American singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten recently came out with her new album, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong, to critical acclaim and fan hype.
The record is very emotional in nature, as is often the case with Van Etten’s work. Specifically, she wrote the album during the lockdown, which was a very deep and specific experience for the artist. “My family and I moved to Los Angeles in September of 2019, and we finished building the studio in January of 2020,” she clarified.
Opening up about recording in lockdown, Van Etten said, “Yeah, it was very… ups and downs, productive and stagnant. You know, I think everyone had similar ebbs and flows. But when I was able to find the emotional space for it, I was able to write and record. I think that anyone that’s creative, you find those moments, you do it, and you don’t always know what it’s for all the time. But I tend to write in moments of time and the album usually represents the past few years of what I lived and what I experienced and as I’m realizing I have about twenty songs that I made, it was over the course of 2021 into 2022.”
She continued, “And as I’m looking at what the thread is between all of these experiences (and it’s obvious that the umbrella is COVID), and our own stories and all the things that were happening and the emotional turmoil that we felt internally, the struggle of having to behave and how to act in a domestic and global way when you’re really in this bubble… how can you do anything?”
Getting specific about the songs on the album, she said, “So it actually made me think about two songs that I pulled that I hadn’t finished yet before I moved to LA. As I was thinking about what the thread was when I first wrote them, I thought that they were too dark and apocalyptic-sounding, and those were ‘Darkish’ and ‘Far Away.’ Because “Darkish” is about the end of the world, and “Far Away” is about dying and, you know, I was never in [that] place.”
She concluded, “But the newer songs finally made sense in the context of the songs that I wrote a couple years prior. And they’re actually kind of the lighter ones in context now. Which is funny, that those were the two that I wrote beforehand, because everything else came during the height of all the pandemic.”
The pandemic had a vastly different impact on everyone, and being able to utilise that time and space for artistic expression is something that Sharon Van Etten managed to do well, and share it with the rest of the world. If you want to listen to her new album, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong is out now.