#9 Sharon van Etten: We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong

Ooooooh, that title is an open goal for renowned and celebrated political satirists such as myself, isn’t it?? ‘We’ve been going about this all wrong’, aye? What biting topical references could I make here??


OK, OK, let me just get my satire iron. I’m about to take you to a satire ground. Like higher ground, yeah? You got that? Allow me to put on my satirish dancing shoes and perform for you a satirish jig, Remember that Jim Carrey film, ”Satiar Liar’?? Well, that’s me.

Wait… no. The name ‘Satiar Liar’ suggests that I am some sort of satirical liar, when in fact the main point of satire – at least the best/my satire – is completely concerned with speaking truth to power. So maybe the Jim Carrey movie ‘Satiar Satiar‘? Wait, why am I spelling ‘satire’ like that? I guess to make it obvious that I am riffing on the word ‘liar’. A lot of these puns would work far better out loud than written down. But, hey, some pretty piercing comedy, no?? Really just demolishing some sacred cows out here.

Man, that’s the second time I’ve referenced that storyline this year, I honestly think I’m medically unwell

OK *shadow boxes* Immaforceimmaforceimmaforceimmaforce! We’ve been going about this all wrong?! How ’bout that Elon Musk Twitter fiasco?? Talk to me about wrong, ammi right?? We’ve been going about this all wrong?? I hear that’s the official name of the Liz Truss reign as Prime Minister!! Whoo! I must not have got a lot of sleep last night, because right now I’m sa’tired (so tired)! I’m sa’tired (so tired)! We’ve been going about this all wrong? How about ‘Don’t Worry Darling’?? I… I didn’t 100% keep up with that, but apparently some stuff went down! Definitely doing that all wrong! We’ve been going about this all wrong! How ’bout that old NATO/US war machine?? Refusing to accept any Russian compromises over the Ukrainian situation until a war was inevitable and then happily sacrificing thousands of Ukrainian lives for the good of further global US imperialism?? Big yikes! Oh, and, going about this all wrong? Putin, you fucking idiot, the fuck are you doing? We’ve been going about this all wrong?? How about that capitalism steeped in neoliberal orthodoxy?? You seen this? You heard about this? How is that still a thing??

*pause for applause*

And with that perfectly crafted segue, we get to Sharon van Etten’s sixth record. And, continuing my witty and incisive wordplay that I have frequently exhibited in this post, I can definitely confirm that she is going about this all right (nailed it!). ‘We’ve Been…’ may have been recorded in Van Etten’s home studio during a period that she was becoming rather more insular for some reason*, but it’s by far her biggest sounding record yet. Epic, soaring and expansive, but losing not a single iota of Van Etten’s unmatched talent for communicating human emotion being stretched to breaking point through her voice and her lyrics.

(*when do we stop getting the ‘pandemic albums’? Or is that just going to be a semantic shift to later refer to any record that an artist made without wanting to put their shoes on or socialise much?)

Is this the logical conclusion of Van Etten’s continued musical expansion over her last few albums? Would getting any bigger be potential overkill and she might want a more radical musical overhaul for her next project? Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmaybe, but I’m not going to second guess one of Western music’s most accomplished modern songwriters. Right now we have this, and this is amazing. She’s going about this all… Hang on? Did I already do that…?

I’m sa’tired (so tired)!


2021 #16

2019 #8

2014 #3

Yeah, she does alright for herself

Metacritic: 82

2 thoughts on “#9 Sharon van Etten: We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong

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