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Tramp [+Digital Booklet]

February 6, 2012 | Format: MP3

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Format: MP3 Music
I first learned of Sharon Van Etten when Rolling Stone had her listed as their "Artist to Watch" in a recent issue. Amazon also has her included in their "Artists on the Rise" list. While I have to admit that Tramp is a bit of an odd title for an album, Van Etten earns every bit of the accolades that she has gotten. While her voice is not soft and mellow, it is captivating. While Amazon has had "Serpents" available for free, I think this track is pretty middle of the road with respect to all the songs on Tramp. The thing that is striking on many songs including "All I Can", "Give Out", and "In Line" is the rich vocal harmonies. Though their voices are a bit different Van Etten's is a bit duskier), I can't help but think of Sheryl Crow's album Globe Sessions. These songs are bluesy alt-rock at its best. Tramp also has good lyrics. Take the line "Like cigarette ash the world is collapsing around me." from "Ask" as an example. Van Etten does have room to grow. The tracks "We Are Fine" and "Joke Or A Lie" didn't do a lot for me. However, Tramp seems to have all the makings of a breakthrough album, and there is good reason that Amazon has her in their "Artists on the Rise". If you loved discovering early Sheryl Crow, give this a try.

Download this: "In Line"
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Format: Audio CD
This album is the excellent result of taking a wonderful songwriter and giving her the chance to work with a group of musicians who allow her to extend the power of music. All the ingredients that made "Because I Was In Love" and "Epic" so good (SVE's hyper-personal songwriting and her unique voice as a singer) are here too, but so much more as well.

The opportunity to work with a wide range of musicians gives her songs even more depth and power. Sometimes, like on "Serpents," she totally rocks out in a way that's astonishing compared to BIWIL. But there are still wonderfully quiet moments here, like "Joke or a Lie," which ends the album on a beautiful note.

And her songwriting is even better -- look at "All I Can," a song that slowly builds from nothing to a massive sound. But even with all that sound, her words still stand out: "Wanting to love as new as I can, Wanting to show I want my scars to help and heal." Or on "Leonard," where it takes the whole song to construct the final line, as if figuring it out herself as she's singing it: "I am bad at loving you."

If you're already a fan of SVE, don't hesitate to get this -- all the emotional intimacy of her earlier albums is here too, but with a richer and bolder sound. If you're new to SVE, this is the perfect opportunity to check out a singer-songwriter who is definitely worth discovering.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is really great. Not just "another singer-songwriter," SVE has mastered the minor-key, melancholic song that is straigtforward and free of melodrama. The arrangements are usually pretty spare and restrained -- a guitar, drum, maybe an organ/electic piano. The focus is very much on the songs (which are generally very strong) and not on the production. SVE has a strong, rich voice -- she makes me think of someone like Beth Orton. The highlights are probably "All We Can," and "Ask" which start slow and builds gradually to a crescendo that reminds me very much of Roy Orbison. A very strong album overall.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I'd been noticing this album in my "suggested" list from Amazon Cloud Player for a while, but only decided to listen to Sharon's music on YouTube recently... and I'm glad I did!

If you're wondering, try "Serpents" and "All I Can". (this track has an awesome buildup till the very end). Those tracks should give you a good idea what her music's is like.
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By Danny on January 5, 2013
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
This is one of my favorite records of 2012 if not my favorite. Sharon sings heartbreaking and heartfelt songs that are intensely gripping and beautiful. Her penchant for melody is striking not to mention the potency of her lyrics. I simply cannot get over the power of her voice. It's cathartic listening to her sing. I'd recommend this record to anyone.
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Format: Vinyl
On this her third album, Sharon Van Etten proves to be more than your usual female folkie. With subtle embellishments from working with producer Aaron Dessner of the National, Van Etten enhances the songs, creating the perfect atmosphere on this heartbreakingly beautiful longplayer. I got this one on wax.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Sharon Van Etten's 2012 TRAMP is sad, but it's not depressing. Many of the songs here are filled with melancholy, but there's also something hopeful about them (particularly in "All I Can.") The album is a good blend of atmospheric, bluesy guitar-driven rock and autobiographical "heart-on-my-sleeve" lyrics. After listening to this album a few times, I felt like I knew SVE. TRAMP is full of passion, and it shows. The album begins with one of its best feet forward ("Warsaw,") but the latter half of the album does not feel quite as strong as the first.

This album wasn't made to listen to in the background; doing so will give the listener the false idea that all of these tracks sound alike. Many of the songs do have similar moods, but they are packed with detail and intricate instrumentation. There's not a note that doesn't feel deserved or planned. These songs are driven by mood, and unfortunately, I think that this album might have a hard time finding a larger crowd. That's not to say that the album isn't accessible; it just isn't full of hooks or melodies that would draw in the casual top 40 crowd.

Fans of Wye Oak, PJ Harvey, St. Vincent, or Mark Lanegan will find a lot to like in this bluesy, guitar-driven album. Recommended highlights for sampling: "Warsaw," "Serpents," "All I Can," and "Magic Chords."
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