Sharon Van Etten: Personal, But Not Too Personal

Sharon Van Etten's Tramp is a study in directness.

Beyond Van Etten's voice -- a clear, present, hum -- there are the sounds, sparse and focused, produced by of Aaron Dessner of The National. The record is centered on the idea of clarity, illustrated by song titles like "I'm Wrong," "We Are Fine," and "Give Out," and the record's cover: a stark a black-and-white portrait of Van Etten herself.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.