The follow-up to 2012’s Tramp, the self-produced effort sees Van Etten “in full stride, writing, producing and performing from a place that seems almost mythical, were it not so touchable and real.” As she told Wondering Sound, part of the reason for producing the record herself was how contributions from The National’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner, The Walkmen’s Matt Barrick, Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, and others on Tramp took the focus away from her as a solo artist.
“I got really insecure about the names attached to it,” she said. “Everyone was asking me, ‘You and Aaron wrote these songs together?’ and I’d be like, ‘No!’ I got really defensive. ‘I wrote these songs!’ They helped make the record as good as it is, but I still walked away feeling like my songs were overshadowed because of the people I worked with. This time, I wanted to be in charge, and prove to myself that I could do it.”
While previous efforts have dealt with examining past events, Van Etten says Are We There is more concerned with the now. “It’s about my relationship now, about my struggle with pursuing music as a career. It’s about trying to learn how to balance the two, and asking [myself] if it’s possible. It took me up until the last day of tracking on the record to realize what it was that I was writing about. So that’s been intense to face.”
Are We There is preceded by singles “Taking Chances”, “Every Time the Sun Comes Up”, and “Your Love is Killing Me”. Van Etten’s tour itinerary, which you can find here, includes stops at Pitchfork Music Fest, Forecastle, and Primavera Sound. Below, watch the video for “Every Time the Sun Comes Up”.
Are We There Tracklist:
01. Afraid of Nothing
02. Taking Chances
03. Your Love Is Killing Me
04. Our Love
06. I Love You But I’m Lost
07. You Know Me Well
08. Break Me
09. Nothing Will Change
10. I Know
11. Every Time the Sun Comes Up