Shortly after Van Etten ran through the cover, she went on tour with Nick Cave, and it’s interesting to wonder whether she covered the song live, or if she listened to his original version as she prepared to go on. Regardless, her cover is something to treasure. You can take a listen to Sharon Van Etten covering Nick Cave’s ‘People Ain’t No Good’ down below.